Like Master Like his dog

Posted: October 11, 2011 in STORY

He looked at his watch again, its 1.30 and all he could see was empty streets that are crowdedduring the day and a few trees which are still lucky to be on earth. He looked at the sleeping dog and smiled to himself. Maybe the tea he had 2 minutes back is still keeping him awake. He knows that the watchman duty is not a easy job as he has to try hard not to fall asleep  and guard the building under construction from trespassers. The moment he stepped into this job he realized that if he makes the rich bosses unhappy he is going to get fired.

Joe is 72 years old. People his age usually take a volunteer retirement and sit at home sipping coffee on the porch. But Joe is not so lucky. He was an orphan. In a city, thousands of kids are orphans, yet they manage to survive. When he was a kid he used to fill his stomach begging by the bus stop. As he grew, he started collecting plastic bags and bottles which were thrown in the dustbin. Whatever he earned was sufficient for him. He lived in the slum. When he was in his late twenties he married a gal from the same slum. After a few years she ran away with another man who was earning more than him. Left alone, Joe moved on and has been working as a watchman. He’s been doing this job for 40 years now.

He still remembers the night, when this big eyed tiny pup got into the under construction building he was guarding. He wanted to chase the puppy away but something made him stop. He looked into those big moist eyes and he knew that this would be his pet. He was named Jupiter. He didn’t know what it meant, but he used to hear the kids read it while studying. He loved to listen to them. Years passed but Jupiter never left him. He was happy to see that there was someone who loved him back and was faithful to him. He shared his meal and home with Jupiter.

He lightens up his Beedi. He knows he is getting old but he has to work. People like him who don’t have anything, have to work until they die. Joe pats Jupiter’s head. He knows even his dear dog is growing old. He is almost 11 years old. The belt around his neck is torn and faded. Joe takes one more puff and stubs out the beedi. He works nights because it gets him extra wages. He looks at Jupiter, his black hair turning grey. Like master like slave he thinks and starts praying. Whenever he feels drowsy he starts his prayer. He doesn’t know which religion he belongs to, but he says his prayer to all the Gods.

He smiled again. He saw the time, it was 4.00am. Soon the sun will come up and he can go home with Jupiter and sleep. At that very moment something caught his attention. He could see two small figures trying to get into the building. One look at them and Joe realizes that they are the beggars. His childhood came flooding back to him. He allowed the kids to stay there for a while. When it was 6.00 am he woke up the kids and asked them to leave. When the kids were about to leave, he called them back and gave each one 50 rupees. Seeing the 50 rupee note their small saddened face lightened up. They smiled at him with gratitude and left the place.

 Around 7.00 am Joe’s replacement walked in. Joe whistled for Jupiter and started walking towards his home. He prepared a small meal for Jupiter and himself.  After saying good night to Jupiter, Joe closed his eyes.

The clock strikes 7 pm. It was time for Joe to be present at his watch man duty. But he wasn’t there. Someone from the construction site comes over to check. He knocks on the door, then bangs, still there is no response. At last with some help he breaks down the door and is struck at the scene. There lay Joe whose eyes would never see daylight again. Jupiter was resting his head on his master. He followed his master in death. Like master like slave.

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