The three of them stood with bowed heads around the old tree. A tall, strapping senior officer, his helper and the lady wife in her morning walk rig, a baton in hand to keep street dogs at bay.
The officer struck a match briskly, dipping into the bag held out reverentially by his jawan. There was the usual clutter of marigold flowers, glittering red scarves, earthen lamps and a smattering of meagre coins. It was hard to tell the presiding deity from the several clay statues under the thick foliage.
At some minutes to 7 am the tiny cantonment was coming alive. Our trio bowed deeply, hands folded, the couple making offerings and observing all the rituals of a signature puja. In the silence that followed, the three souls sought to connect with the almighty, seeking the choicest of blessings. Having satisfied themselves they had been in order, they gathered up and stepped back slowly, a glow of self-satisfaction stealing up as they turned away and towards home.
They would have barely gone ten and a quarter steps when a scrawny, mangy, flea ridden cur stole up to their spot, lifted an emaciated hind limb and sprayed forcefully, all over their effort.
One being’s meat is at times, another being’s poison.