Chitta Mending Broken Leg
This is a true story based on a direct experience in Hyderabad in 1997. My wife Sudesh and I used to go every morning to the Sanjivayya Park for a walk and some exercise. The park spread over 100 acres but about half of it was developed and the rest left to overgrow with bushes and wild weeds. It was used as a safe haven by many small animals including dogs. Of them only dogs were daring enough to come out, the others were too shy and remained hidden from the humans.
Like all the morning walkers, Sudesh and I spent most of our time walking on the path built for us along the periphery. For a quarter or more of our time we went on to the lawns either for a barefoot stroll on the dew, or to do some yogic exercises. I was one of the very few to sometimes look into the overgrown area. Occasionally, I even ventured into the bush for two main reasons; one, if I needed urgently to visit a lavatory, and two, to watch animals or birds that attracted my attention.
A little white puppy not only attracted my attention but won my heart. I first noticed him when he was less than a month old. He would trail behind his mother together with his three siblings; so plump and white was he that when he walked one could mistake him as a rolling cotton ball. I would try to attract his attention but he showed no interest for a long time. As he grew older and a bit freer of his mother he noticed me and began to feel drawn. I called him Chitta (white in Punjabi) and he soon knew that this was his name; for when called he would brighten up, wag his tail vigorously, twist and turn like mad, and coo. He did not know what to do with himself in those moments of glee. We then knew that we were friends. Months passed as Chitta and I met each morning, talked, sometimes shared food, and often just fooled around.
One morning we did not see Chitta and wondered. He wasn’t there the second day either. On the third day I went into the bush to look for him. I hadn’t gone far when I noticed him lying on his side exercising rear legs and feet. He twirled his feet on the ankles, bent his knees and legs on the hip joints. Sudesh and I watched this in utter amazement for about 20 minutes. Chitta had injured himself badly in a road accident. His pelvis was broken and legs crushed; he was unable to use his rear legs. But his front half was in tact and by lifting himself on front legs he skillfully dragged his injured rear.
We asked Chitta what had happened. He answered: “Oh Brother, I am in great pain. Three days ago I was run over by a speeding scooter. A young man was driving; a pretty young woman was riding on the pillion. The vehicle went out of control. I was lying half asleep on the side of the road. It went over my back, crushed my legs and broke a vertebrae and the pelvis. Should I blame the poor driver, the girl, or my wrong choice of place to sleep? Perhaps all of them together and destiny caused the accident.”
“I cannot walk anymore. The fracture is complex. Body tells me to exercise the legs and other parts that will move. But I think my end is near. I am not afraid. Death will be relief from pain. I have found this secluded corner to lie down and starve to death. Fasting makes you groggy and subdues pain. Soon I will lose consciousness and that will be a signal to my friend the crow to come and eat up my eyes and make me blind to the world. Other birds too will get the message and descend to feast on my body. This will be good for I too will be in the feast as the host. I will give to my fellow beings what I got from life. After all what is death? This Chitta will cease to exist but every bit of his body will feed life in his brothers and sisters. They too will some day die, and Chitta reborn in a new body. The flow of life will go on and that is what counts.”
When we returned two days later all we saw was a few scattered bones. A grand feast must indeed have happened with Chitta the host giving his whole body with joy.
December 24, 2005