by Manika Ahuja
MORNING walk is a pleasure in all seasons. But it is a double pleasure during this season of the year when you see raindrops on tree leaves, blooming flowers and butterflies. The cuckoo song adds to this charm.
While I enjoy my morning cup of tea, I equally fancy going out for a morning walk that sets one’s mood for the day. It has become almost a ritual for me since the time I studied in a school and we stayed in a government house at Panchkula.
One early morning, as I went out for the ritual, the streetlight was missing. My mother dissuaded me from venturing out, telling me that there have been several cases of petty criminals roaming in the streets at night and before dawn. I too had read of many instances of people being looted during night. But, brave heart as I am, mustering courage, I went ahead with my morning walk mission.
Soon I felt someone stalking me. So I hastened the speed. The stalker still followed. The words of wisdom and forewarning given by my intuitive mom appeared coming true. Fearing the worst, I did not look back and started almost running. Soon I felt exhausted and unable to run further. As I do not carry my mobile phone during walk, I could not call cops for help.
Light emanating from a house gave me a ray of hope to escape. I pushed the door-bell of the house. The old lady let me in as I pleaded for help. As all hell loosened on me, the stalker too reached the house and, before I could step in, entered the house. It was then that I realised that it was a black dog that I had once fed that was following me. The old lady and I had a hearty laugh at the discovery.
After that it became a daily routine that whenever I stepped out of the house for the morning walk, the black beauty would religiously follow me. The love affair continued till we stayed in Panchkula and she continued stalking me. As habits die hard, even after we bought our own house in Chandigarh and shifted to this city, I resumed my morning routine. But I genuinely missed her.
A few days later, when I was having brisk walk, I again felt the stalker. I looked back in amazement and found the black beauty that I had given the name “Blackey”. How she had found her way to our house was a big mystery for me. However, I soon realised her loyalty and love. This made me imbibe the truth in Shakespeare’s lines that “in thy face I see the map of honour, truth, and loyalty”.
Now when I go out for my morning walk, the stalker still follows me. We do brisk walking, indulge in some exercises and have fun running around. When I relax on a bench on the way back for deep breathing, she sits at my feet while I move my fingers in her hair. On reaching home, when I savour my cup of tea, she eats the bread loaf soaked in milk. The best part is that she often shares milk with my pet cats. Over the years, our love has grown and the stalker has turned a friend!
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