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  • Writer's pictureAishwariyaa Ramakanthan

An Angel on a Bicycle

A pit bull that leaped out from the dark depths of a parked truck through an open window, scared the daylights out of me a couple of days ago, right here in San Jose, California. Thankfully, it was leashed, and my face was saved. I was shaken, and now take another route for my walk. But the incident also jolted an unforgettable experience that I had more than fifty years ago in Petaling Jaya in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, when four Dobermans found their way out of their home, and surrounded me. We lived a short walk away from my grandparents’ home, and so going across to their place at least once a day for no reason at all was entertainment for me as a five or six year old.

The owner of the dogs lived right at the corner, just before the street turned to the walk up to my grandparents'. Most of the time, you could hear the dogs barking or growling at passers-by from behind a wall but you couldn’t see them, because they were kept safely locked behind a gate. But on one of those mornings when I was skipping along to one of my visits, the dogs that had somehow found their freedom, probably thought much to their delight that they also saw “lunch” skipping along. Before I knew what was happening, I was surrounded by the dogs, all taller than me, circling and growling menacingly. The unforgettable sight, literally at eye level for me, was that of their salivating mouths and gnashing teeth. Simply put, I was so petrified that I just stood there with my own mouth open, screaming soundlessly. Since it was mid-morning, there was no one around, and the owner was nowhere to be seen.

A man on a bicycle had just whizzed past, and I had sort of noticed him earlier as I was making my way. He would have probably gone past me for about hundred yards, and I am not sure if something struck him, or if I finally managed to find my voice and actually scream. Whatever it was, he came riding back, and chased those dogs away from me with his bicycle. They were gnashing their teeth and snapping at his legs, but he just kept going undaunted, while I was rooted to the ground. And, it was at that point that the owner dashed out, and dragged his dogs into his home, apologizing to me, and to the man. The man then whizzed away again, much like an angel, just on a bicycle.

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