Mid-day in Rishikesh :having crossed the creaking Ram Jhoola over-run with two-wheelers, cows ,monkeys and pedestrians , I wended down towards the inviting green waters. The round rocks strewn on the white sands of the Ganga made a perfect perch and I gratefully dipped my feet into the chilled green waters.
Only a few foolish tourists like us were around at this hour. There was a lone firang Yogi doing some sort of fusion tai-chi cum yoga on a tilting rock in the middle of the waters. He seemed delighted at having camera wielding audience and made his movements elaborate and theatrical for our Nikons . It was a time for peace and siestas otherwise .
Soon a scrawny calf ambled down to the river followed by a panting white bitch .As we are a family of animal Magnets, both decided to check us out for a pat and eats : The dip-drink- pat routine done ,we saw that by a secret morse code that only animals have, they had hailed a coterie of like minded dogs.Scrawny ones , brawny ones and majestic ones . And all of them wanted a good soak , some love and lots of play ! No matter the blazing sands : they had company, they had a loving audience and they had the great River to chill in !
How they sprinted and chased each other on the near empty beach! -having rough and ready conversations; taking turns to be the predator and the prey : white sand flying all around:
They splashed full speed into and out of the water .Crouching low to stalk , jumping and pouncing ! They bowed, they spinned . They flipped on the sand and they made elaborate biting shows ! I just can not explain what complete joy those ten odd minutes were .
We humans often get caught in the business of being grown up and forget , or willfully omit play and clowning from our lives .When we play, we do so for complicated competitive and egoistical reasons. But watching Dogs play always puts me in touch with the core principle of play : Pleasure : Ecstasy of moving in creaturely ways and forgetting all but that moment :
That's why I keep a folder called Blues on my PC . Besides having funny , quirky quotes and pictures it contains an overwhelming number of video-links of dogs playing and clowning around , sent to me by other dog lovers in a google group or shared by friends. None of them has ever failed in making me smile .Of course doing the actual rough and tumble with a bunch of dogs cures me of all shadows of blues :D
Do you know that people and dogs are species that continue to play in adulthood ? Though this playfulness is apparently purposeless , it helps them form bonds, be cooperative and find pleasure ?One sign of ageing in man and dog is a reluctance to indulge in play. Lemme go out and find Leo : my play date :)