Dog tired in Delhi

Arriving at the new New Delhi airport we are met by Susan’s son Jonah and Whitney, his girlfriend, who have been traveling and volunteering in India since September. Jonah is a devotee of Ama, a guru known through out the world for her charity work and hugging. They stayed at Ama’s southern India Ashram, doing seva (service) in many ways. They survived a cyclone which took down countless trees (over 1 million) while) living at an international intentional village named Aoroville where they assisted teaching children. Their adventures can be found here:

Jonah and Whitney place garlands of roses around our necks and bindis on our foreheads that they brought from a Ghanesh temple they had been visiting that afternoon. The rose petals fill our senses as we walk from the bright lights of the airport and into the humid air, 95 degrees at 8:30 pm.

One of the biggest adjustments when arriving in India is the constant presence of animals. There are cows holding up traffic, lying casually in the medians, goats eating the garbage outside restaurants, monkeys climbing up and down buildings chattering local gossip, and then, there are the dogs. Stray dogs everywhere, wandering around like restless drunks. They follow you a while, then trail off, uninterested if you have no food. That day and the next, when we visited a huge Mosque, a gorgeous Hindu Temple dedicated to the Goddess Lakshmi (no cameras, please) and the great Mahatma Ghandi’s Memorial, inspired the poem below from a dog’s point of view.

This problem is certainly not confined to India (read the recent Rolling Stone article about Detroit’s stray dogs).

Dog tired in Delhi

I am a dog at the New Delhi airport
skinny and full of dust
I greet strangers
from all over the world
they can speak “No!”
in every language known to man
and they never take me home

I’ve got a cousin who hangs
over at Mahatma Ghandi’s Memorial
the guards feed him on and off
he scratches a bed in the dirt
under a tree near the entrance
so, you know, his place is cooler
but hey, he’s not really a people person

Man, in some ways we own this country
I mean, like, we’re everywhere but
I’m tellin’ you this
if Durga had been riding on a dog
instead of a lion
well, let’s just say
the scraps would be way better

and I’d be wearing a rose garland
and a bindi

— Anne

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