Monday, May 07, 2012


Ranga kept his foot on the bed sheet, while Swamy was trying to pull it, trying to cover his face. A few minutes later, when Swamy knew his efforts were futile, he rolled the sheets over Ranga. There were no beds to make early in the morning, for they had no beds to sleep on. They slept on the floor. There was no room to clean. They did not even have a house, and were satisfied sleeping on the pavement of the railway station. This was their life for years, from the time they were born.

“Ranga-Swamy”, the station master, Pratap called out, and both ran upto him. It was their breakfast time. This was the one meal he could provide to the duo. Pratap had given them shelter years before. Both were at his doorstep. His family was huge; hence he couldn’t afford to accept them to be a part of his family. He secretly allowed them to stay near the railway station. He would buy breakfast for them on the way. The porters took pity on them and allowed them to help in the work. They got their share and lived off it in a corner.

Even though both grew up together, they were different in many ways. Swamy was always the one who spoke to everybody; Ranga was the stronger one, but a silent follower of Swamy. His eyes did most of the talking. “Ranga-Swamy” were the names given by Pratap, to the lovely duo.

As days passed by, Swamy noticed Ranga was slowly losing his strength. He wanted to take Ranga to a doctor, but they hardly made money to satisfy the daily needs, spending for a doctor visit seemed out of bounds. Swamy decided, he would take help from Pratap, just this once. The duo never accepted any monetary help from him. They knew how difficult it was for Pratap to manage his family. They not intend to burden him with their problems. But, this time, Swamy couldn’t resist. It was not for him, but for his companion, who had been with him all these years. There was not a day which passed by, when ‘Ranga-Swamy’ were not together.

The next morning, Pratap handed over the breakfast to the duo. Ranga took the food and walked away, he wasn’t cheerful, like the usual. Swamy later discussed the problem with Pratap. Even though Pratap could not afford to take care of them, he considered them their own. He checked the amount he had in his safe deposit box. They decided to take Ranga for a check-up the next day.

A month later, Swamy woke up. But, this time, there was nobody to pull his sheets, nobody to roll over the bed sheets with him. His companion Ranga had moved over to a different world, leaving Swamy alone in the world, they had shared till then. Swamy quietly folded the sheets and kept it away. He went on with his routine; the smile on the 12 year old boy was missing.

A fortnight earlier, when Pratap and Swamy took Ranga for the doctor visit, they were shocked to learn, Ranga had only a few more days left. Though Pratap understood the situation, it was difficult for Swamy. Ranga was also around 12 years. The doctor then explained to Swamy, a dog’s life span is different from that of a human and Ranga, being a dog, was nearing the end of his life.

The week after the visit was most miserable. But, the duo had the satisfaction of being with each other, their entire life. Ranga had pulled the sheets from Swamy’s face and once they both had rolled over the sheets and on each other, they started panting for breadth. Ranga was on his best friend’s lap, in a few minutes he became motionless. Swamy knew, it was time. A tear drop from Swamy’s eyes trickled down to Ranga’s face.

A decade later, Swamy still is a porter in the railway station. He tries to help any stray animal. He has an old photograph of Ranga and him, which Pratap had gifted him. The void left by Ranga has not been filled by anyone in his life yet. Pratap hopes one day Swamy will find someone, who does just that, takes Ranga’s place in Swamy’s heart. “Ranga-Swamy” till then will remain inseparable.


Hema Iyer said...

awhhh...dogs are really mans best friend. No one can fill their place. Lovely story

Art said...

you wont believe it.. I actually thought of Joey after posting this :)