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There are four of them. They spend the day sleeping in the shade in the private lane in front of our apartment block. They look so angelic as they doze peacefully that you’d never think it possible they can kick up such a godawful racket. Come nightfall, these same angels turn to little monsters with a loud voice. Well, not monsters exactly, though it may seem so to those getting their well deserved sleep when they turn into a howling, snapping, barking, snarling bunch.

The first time it happened, I thought it was more like fifty dogs, well if not fifty twenty at least, having some sort of gang fight. I imagined fur flying as dogs snarled at each other, and other dogs barking encouragement at the top of their voice, yet others howling in protest, while the rest wailed like banshees. I jumped out of bed and went to watch the fun from my balcony. Imagine my surprise to find there were only four dogs involved!

Hey! I called out. All of them stopped as if someone switched off their voice boxes, and turned as one to look for the source of the voice addressing them. I could have died laughing. In the streetlight their puzzled faces looked so comical. But they decided it had been a reprimand and took a break from their activities.

The funny thing is their snarling and barking, howling and wailing does not disturb me. I continue to read and fall asleep. If at all I get out of bed, it is only to watch the fun, and also to shock them into silence with a well-timed ‘Hey!’ But that’s not the case with the L&M. The poor man mutters in his sleep and curses the dogs, not that they are bothered.

What brings on the transformation at night. I am not sure. It must be turf war. Perhaps they are being threatened by the dogs of the next street and all this high-pitched drama is to stop them intruding into their turf. Or maybe in the cover afforded by the night, they are secretly rehearsing for the play they are going to put up for the next annual dog get together.

It is almost 11 p.m. now and the show is about to start. Ahh, right on cue, here they begin! I’ll now go and ‘Hey’ them and watch the fun. In the meantime, here’s an image of one of them yawning when I called out.

© Shail Mohan 2022