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Raja the Taxi Walla by Fizzah Shah

Seven Bungalows taxi stand in Andheri (west) is known for 24 hours availability of taxies & friendly taxi drivers. Along with them is Raja taxiwalla, a big black & white furry dog-wearing cautious expressions roaming or sitting near the taxies. I don't know how & when this dog came in this area, but since last ten years I have always found him at that spot.

Once upon a time Raja was a ferocious dog running after vehicles, barking, fighting with other dogs and every time getting injured. I remember my timely trips to Raja for dressing his wounds. People were scared of him. Once a young boy from a nearby building, who used to pass on motorbike & whom Raja used to chase, got so much annoyed that he decided to kill Raja. He banged him with lathis, but some how Raja managed to escape from that fatal attack. It took many days for Raja to come out of that trauma & injuries. I met the boy to find out what was the reason of enmity between Raja & him. I found that the boy had a habit of raising the accelerator of his bike & making a big noise. Whenever he used to pass from Raja's territory, the sound upset Raja & perhaps made him think that another dog is entering into his territory. To protect his territory he used to bark & chase that boy and the motorcycle. I explained this situation to the boy. Initially he was adamant, and asked me as to why I can't explain this to Raja. I told him that Raja is not as wise as he is, and that we should always ignore the foolish. Finally he understood that he cannot debate with the dog & he stopped raising his accelerator. Raja stopped barking & chasing the boy, and now both of them are great pals.

Now Raja Taxiwalla is an old dog. He no more chases the vehicles but the vitality of guarding the taxies & his territory has not become less. All taxi drivers enjoy his company, they say, "Raja is a friend forever. He is very efficient 24 hours free guard for our taxies", they also add proudly "Yeh sari taxiyo ka malik Raja hi to hai". (Raja is the owner of all these taxis). Raja follows them when they go for their brunch in near by hotel. He gets a packet of biscuits from them. Many other people feed Raja. Though Raja is a stray dog he lives on the road but the harmony of relation with friendly humans has made him a pet for many. Raja is full time guard but in return he has won the hearts of all these taxi drivers who love him & treat him as their best friend.

By seeing Raja I keep on wondering, as to why our society can't accept these stray dogs & give them a chance to become loyal friends & free 24 hour guards for ever.

Lets give a thought to this idea!!

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