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Against All Odds

Brownie was a beautiful small pup with no eyes and a stray at that, when I first saw him. What chances would you give him? How could such a vulnerable little thing survive the severely hostile conditions — the busy street which was his home; limited food, often no food; six other equally hungry pups who had eyes and could see? It was a foregone conclusion that before long he'd either starve to death or get hit by a speeding vehicle. The theory of survival of the fittest unfortunately also applies to strays anywhere in the world.

Brownie was the handsomest of the litter — a delicate shade of ginger with a perfect white collar, quizzical black brows, a long white-tipped tail — forever wagging. He used to be so happy just being alive. Even physically he had been the strongest, the natural leader. And then, overnight, his eyes went opaque and he was blind.

We despaired for him as he bumped into walls and gates, tumbled into ditches, escaped within inches of his life from speeding bikes and got his food stolen by his siblings from right under his nose. Very soon his ribs stood out against his now dull coat, while his siblings got fitter on his share.

"Should we adopt him?" was the question that tortured us every day but our selfish love for our own pet quelled the intention. We didn't know what mysterious ailment had rendered him blind and we couldn't risk our pet's health, already delicate because of her age.

We gave up on Brownie, in our typically fatalistic 'human' way, remembering to add a prayer for a quick and painless release from his misery. But did Brownie give up on life, and throw in the towel as easily? No way. His awkward uncertainty, his misery lasted precisely for a fortnight! And fortune favoured the gutsy little pup by stopping whatever that ailed him at just blindness.

In that short duration, he learnt new survival skills and quickly mastered them. He trained his nose and ears to make up for his eyes. No more stumbling for him! He's the first one to dash for food, the moment anybody opens a gate to leave out food, a custom many in the neighbourhood follow. Any other pup, audacious enough to steal his food, gets a taste of his sharp teeth on his ears or neck! By cocking up his ears, Brownie, I think, manages to somehow make out the sounds of an approaching vehicle and retires to safety much before his sighted siblings. In the scorching summers, he makes his way unwaveringly towards the shadiest patches and water.

And, above all, his joie de vivre remains as infectious as ever as he continues to gambol with the same gay abandon as soon as it gets cool in the evenings. In him, I see the personification of the 'Serenity' prayer many of us know, but few remember in a crisis:
God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; courage to change the things I can; and wisdom to know the difference

Brownie had the courage to change what he could, he learnt to depend more on his nose and ears; to fortuitously accept what he couldn't, his blindness.

Does he ever miss his sight? Maybe. But his tail tells a different story. Does he feel sorry for himself? His jaunty gait tells me otherwise.

Against all the odds, happily, he's proved us wrong. This survivor is still very much there, healthier than before and as frisky as ever. Those who don't know him can't even guess that he's as blind as a bat!

What Brownie had taught us without even trying was that we all have it in us to possess that higher wisdom which had guided him. What we need is a little retrospection, a bit more faith in ourselves and a whole lot more faith in Him.

Lovely Thoughts for Lovely People Just Like You


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