The sweat trickled down the back of my knees. I wiped the warm beads off of my upper lip and looked up. The ceiling fan was whirring, but not offering any relief. Outside my window, leaves rustled, giving the illusion of a breeze. It was hot.
I looked down on to the afternoon street and saw a stray dog splayed in front of a roadside stall. Both were shaded by a large peepul tree, and the dog was spreading itself to stay cool. Its big black eyes were open but defeated by the heat; blinking seemed to be an effort for him. Its beige coat of short hair still seemed too thick for the weather; my thin, cotton t-shirt felt like a layer too much for the sultry, still air. I pitied the dog.
I should take some water down to it, I thought. Just then, I saw the stall owner step towards the dog. He put a small bowl of water near him, with care. First to the side, then closer to the dog’s face. He patted the dog, rubbing his coat lovingly. He almost seemed to be reassuring himself that the dog was still alive, if overcome by the humid summer vapors.
There’s a sight one doesn’t see too often, I thought to myself. Stray dogs are usually in the way, to be kicked around and chased off. Yet, here was a man who looked like any other person, except that he was showing kindness. I was struck by his involvement with a being other than himself, and that too, an animal. In those moments, he seemed completely absorbed in making the dog comfortable.
It was a strange sight, I don’t see this much anymore. Perhaps that’s why, in that instant, the noise fell away, and time came to a pause. I watched, it was compassion in action.