Madhan, a 26-year-old man living in Bengaluru, was part of a 16-member group that went on a pilgrimage to Sabarimala on foot last month. In an unfortunate turn of events, he passed away in a road accident. But, his friends say, god ensured they found someone who reminded them of Madhan – Bairavaa, the dog.
The story of how Madhan found Bairavaa, the connection they forged and how Bairavaa found Madhan’s friends after his death is a special one.
It all began on December 17, 2017, when a group of 41 people decided to go to Sabarimala from Bengaluru. While 16 chose make the 620 kilometre-long journey on foot, the others took a train to Kerala. The entire group was to meet at Sabarimala.
Madhan was part of the 16 doing the padhyatra. He and his group were walking on Hosur Road in Bengaluru when a street dog started following Madhan, who, in turn, became friendly with the dog. It was only a matter of time before the two were inseparable.
“He would feed the dog, and even give him water from his own palm. It was so evident that they had a beautiful connection,” says Rajkumar, Madhan’s friend and one of the 16 group members.
Madhan feeding water to Bairavaa from his hand
The dog soon won the group’s hearts and they christened him ‘Bairavaa’.
But Bairavaa and Madhan’s friendship was short-lived.
They were in Dindigul district in Tamil Nadu, on December 29, when a car rammed into Madhan, leaving him grievously injured. Five people from the group rushed him to hospital, while the others stayed back and took care of Bairavaa.
Rajkumar remembers the mongrel being upset, refusing both milk and water.
The next morning, the group learnt of Madhan’s death. That day, Bairavaa left the group and no one knew where the mongrel had gone.
So imagine their surprise when they spotted the dog in Sabarimala on January 5!
“We learned that Bairavaa trekked all the way to Sabarimala with another group and even got permission to do lord Ayyappa’s darshan!” Rajkumar recalls.
The dog attached itself to another group of pilgrims and walked all the way to the top of the hill. And because even the priest at the temple learned about Bairavaa’s journey, he insisted that the dog be left there.
When Bairavaa spotted Rajkumar and his group, he came bounding over to meet them. But because the priest had ordered to let the dog stay in the temple, they decided to leave without the dog.
However, they were in for another surprise. When they reached the Pampa bus stop, from where they planned to take a bus to Ernakulam, they found Bairavaa waiting there.
“We don’t know how he got there. The bus stop is a good 8-9 kilometres away from the temple,” says Rajkumar.
It was hard for the group to not get emotional after that. Just the previous year, they had all gone to Sabarimala and everyone could remember Madhan’s quiet presence with them.
“Bairavaa reminded us of Madhan,” Rajkumar says emotionally. “It was decided then – he was coming home with us.”
The group had to take special permission from the bus driver as well as the station master at the Ernakulam Railway Station to have the dog on board with them.
“We ended up buying 52 tickets, even though we were only 41 people. That was their condition for letting us take Bairavaa in the bus. But it wasn’t really a question for us. It’s what Madhan wanted too,” Rajkumar says simply.
Now, Bairavaa has been adopted by Murugan, who was part of the group and runs a courier company. Rajkumar says that since all of them live close by in Sivanchetti Gardens, they take care of Bairavaa together.
“We want to eventually introduce him to Madhan’s parents. They are grieving for their son now. Perhaps later, Bhairava can provide them some comfort, like he did to us,” Rajkumar says.