The masses were in mourning. Men howled, women pulled at their hair, bronze horns with dragon faces wailed mournfully. I could feel the sweat on my forehead.
I joined a line of people before the banyan, uncertain what I would see. Eventually I reached the front of the queue.
Under the Banyan tree sat a wooden crib surrounded by chanting priests. In it lay a Jack Russell terrier I recognised as Pieshop, my childhood pet. Pieshop lay on his back, his lower half wrapped in blankets. He seemed weak, eyes hooded, dying.
'Pieshop,' I said. 'It's me, Jim.'
His eyes widened and he smiled. He offered a shaking paw and I took it.
'Jim,' he said. 'Thank you for coming here, friend. Well I remember our childhoods, playing under the sun.'
'You were a happy dog,' I said. 'Weren't you a happy dog?'
He smiled. 'Many laughed at my ways, my ignorance, forever chasing balls and rolling in river mud. But I knew not misery, not the pain of false ambitions, jealousy or hate. Tell, me...' and he looked deep in my eyes with his weakening vision. '...in that moment just before death, in the shadow's embrace, will television celebrity and novelist Katie Price be able to say likewise?'
I awoke. The question lingers still...