The Old Man And The Dog [#ShortStory]

Posted: October 31, 2017

It had become a ritual of sorts for her to watch the old man and the dog. She found solace in seeing that something in her life stood upright as a fixture.

She waved goodbye to her daughter and turned back, walking with sluggish steps. The morning hours brimmed with chaos and it was only after she would send her daughter off to school, that she would feel exhaustion looming large over her like rivulets running down her back.

It had been only a month since they had moved to the new apartment, in the heart of the city. Everything looked alien to her and she yearned for a sense of familiarity to dawn upon her soon. She missed the window in her old house, which overlooked the green fields and the wooden almirah which had a yellow spot in the centre. The yellow spot at that time seemed to bother her. It appeared to botch the look of the otherwise new almirah. But, today as she piled her clothes in the new house, she missed the ‘yellow spot’. She missed a million other things. Most significantly, she missed her old space because it had become an extension of her.

Since the last couple of days, while dropping her daughter off at the society gates, she had noticed something. She had seen an old man clad in a lungi and a shirt sitting outside a small brick house which stood like a shadow lurking out of nowhere. The old man had the same steadfast expression each day and she saw him sitting at the same place each day, staring at the road listlessly. A street dog plonked nearby and he also had the same expression of nonchalance which seemed almost akin to the old man sitting next to him.

She found it queer to find him sitting in the same place each day. Every morning, she would look at the old man and the dog and walk away with laborious steps. At times, she lingered a little longer, but then pulled herself out of her reverie and moved on as she could not afford to hamper her daily schedule.

It had become a ritual of sorts for her to watch the old man and the dog. She found solace in seeing that something in her life stood upright as a fixture.

One morning as she strolled towards her house and craned her neck to find the now familiar sight, she was stunned. The old man was not on the chair where he sat everyday and the dog was also nowhere to be seen.

She was confounded for the rest of the day and could not focus on anything. She realized that it had become a pattern for her to see the man sitting in the quaint corner house. She had taken a fancy to this newfound pattern. It was but natural for her to fall for a pattern in the new place where she was struggling to find her footing.

Where was the old man today? May be he went out somewhere. It would have been good for him to break the monotony and drudgery and break free, even if for a day or two, she thought. She felt she was not so much different than the old man. Like him, she too wanted to be at the same place, looking at the same scene.

The next day, she woke up with a big smile on her face. She looked around and realized her new home was wonderful.

Life is not worth living if you tread a set pattern. It is the multitudes of vicissitudes that define life. She resolved she would fall in love with life each day and break the moulds of complacency and pattern. Patterns are delightful, only if they push you forward, not if they stagnate you. It had taken an old man and a dog to make her realize this.

Image source: By Yercaud-elango (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0], via Wikimedia Commons, for representational purposes only.

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