Saturday, 5 April 2014

Dog catcher

In a transferable job one gets postings in far flung unknown places inhabited by different people with their different languages, clothing styles & food habits. if you are living in one part of India where certain type of clothes or food items are in vogue & considered the best, the same may not be applicable in some other part of India. That is the diversity which needs to be appreciated & even enjoyed. Easier said than done though.

From Delhi I got posted to a remote branch under North East Region, Guwahati. Compared to dusty & crowded Delhi, it was refreshingly green, less populated & less polluted. Within the districts of each state there & within the seven states of North East there are differences in languages, dialects, clothing styles, food habits etc. 

The branch I was heading had normal banking business those days. But somehow it was a peon-cum-guard who was causing headache in day to day functioning. His duty included inter-alia opening the vault, taking out heavy cash metal box in the morning & putting it back in the evening & locking up the vault. He would take leave for a day but would disappear for days. On some occasions he won't even inform anybody in the branch & take a few days off. His salary was never paid for a full month because his leave remained exhausted. No amount of persuasion & counselling helped. To make alternate arrangement one had to look for some other guy on payment which was another headache.

So one day I landed at his place at about 8 in the morning to get first hand report. A small house in the village accommodated his parents, himself, his wife & five school going children. He himself was not there & there was a language barrier also. His wife called a neighbour for interpretation & the matter was understood.

They were always short of money & for a few rupees more he resorted to catching stray dogs in the night. For this purpose most suited time was midnight to 4 am during which dogs slept most peacefully. He would throw wet jute bags on them & catch. These dogs were then sold in nearby tribal areas for meat. Black dog was considered a delicacy & meant bonus which was more than a day's salary.

That's why he needed to sleep during the day!

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