They called her the chapati lady! She walked in the park, and as she strolled along, she threw warm, tender chapatis to the stray dogs who waited for her each morning. The strays loved her. They waited for her and for the mouthfuls of love they fed on each morning. On her part she enjoyed the gratitude she saw in the eyes of the poor four-legged creatures as she walked around the park each morning.

But this morning was different. She’d woken up, knowing her husband was cheating on her.

She heard the door bang as he left for work, she knew that after his banking hours would be the overtime he spent with the other woman, then weary and tired he would return after his philandering sojourn.

She took the chapatis from the oven where she had made them soft and walked to the beginning of the road and crossed the junction and reached the park and as usual, she threw the warm, tender chapatis to the stray dogs who waited for her each morning. There were seven of them, and she’d given all of them names; the one with a short tail, she called, ‘Eyes’ because she believed he could see into her soul.

A little farther she saw ‘Salute’; strange name for a dog, but his ears were always in a state of salute and she’d nicknamed him so, and called out to him softly as she passed by and threw his chapati, Salute today seemed to be looking at her curiously, so also Eyes when she had entered the park.

She wondered if they could read the agony in her heart. They acted as if they could.

Her husband came back early that evening. She was surprised. He seemed irritable. He came back early the next evening, still irritable. 

At the park, Eyes looked up at her and again didn’t pounce on his chapati, but stared at her, till she put her eyes down and walked on.  Her husband came home early again. It had been a week of him coming home straight from work. “No more overtime?” she asked softly.

He looked at her, “Damn dogs!” he said then laughed.

“Dogs?” she asked, alarmed. “What dogs?”

“Those dogs near the park, seven of them, every time I return late, they chase me. This has been happening the last one week! But they leave me alone when I come early! One of them with straight ears, the other with eyes that slice into you! And they have five others behind them. I’m sure they’ll finish me off if I ever come home after dark!”

She smiled as she threw the chapatis at the dogs. Eyes wolfed down his while Salute nibbled at his chapati. Both wagging their tails as they saw her smile..!

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