I am scared of dogs and I don't like 'em much. There. I've said it and I feel better. If only until I realize that I will now be the social outcaste, the person that (gasp!) DOESN'T like DOGS! Don't blame me people, blame the good municipal corporation of Chennai for letting loose on the streets a number of strays all designed to make even your trip from home to the theravu mona potti kadai more laborious than the longest flight from Chennai to Phoenix through Japan with a halt in St.Louis. I could have sworn that the street dogs mutated into some brilliant strategists to make sure that there was always one of them lying in wait for me outside my apartment back when I was a kid. I would usually send my mom ahead of me to chase the dog away and then step out of the house. Once I reached the street corner, I would look carefully and if I spotted a dog, I would wait for some one passing by(my heart swells in gratitude to my numerous protectors, most of them the servant maids that worked in the different houses ), beg to hitch a ride with them (yenga, ennakku nai na konjam bayam, naa onga kooda nadandu varalaama?"). Sure enough, the mutt would come chasing me, I would run in circles around this person while the person would try to chase it away("nee summa vaa ma, adu onnum pannadu") and I would be screaming to the heavens. The dogs by this time had sniffed out the house with the wimp (meaning, me) and made a game out of lying in wait for me.
When I moved out to the US, I noticed not that the streets were clean, but that the streets were clean of stray dogs. For the first ten days, I mistakenly floated around on a cloud of happiness that here at last, I did not have to worry about being chased. Until that is, one morning I jogged down the park lane when suddenly I found myself running with 3 dogs! They thought I was palying with them and chased me down, the faster I ran, the faster they got until my desperate eyes searched out the owners and ran to hide, cowering behind them. The owners thought it was hilarious and repeatedly told me the dogs were harmless, but all that this proved was that parks were out for me. I then tried hiking out in the wilds (surely, dogs don't climb mountains now, do they?) with a trail head that had a big bold sign board that said "All dogs MUST be kept on a leash). I hugged the words to me like a talisman and climbed and climbed and reached the top. My mistake was in beginning my descent without my friends. I was a half a mile from the peak when I spotted this great big canine making straight for me, not another soul in site. I considered the peak I was on, I considered the dog. And I decided to jump off the mountain. But now these mountains - they do not look like they do in the movies where the hysterical sister of the hero jumps off one and she falls many many feet. No - these have ledges that are a few feet from the top and then another set of tiny ledges below that and then another - well, you get the picture. So all jumping would give me would be ugly scratches and even lesser room to dodge the dog (because the dog could jump here too, right?). I stood my ground with the wind whipping away my tears while the dog sniffed me and sniffed me, round and round. The dog left me well enough alone after all she could smell were the moth balls in my mittens but I learnt my lesson. Now I don't run outside and I plan hikes with a large group of people or atleast one other not-scared-of dogs person. And I have also joined a gym.
4 weeks ago