Surya

They tell me her name is Surya. It means “sun” in Hindi. At first I didn’t understand why they would take the time to name such a scruffy creature after the brightest star in our galaxy, but it didn’t take long for me to learn that the guards were spot on when they named her. Most mornings the sun is barely recognizable behind a veil of smog and haze. But Surya, she brings a brightness to my morning that is so much warmer than the Mumbai sun.

Surya is a street dog. She lives with a small pack of pups on the street right outside of school. The first few months of school I didn’t pay the dogs much attention. They keep to themselves, mostly. They lazily watch our vans arrive in the morning, and placidly watch the vans depart in the afternoon. All of them but Surya. When she spots the white vans a block away, she sprints to meet us, tail wagging, eyes bright, smile on her face. It’s the best way to start the day.

A few weeks ago, when I wasn’t feeling well, I decided to bring my leftovers for Surya. What started as a once-in-a-while thing has now turned into an every-day thing. I’d like to think that she waits for me because she somehow knows I love her, and that I look forward to seeing her everyday. But I’m smart enough to know it’s probably the food. It doesn’t matter though. I will continue to bring her food and she will continue to bring me warmth. It’s a fair trade, although I contend I get the better end of the deal.

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