Pathos And Luxury
Author: M B J Pancras
The sun raised his head. The eyes of the sun sent their rays onto the earth. The day brightened. Songs of birds fill the world with their melodious chimes. The wind continued to blow in the air. The waves of the sea continued their dance. It was a festive show to the plains. The vast stretch of sand on the seashore woke up from their sleep. Nature is punctual and regular in her routine. There were no hectic noises. There were no human sounds. It was a silent day, but with the language of Nature the day was busy. The voice of the waves, the songs of the birds and the whisperings of the wind added beauty to the day.
It was like many other days as usual but these days there were no human noises. The police were on patrol. The roads looked empty except a few light vehicles plying with permission. Barricades and “lock gates” were found everywhere on the roads. Morning walkers who would shroud themselves with “Bermuda” shorts and funny-looking leggings were not seen on the pavements on these days. Nature expressed her scenic beauty without human interruptions.
A virus from elsewhere sneaked into the world and started consuming the lives of the humans. The pandemic swallowed the lungs of the human lives and a great panic shadowed into the hearts of the people. Hospitals and Health centres were packed with victims graveyards were dumped with corpses. So nations lifted ‘lock down’ everywhere. It was a “human curfew” for social distancing and self-isolation. A human effort against the epidemic!?
It was on a day during the “lock down” a gang of “ginger” actors came around the pavements with a bag of food and fodder being held by on their shoulders. Dragging pleasure on their face, giggles on their lips, a few “compassionate walk men” circled a pack of street dogs. Their pet dogs followed their masters obediently. The police on patrol excused the “compassionate walk men” although they had broken the law. They had come out of their houses. To the police on patrol the “dog feeding” was a gesture of compassion and concern for animals, it was believed so, and they were made to believe so. The dogs moved around the men and consumed the eatables supplied to them. The “compassionate walk men” did not throw the eatables but fed the dogs. A reporter along with a photographer was seen shooting the “dog feeding” scene. (The “compassionate walk men” must have brought the reporter and the photographer with them.)
“We feed the animals because they are also like us. We show our love and concern towards animals. We feed them every day. We prepare special food for them. When we do this kind action, our family and our people will prosper. “No sooner had one of the “compassionate walk men” spoken to the reporter in front of the camera than a man in rags entered the scene unfortunately.
“Hey! Who are you?” One of the “compassionate walk men” shrugged his shoulders and immediately shouted to the police on patrol.
“Sir, look, here’s a lazy being. This fellow is a menace to us. Send him away. Our dogs and these dogs will pounce on him.
The police on patrol took their “magic” wand and ran towards the man in rags swinging round their wand. “Hey, you! How did you come out of your house? Don’t you know it is “lock down”? Come with me. I’ll put you in quarantine.”
“Oh, no, sir, I have no shelter. I am hungry. Give me food.” The man in rags begged the police on patrol. “At least tell them to give me the dog’s food.”
“Sir, take him with you.” One of the “compassionate walk men” raised his voice against the man in rags.
The media men were not permitted to interview the man in rags.
“Sir, sir, please, please, leave me. I’ll go on my own way.” It was a plea of the man in rags.
The police on patrol were deaf to his plea, but took him with them to quarantine him.
The “few men army” thrust some currency to the media men for the “sincere” work of the media men.
The dogs, stomach full, twisted their tails at the “compassionate walk men” and left the scene signaling to them that they would come back at the same place. The breeds which followed their masters smiled at the stray dogs followed back their masters.
“Today we did a kind act feeding some living beings. We will prosper. Our family will prosper.” The “compassionate walk men” walked back home with their heads straight.
The man in rags turned around them at a distance; his hands fettered by the police on patrol, and looked above and murmured.
Suddenly a great cloud formed in the sky, but there was no rain. There heard thunder without lightning.
I heard laughter and moaning into my heart.
I closed the door of my mind awhile and peeped outside. There I saw a procession of fanatics raising slogans. I could not understand the meaning of slogans. But I saw them with the protection of the police. I spoke to myself: “Will they not be quarantined for breaking the law?”
There is no answer for me. I left.
------- Author's Notes -------
This short story was written based on a real incident happened in India in Lock down period in Covid 19. Feeling proud of feeding dogs rather than helping the poor and the needy by the so-called rich people.
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