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The morning is pleasantly cool. The street below is yet to come alive. A lone man can be seen washing his car outside his gate. An early morning walker briskly walks past. There’s a woman in salwar-kameez, hurrying off somewhere, probably to work in one of the apartments in the vicinity. Her dupatta flutters in the wind as she practically runs. May be she is late and doesn’t want ‘madam’ to chew her ears out. A young man with a backpack comes into view. His pace is totally unhurried. He seems to have all the time in the world as he walks to the junction, hands in pockets, his thoughts seemingly far away.

That’s when I notice him. A handsome dude. He has a pointy face, and matching pointy ears. Though he is almost black all over, his legs and underside are fawn coloured. His tail is a perfect backward arc, held aloft proudly. Where had he come from? I hadn’t noticed. He stands there as if expecting someone, but decides to go investigate. Smartly he trots ahead, then stops in his tracks. I look where his nose points. What had he seen?

There’s a Golden Retriever on a leash, coming out of one of the gates. She apparently knows her route and wants to lead, the walker could follow. The trademark goofy golden retriever grin on her face is priceless. Hey! I am happy. Aren’t you happy? Let’s all be happy! It is hard not to smile back at her, or any golden retriever for that matter. Meanwhile the handsome dude watches her. He waits for her to turn the corner, then turns around. His steps seem to have a purpose. And there a few yards away I see him. A Great Dane.

The handsome dude stops and eyes the Dane from a distance. A fawn coloured dog with a black mask who is busy sniffing out the electric pole before getting down to business. He looks all legs and gangly as he canters down the street, dwarfing the man walking him. I wonder where he lives. These houses don’t have much space or even a decent courtyard to speak of. I fervently hope he is not cooped up in an apartment all day.

The handsome dude has his eyes on a gate to his left now. As if on cue, a Spitz rushes out like a bullet from a gun. Soft, white and fluffy, it dances around the woman, her human, as she latches the gate shut. Walk, walk, walk walk! The excitement is infectious, the woman smiles and bends down to pat the Spitz’ head. I feel I can almost see an indulgent look on the handsome dude’s face!

Now, the handsome dude pushes off to his favourite corner of the street to wait. So what if he has grown on the streets, roughed it out all his life, he is a polite dog. He knew to wish friends who walk his street a good morning every day. Now he will wait for them to get back and make sure they are safely inside their homes. Only then would his morning duty be done. I push off too, from the balcony, to get my morning tea.

© Shail Mohan 2020