Friday, August 05, 2005

When the Dogs Start Crying

Animals, too, died in the terrible rains the lashed Mumbai on 26 July. Buffaloes inside tabelas; goats and sheep inside slaughterhouses; and stray animals. Writing about that Terrible Tuesday, Amit Varma hears the crying of the street dogs:
Every year Bombay is badly hit on at least a couple of days during the monsoons, as the city shuts down because of too much rain. Weather forecasts rarely give enough notice, and a more accurate warning is the crying of street dogs. As rain lashes down and the water level rises, they keep moving along the streets in search of higher ground. When there is none to be found, and they cannot escape the water, they start crying. They do not do this in packs, mostly, and it is not as conspicuous as wolves wailing at the wind. So it is often lost amid the many other noises of a busy city.
Walking around the city's hard-hit suburbs, this is the sad aftermath that he sees:
Some suburbs remained flooded in the interim, and did not get power and water supply for a week. Where the water receded, the streets piled up with massive amounts of rotting garbage, onto which crows descended and stray dogs lingered. I came across the carcass of a buffalo lying in the middle of the road, which for some mysterious reason was wearing a helmet. As many as 1,500 dead cattle punctuated the streets of Bombay...

...Eventually the city would function again, and everyone would feel proud of living in such an important city. And the dogs, those that were left and were now dry, would stop crying. Until next year.
Those that were left.

(Cross-posted on Indian Writing)


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