Small is beautiful, dogs!


Junaid Ashraf

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All the dogs of the high-walled city of Capitaloslovakia came rushing—all at once, seemingly depressed. They walked through the oily streams, beneath the smoke filled sky, past the tall buildings and the billboards—that glorified the legendary dog-heroes, so loyal and obedient to the nation, the hardworking sinless dogs.

Dogs, who worked like donkeys—even if: they were dogs! Each carried a price tag like an amulet signalling its market price. Swiftly, like the busy ants they entered their temple-industry, as they called it—and chanted the hymns, for the ‘bread god’ on the instructions of the priest. Priest, a bald-headed dog was respected by all the dogs. Bread expert, they called him—and sometimes, dog economist.

‘Hunger and greed are the virtues of all dogs,’ he would sermonise them. ‘Be greedy, be rational, be a dog.’

‘The definition of a good dog is a greedy dog. Don’t sympathise. Sympathy is the virtue of your disgruntled parents; those stupid humans! They married without knowing—that everything, that could be done with marriage could be done without marriage. Actually more can be done without marriage! So bark O’ dogs, bark, and be thankful.’

Amen,’ said one of the dogs, instead.

Since the quality of a human was found in him, all the proud dogs pounced upon the terrorist and killed him in the counter insurgency operation.

As her dead son lied on the ground with blood oozing from all the pores of his body, the mother—a young bitch, stood motionless; tears about to roll down her face. But tears were blasphemous waters in Capitaloslovakia. The water that indicated hate for god’s will—and more so, love for your own child. She had to muster the courage to declare, ‘my lord, forgive me, my child was a wild thing!’

‘I am happy today,’ shouted the dog economist. ‘Let’s party, dogs. Let’s party, jubilantly. Because you averted a 9/ 11 today! But each one of you… bring me a hundred loaves of bread.’

‘Bread, even if it means blood! Bread, even if it means death!’

The dogs shouted in unison and went to the jungle. In the evening dogs returned, but ten dogs were martyred. And some were injured.

After they had returned, a dog lifted its eyes and focused in the sky. After a few moments, dogs calmly chanted, ‘Nafsi, Nafsi.’ A few more dogs joined—and repeated the words. And it went on, until the entire dog population cried loud and clear: ‘Nafsi, Nafsi…’

But they humbly put the result of their deeds in front of the priest—the intercessor, between dogs and the bread god. ‘He’s god. I am dog. Somewhat, same! Reverse. Dog. God,’ the dog economist would joke. ‘So dance dogs, dance. Let’s play music.’

And the dogs danced and whirled like the drunken dervishes—to have, the pleasure of god. ‘You normally get bread each day. Today you’ll get two and a half,’ the decree, and dogs grinned unlike dogs. ‘Small is beautiful, dogs. Thank the god. And, pride being a dog!’

In the evening, the entire dog population would return to their homes. Alone they lived in those caves, jungles, in the dreary gorges. A dreadful silence would descend and a thousand dog eyes would meaninglessly pierce the darkness. Suddenly then, a deafening laughter would fill the sky. All alone. But in unison. Though from their respective caves, the dogs laughed. Coughing up the negative emotions. It had been legalized by the doctors of Capitaloslovakia. Because it was felt that laughter increases the efficiency of dogs for the next day. Laughing hour, as they called it, was thus, practiced by all the dogs.

Broken and depressed, the mother of dead dog sat alone in her cave. There was darkness all around and in her heart. ‘Beneath the weeping sky,’ sobbingly, she sang, ‘a thousand mothers cry. Shake that blind world. As their sons, die.’

In the night upon the faraway horizon, some strange spirit would emerge with a violin in his hand. The appearance bought a smile on the face of the mother of the dead dog. This was the spirit that would alarm the dog soldiers and send shock waves throughout Capitaloslovakia.

Even if the dog soldiers emptied the bullets in their magazines, as they had done in the past, yet this spirit would not die. It would laugh at them. It had died a thousand times and resurrected itself one hundred and one times. With a huge violin in one hand, the spirit would mount on a chestnut tree, and sang:

Jab darveshi ayyari ho jaye aur pehre dari dukandari ban jaye. Loot mach jaye. Insaan tole jayein. Aur paymaane zarr ke hon. Roohein kharedi jayein. Zameer bik jayein. Qaabliyaton ka soda ho. Ek khofnaak vasee mandi mein. Paisa khuda ban jaye. Insaan darinda ban jaye. Jise rahbaniyat ne ek bookha kutta bana diya ho.  Chand afrad vasail par qabza karein aur deendar jannat o jahanam par. Aur kharede huwe kalakaar bi bada haseen naam tajweez karein.”—GLOBALISATION!

The mother of the dead dog saw a hope. She looked around: if the words had made an impact; if it had stirred the souls of the dogs. She looked around.

A dead silence…

“What strange sounds that violinist produces,” shouted one dog. “Incomprehensible words! The language of the ancients!”

“He is a mad violinist,” the other dogs joined in.

The mother of the dead dog sat down, broken and wept bitterly. All the neighbouring dogs sat in their caves and gazed into the starry sky. “The sky is there to be touched,” they all barked.

The aged dogs were caged in the upper hills—mothers, fathers, grandparents. “This is an industrial society,” the dog economist decreed, “and they are an industrial waste.”

Loneliness of dogs was considered to be necessity. It was because of loneliness that anti-depressants could be produced in the economy—and thus, providing employment to hundreds of dogs.

In the endless cycle of misery, the dogs stretched their lips like elastic—but unlike a smile, trying to appear satisfied by the days for the next day’s work and sleep.

Unquestioning of this mad race, the insane objectives the society had set, long before, they all had lost the ability to think! Civilization, instead, thought for them!

(Junaid Ashraf is economics student of Kashmir University hailing from Baramulla. He can be mailed at [email protected])


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