Today we’re in Agra. This means our tour of India is nearing an end. We went to see a big white tomb today. It was impressive.
My favourite part was petting a dog on the way out. India is full of street dogs. They’re usually either very timid or friendly, but I have yet to see one that’s aggressive to people. At night it’s common to hear dog fights and in the daytime it’s very common to see them sleeping in the sun: on roads, rooftops, mountain tops, and in temples. They almost all of one breed, the Indian pariah, which looks a like a small lab crossed with a dingo. Skinny, and often with fight scars. It’s a little hard to see the ones in rough shape, and very hard not to pet them all. The one at the Taj bounded over to say hi and the urge to pet him won out. He wanted to play all dog’s favourite - the hand biting game. I wanted to play too, but the urge to avoid rabies won there. This guy had found a friend though and wasn’t taking any hints. He followed me around and kept jumping up going for my hands. Luckily a helpful local lady came to help with a big threatening purse swing. He took that hint, sadly.
On the topic of animals, India is a curious mix of respect for animals and also a dispassionate live and let live attitude. There are many semi-domesticated street animals co-existing with people. There are temples devoted to well-fed rats and monkeys. There are goats and pigs roaming the streets at large. There are cows standing in the middle of busy roads, with vehicles driving around them. Then there are cows eating plastic garbage and cardboard, which are so malnourished you clearly see the outline of their pelvis and ribs. There are dogs that are well fed, and there are also dogs that are starving. It seems to be the same for people too.