My mother tried to coax the little one to drink some milk, but he would not come anywhere near her. She chased him for a while, but he ran into the park across the road. So, she returned to her chair in the front-yard, where she and I were sunning ourselves that afternoon. A few minutes later I saw him running along the inside of the boundary-wall on the farther side of the park. A little while after that my mother noticed that he stood at the park's corner and was poised to cross the road. We resumed our conversation about something else and then heard him squeal briefly, once or twice, like he would when his brother bit his ear too hard, while playing. We did not turn around to see what might have made him do that.
"Woh pilla aap ka hai?" (Is that puppy yours?), said a woman's voice that broke the subsequent silence. She had been pruning some of the bushes in the park. The little brown dog's body lay sprawled in the middle of the road. The driver of the vehicle that crushed him had either not bothered to apply the brakes at all or not hard enough, since we heard nothing unusual.
The pup was one of three born to a stray bitch nearly a month ago. She was killed in a similar manner, a few days after giving birth, leaving her offspring in a hole in the ground, in the park mentioned earlier. My mother persuaded a couple of neighbours to take turns with her, to feed the young ones, with milk at first and then with biscuits or bread dissolved in milk. My friend Zakhmi guarded the orphans at night, coiled up on a mound of dirt next to their sleeping-quarters. They largely remained confined to the park until very recently.
Over the past few years, I have seen many such dogs, mostly young pups, mowed down by speeding cars around where I live. The drivers responsible for the deaths have little to fear in terms of complaints being lodged with the police (I am not sure if there even is a law in this country, regarding that.) or crowds gathering to beat them up and damage their vehicles or the news-media reporting upon their deeds, as might be expected if the victims happen to be human. Their own consciences appear to be the least of their problems, in any case.
The only plausible solution, it appears at the moment, is to construct speed-breakers on the road, but I do not have the resources and other local residents do not seem concerned. Government officials do not seem to have the issue anywhere on their list of priorities.
It would obviously be much better though, if people would drive more carefully and spare the lives of defenceless creatures that obviously can not be taught road-sense in the way that humans can be. I also hope that the readers of this blog-post will help spread the word around, since none of the animal-rights organisations in India seem to focus on prevention or to campaign for punitive legislation, even though some provide ambulance services for injured animals.