I woke up with a jolt to the blaring alarm. It was 6 am on a Sunday, and the entire town was enveloped in the arms of sweet slumber. Rheumy-eyed and stumbling in the dark, I put on my running shoes and started on the short path from my house to the nearby park. It was a beautiful morning. The first rays of the sun caressed the winter sky, making it blush with hues of pink. I walked amidst chirping birds, humming a tune to the serene silence, as if in solidarity with them, for there was not a single soul in sight.
However, I had to stop short in my stride, for a pack of scrawny street dogs was standing in front of me. A pack of four bared their teeth and stared at me menacingly. I went numb. Blood rushed to my temples; my mind played a reel of faded memory. Blood. There was blood. I was four. Mother had sent me to offer prasad at the nearby temple. As I veered into the temple alley, two dogs pounced on me. They tore at my hand and when I wouldn’t let go, they stood at my pigmy chest, clawing at my face; my screams were obliviated by their mad barking. Stitches. Pain. Trauma. It all returned. My feet remained frozen in fear, but my mind raced.
To keep calm, I tried making light of the situation. I could not walk toward the dogs because it would mean trespassing on enemy territory. Neither could I step back because I had been told to never do that as a child. To outrun the dogs was out of the question, for evolution had ensured that as a Homosapien, I was designed to be slower than my four-legged friends.
Before I could decide on my course of action, one of the dogs, a pitiful fellow, his fur sticking out in patches, let out a threatening growl. Seized by panic, I made the elementary mistake of stepping back. It was a fight or flight moment, and being the coward I am, I chose flight.
And then the chase began.
The dogs were hot on my tail like I was a piece of chicken bone. We circled the boundary outside the park, the dogs closing on me at every turn. Drenched in sweat from head to toe, my breath coming in short puffs, my heartbeat so fast that I thought it would explode.
“Help! Please help !” I hollered with all the energy I could muster.
But my feeble cries were drowned in the howling of the dogs. My energy reserves emptied; I felt befuddled. As my legs, devoid of all strength, slowed down, I could sense a black pariah close behind me, his saliva dripping on the back of my shoes. It sank its teeth in my pants, missing the flesh by a hair’s breadth. Frantically kicking the air, I disentangled my leg from the pariah’s grip and sprinted for my life.
That day I ran like I was Usain Bolt incarnate, and the world was my race track. My reflexes, blunted by disuse after years of being a couch potato, slowly awoke from their slumber. Adding insult to injury, my bladder, aloof to the distress my legs were in, needed to be evacuated urgently.
I had reached my wit’s end when I saw the park’s security guard walking toward me! I yelped at the welcome sight, but my feet faltered; I stumbled across a rock lying in the middle of the road. Going in for the kill, the black pariah, which seemed like the pack leader, bit me on the butt. I could feel pain and fear engulfing me, like familiar old friends, but I fought back.
The security guard came over and shooed the dogs away with his staff.
“Are you okay?” he asked
“Uh-huh, thank you,” I mumbled, stifling a sob.
“Next time, just throw rocks at them, okay? Dogs are afraid of that.”
“Yes,” I nodded as I blinked back tears.
I had fallen face down on the hard concrete, landing with severe scratches on my palms. I winced in pain, could barely feel my legs and was utterly disoriented.
The walk of shame toward home was painful, to say the least. But the universe had more humiliation in store for me. As I hobbled home, blind in my grief, I stepped in dog poop. Nevertheless, a zillion baths, visits to the doctor’s, and five injections later, I was fine.
They say what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. That incident made my conviction to sleep through my mornings only stronger and my fear of dogs irrevocable.
Author’s notes : Change of emotion : Fear—> Humor (some scatological featuring dog poop —> Disgust, Humiliation, Shame Purpose of flashback : Justifying the fear of dogs, Beginning- ending: circling back. Essential elements of a narrative : Exposition (setting), Rising Action (build up of tension), Climax (is there a hurdle faced by the character?), Falling Action, Resolution (the ending) More elements: 2 -3 Characters’ Flashbacks Dialogues Literary Devices, use of punctuation Change of Emotions Story plot What is narrative? A narrated story with a plot. The plot escalates into a climax, there is a conflict which resolves itself and the story ends. Some generic rules for narrative Writing: 1. Include a short flashback. So the chronology is present, flashack and bac to present. 2. Lenght varies from 800-1000 words. It is usually written in the first person.