Srinagar is a city littered with dogs. You confront dogs everywhere; in its narrow streets, on mutilated roads, by the banks of Jhelum and even in the premises of schools and colleges. Sometimes it looks that the dogs have exceeded humans in numbers. And in this atmosphere, a confrontation with a dog is inevitable.
There was a dog in our locality, well-fed, brown and fierce. The dog used to roam with the attitude of a military general with heavy footsteps, carrying an acolyte of smaller dogs with him. He was seen at the butcher’s shop and his bark was coarse with a loud pitch. It always frightened me. And I always wished that I never had an encounter with this dog. The dog had attacked many people in the past and a distance from him was hugely recommended to a boy like me. I was eighteen at the time.
One day I was on my way to college when, at the bend of a narrow street, I came face to face with the dog. The dog barked his typical bark. My heart beat increased and legs froze to the ground. I stood unmovable. The dog came near and yelped. I withdrew my steps and thought of running but finding my situation a lost cause, I forced myself to remain still. The dog persisted with his fierce barking. His open mouth revealed shiny pointed teeth, like the ones I had seen in Jaws, a movie that had scared me to my wits.
I looked in fright as the scene of a ferocious shark tearing a man into two replayed in my head. I suddenly began to run and the dog started chasing me. At the end of a narrow gully near the construction site of a mosque, I found a brick and picked it up. I turned and hurled it towards the sturdy dog. Its trajectory found the dog’s head. The dog gave a loud bark. Blood emanated from his ruptured head right above its ear and the dog, to my surprise and relief, ceased to chase me. I went home running.
For some time, I saw the dog with its mutilated head looking at me as I walked past the construction site where I had hit him. I felt the dog wanted to avenge me. I avoided his stare. The coterie of lesser dogs around him had fallen to a handful but I still feared him, anticipating a future encounter where I may not be lucky to escape. I changed paths when I would see him at a distance. And then I saw him no more.
Originally published here — https://archive.authintmail.com/article/reporters-journal/encounter-dog