An Unusual Encounter
- Harcharan Bains*
An Unusual Encounter

For the first time in my life today, I met a strong and handsome but aggressive dog who would have none of my love overtures or even offers. He would have nothing but a one on one duel -Russian style-and kept challenging me to it. 
He left me with no alternatives to accepting his challenge. So finally I obliged.
Ten minutes of him doing what he is best at - charging down in blind fury - and of my pulling what I thought were my best manoeuvres on the field of battle, I was still the one left standing -literally- and I am proud to announce that I survived, and am still alive and in one piece.
But I am embarrassed that those I love so much from the core of my heart and whose purity of heart, affection and innocence I have advocated all my life, reduced me to a public spectacle thus. Although I survived against his lethal ferocity and fearsome muscular strength and bloody teeth sharp as blades of steel, I was hugely disappointed that it took me all of ten minutes to escape with my clothes and flesh untorn.
He also appeared equally embarrassed for a different reason: this may have been the first time anyone got away from him without a scratch or gash. He sure was used to seeing blood and gore after every encounter. These, I reckon, were ten life changing moments of unfamiliar defeat for him. 
During all of our duel lasting just over ten minutes, neither he nor I compromised on giving off the best each of us had in our respective repertoire. 
But at the end of those tense ten minutes with a street-full of people watching the spectacle, he ended up in my lap, looking sheepishly into my eyes and giving me embarrassed looks of love. It all changed in the 9th minute. He had no option but to see reason. What people saw was what people's eyes couldn't believe. He lay on the floor legs up, tail tugged between his legs -now thrown wide open- his eyes moist with feelings he himself couldn't understand or be happy about and his tongue coming out and going in in sheer embarrassed gestures of reconciliation and apologies. Finally his cheeks pressed against mine and my cheek partly wet with amorous liquid, he walked up trembling on his legs and with head still digging into his own chest in expressions of regrets and apologies, he slumped himself in my lap, and lay there, a helpless little baby opening and closing his eyes in half minute intervals. He licked and kept licking my palm intermittently, and gave me a beseeching look asking to be forgiven and hugged. Of course that was something I wanted far more than he did. And we were lost in each other's being neck to neck now, cheek to cheek, chest to chest. He begged for a lip to lip and I looked around. There were people watching and although it was the purest form of PDA, they wouldn't permit this "vulgarity". So I hid his face in my arms, pulled him closer to my neck, covering his nose with my arms, I facilitated a fleeting stolen nearly lip to lip. 
You would have to see to understand the look of gratitude on his face especially in his eyes.
Thus ended an unequal encounter. But I had to buy my departure by assuring him repeatedly that I will keep visiting him almost everyday. I told him that though no longer in government, I was still a busy man and he shouldn't mind or take to heart my failure to turn up on time regularly. Reluctantly, he promised me he will be more understanding than many of my friends who interpret my un-punctuality as laziness and unwillingness to work.
I thanked him in the end and requested him not to insist on formalities of seeing me off or, as he seemed now to want, accompanying me to my home. I told him I am a married man and he understood the rest. Men always do. At least this one did. Actually, I had to beg him to keep standing on this side of the road as I walked to my car parked on the other. It was a sentimental parting. He kept standing there with looks of sad longing as long as I was not gone out of his sight.
Even now, I have a heart heavy with the memory of the last glance I gave him as he kept standing where he was following my car with looks of strange complex emotions, dominated by love and sadness.
Was he an angry soul or a lonely and neglected lover who had put on this pretension of being furious only as a defence mechanism. I have not stopped thinking about his innocent and apologetic but extremely loving face. If you ask me, he seems to matter so much to me that if I had not been a married man, I would have loved to stay single all his life for his sake - and mine, although if I were to share this sentiment with my wife, she would see nothing in it except the usual male fear of commitment.
Never be misled by aggression you see in others. More often than not it is just a cover up or a camouflage for unfulfilled and unrequited love. Humans are cold cruel race. My heart is heavy with these thoughts as I am hiding a few loaves from my wife to share with my new love tomorrow.
*(The author, a freelance journalist, has served as Advisor on National Affairs to former CM Punjab, Parkash Singh Badal.)

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