Pat

You return from your morning walk, jog, or whatever you do to keep fit. You see your favourite neighbourhood street dog lying on his side on the cobbled footpath. He faces the east, as if readying for a sunbathing session. But the sun seems to be firmly behind the clouds.

You go up to him. From the front, never from the back or side, no matter how well you know him. Not because you think he could suddenly turn rogue one day, but because he has cataract in one eye. So, to help him identify you easier. By the way, should that be ‘dogaract’?

You utter his name softly, so that you don’t wake him if he’s asleep. “Rustom.” But Rustom is, obviously, a dog and hears low frequencies well, so his ear perks up. Ear, single; the one not pasted to the ground. He perks up himself right after. Begins wagging his tail, or in this case, slapping it against the cobble-stones.

You lower yourself to his level and pet him to your heart’s content – and his. Head pat, back stroke, belly rub (Rustom seems very yielding today), bum pat, whisker flick, nose rub (well, if the sun won’t warm him).

Rustom is satiated. He droops down, his tail slows down too. You raise yourself. You look up, and then around you. Here, a group of school-kids waiting for their bus stares in amazement at you. Next to them, their parents look agape. There, the security guys look in #respect. Suddenly, this dirty, biggish, and therefore possibly scary, street dog doesn’t seem dirty, biggish, scary anymore. And what do you know, he even has a name.

Success can be defined by where and how you live. And it may be defined by how you help others live.

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