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Showing posts from December, 2020

What We Need: Animals and Touch in Lockdown

  "The longer we are denied what we took for granted, the more intensely we yearn for it." ( Published in Lit Hub and Indian Quarterly ) At the hour when, in pandemic times, sleep tends to thin or spin into nightmares, I felt one of my dogs climb into my bed last night. She placed herself against me so that she found the curve of my neck where she knows she can rest her head. This dog has trained me for five years, and not for nothing: although I was half-asleep, my hand reached out as if it had a life independent of my drowsiness, and my fingers began to run through her fur. With each movement of my fingers, her breathing deepened. So did mine. The nightmares receded, and we fell asleep together. Not long ago, we used to hug, kiss, stroke. We touched the feet of the elderly to show respect. They blessed us by resting their hands on our heads. Today, scenes in films that show people flying into each other’s arms at airports or sharing the same spoon at a cafĂ© bring about a