Animals smell fear. And children pick up the scent.
I try, as hard as I can, to not pass on my prejudices. And even when I let them slip, the father steps in and blocks them. ( After the elections she could name the parties because of all the discussion at home- Who is BJP, she asked- we dont like them, I said. The ever correct father glared at me and said, They are a party, and they also fight elections.....etcetc)
We took off for a couple of days into the Ghats for a break from the routine. And ofcourse, all breaks are taken with the child, not from the child, even though she pretty much sets the routine!
I was pleased to see that the child turned out to be a hardy walker in the hills. Loved the horses and trotted on them alone, much to the shock of her parents and the horsewalla.
On the first evening, the caretaker of the place we were staying in said, dont go off wandering, there are a couple of rabid dogs around. Not a good thing to say to me, I was attacked by my favourite cousin's favourite pet dog!( and not once!!!)
But childhood fears and traumas are not meant to rule my life.
So off we went.
And found a dog,
who fixed his gaze at me.
No wagging tail, no snarl, no growl, just a gaze fixed only at me.
He followed from a distance, would disappear when people passed us by, would reappear again when we were the lone walkers. I was jumpy, and that is an understatement. I had jumped out of my skin and was holding my 'limp with fear' self by her hand!
George insisted I stay cool. My stern self insisted I stay cool. And we continued on our walk.
The dog knew that I was terrified. Of all the things in the world that she could pick up, she picked this up " papa, i am scared, please lets go..."
But she did throw her head back at the winds.