Sunday, March 04, 2007

Encounter of a different kind....

After some eventful and adventures runs on the hill station, its back to sea level now. I had one of my most scary runs during one of the morning runs at the hill station (I was to run for some 5-8km from a forest reserve post to a sunrise point, on badly potholed tar road) just around sunrise. Everything was fine for the first couple of kilometers after my friends dropped me off and decided to meet me at the sunrise point. The weather was close to perfect and I was feeling very good, but I sudden started hearing some sounds & then it slowly sank into me that I was running on forest reserve land (and forests have animals, maybe no tigers but definitely some foxes or wild dogs). I decided to have a look at my mobile phone signal (which luckily was working as the network was not consistent), but then realised that the wild animal would not wait for me to call my friends!! I decided to blank those thoughts out of my mind and focus on my run. But after about 4 kms I realised (at some distance) that there was something waiting for me in the middle of the road, it was a animal alright (was it a wolf, fox, dog, or something else), I knew I had no choice but to jog ahead (if the animal was comfortable parking itself in the middle of the road, I was reasonably sure that it should also be comfortable with human presence, unless of course it perceives me as threat). I tried to remind myself about the numerous stray dogs (and some of them were vicious) I had encountered over the year...

As I went closer, I realised that it was either a wild dog or a cross between a fox & a dog (am still not exactly sure what it was). I decided to slow down as I was crossing him and also made sure that I went off the road a little so that he does not feel threatened (did not want to enter its space..). Even after crossing him I was still not sure if it would decide to chase me (and there was no soul in sight, which meant it was not a pet/domesticated animal).

The final conclusion which I came - wild animals are a lot calmer and peaceful than stray dogs, unless they feel threatened. Stray dogs on the other hand are usually abused and invariably feel threatened and decide to chase you/bark at you or decide to call for their pack to bark or threaten you.


Deepika S said...

You know when I started reading about the Tibetan marathon details, I was wondering why I was here. If I had to run to save my life, I'd probably be looking behind trees for a cycle; or stand flush against a rock hoping to blend in with the scenery!

I am the Anti-Runner. I was the Prep-student who came last in frog races. I was the teen who asked her over-weight friend to run slower in a race just so I wasn't the last one on the finish line. Truly, I did!

So I was wondering what I was doing here other than fulfilling a promise I made a friend. But then I read on, and found later that I'd read on and on till I read all the posts on the page. Not out of obligation but because I enjoyed it! The words came alive and I saw Mumbai - green and dirty and festive and crowded and active and running and vibrant.

I enjoyed reading your experiences, as you weren't just talking about running, were you? You were indeed bringing Bombay and the other places you ran in alive to the reader, in snippets.

I particularly enjoyed this one. I could see it all happening to you, you described it well. I saw the trees, heard the rustle in the woods, looked over your shoulder for the source of sound. And when you crossed the animal, I heard you sigh in relief.

It's good that you didn't just leave the story as an encounter of a different kind but went forth to think about why stray dogs behave they way they do. I was pleasantly surprised with your insight into animal psychology. You came out of the experience displaying empathy that few people do.

I'm glad that for a while you took me back to a city I love. And miss.
So thanx for your blog.

Will I be back? Bet your shoes I will! I would bet mine but that wouldn't mean much. Not much at all.

Girish said...

Hey thanks Deepika. I hope to get the biggest compliment from you some day soon and that will be when you pick a good pair of running shoes, start doing brisk walks on a regular basis (better still when you join a local gym).
I have a strong feeling that its going to happen sometime really soon.