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Manas Biswal | November 20, 2003 13:31 IST

It was raining heavily that day. My brother and I had just returned from school and were having our meal. Both my parents are working so, once we returned home, we would unlock the house ourselves and have the meal that my mother had prepared for us earlier in the day.

We were enjoying our hot food when I heard a sound outside -- it sounded like someone was crying. I opened the door and saw a small puppy outside our door. It was completely drenched and seemed hungry. I loved animals and was mesmerised by this cute, though rather unhappy-looking, puppy. I fed it almost half of my share of rice. By the time my parents returned home from work, I had decided to keep it as a pet!

My father was furious when he saw the puppy curled up happily on the sofa. He immediately picked it up to throw it outside. I pleaded with him to allow me to keep it as a pet -- I even cried -- but he would not listen. He put the puppy outside and shut the door.

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I could hear the puppy crying in the rain for a long time. I cried a lot myself and tried to reason with anyone in the family who cared to listen. I even told my father, "How would you feel if someone throws you out of your house in a similar fashion?" This made my father even more angry and he slapped me.

After a while, exhausted by this emotional battle, I sat and stared blankly at the television set. After a couple of hours, the rain eased and finally stopped. My father called me and asked me to accompany him on a stroll. I was still very angry with him for throwing the puppy out. So we did not talk much and walked in silence for some time.

After a while, we came to a crossroad where he told me to stop and pointed to a nearby tree. On looking closely, I could make out the curled-up figure of an old man huddled at the base of the tree. He clothes were torn and he had been totally drenched by the rain. He appeared miserable and it looked like he had no home to go.

My father asked me, "Are you prepared to keep this man in your house and feed him?" I was shocked and immediately answered with an emphatic, "Of course not!" My father then asked me the question that will haunt me for the rest of my life, "Why not?"

I tried hard to find an answer but no reason came to mind. He then told me I was crying to keep a dog in my house but was not prepared to give shelter and food to a hungry and maybe dying human being.

Many years have passed since that incident took place. I am still to find an answer to the question that my father posed to me that day. In these interim years, I have often wondered about the people who have pets in their houses. Have they ever been bothered by this question?

I still love animals and will certainly get myself a pet someday. Before I do that though, I need to find an answer to my father's question.

Image: Lynette Menezes

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Read what others have to say:

Number of User Comments: 26

Sub: :)

The answer is simple, DO you feel the same towards the puppy & the old man? the answer lies feeling towards them, ufeel more for ...

Posted by Manish

Sub: Hi Manas!!

Dear Friend!!! That was gr8, I would say that you had always been one of those who came forward to help anyone in trouble.But help ...

Posted by Prachi

Sub: Yeah! Why not

Let not be too selfish here. I mean is a human life more valuable than any other? It looks like to you it is. Let ...

Posted by Animal Lover

Sub: answer to fathers question

The simple answer to why not? is One can be sure that the dog will love you all his life for doing what you did.A ...

Posted by mera

Sub: nope

not a good comparison, just because you cannot help one being doesnt mean you cannot help another. That way, we have to prioritize everything and ...

Posted by KK


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