Monday

Two years, lifetime, everything

Dear Juja

You know you died exactly two years back. I was not there but I knew. I had to go someplace and I knew when I would come back, you would nt be there.

Ten days before you died, you traveled on a train, your spirit vetoing your body, and I know the big-guy did it such that we could meet. These are exactly the kind of things that make you “believe”.

Nothing had changed. When you greeted me after long. It was just like it always is. In your eyes. I did not notice you could n’t move. I just knew we were saying “hello, I am so glad you are here.”. Then I did notice you could nt move. Mum was helping you out and you were looking pained at troubling her. Not pained, because you were in excruciating pain. But in pain because you thought you were troubling Ma for things you would do on your own otherwise. Mama still says she will owe you always.

And me? When I am alone, any long memory of you makes me very sad and quiet. The first two months after you were gone, I thought, I was, infact, not able to cope. I saw you in our regular haunts, by the grass, brushing past the bedspreads. I was hallucinating you were there. I did not know these things happened. My mind had surrendered to the wrenching pain in my gut. And that pain stayed. The deepest kind of pain, from the gut, and the one can make you cry so much you choke. Or make everything implode inside you, churn up your stomach and chest and intestines.

I did choke myself crying the day I heard you died. I used both hands to hold my stomach in, and put my back to the wall. And cried. Breathless and distraught, I felt I was exhausted. I kept telling myself you went away without eating. And that someone should give you something to eat up there. My head was spinning, my eyes felt cold and I just kept saying that. I held an old photograph of you, crushing it and extricating tears from the deepest reaches of my being. I did not know I could feel so much pointed pain. I did not know I loved you that much. These are exactly the kind of things that make you “believe.”

You were a dog. And somehow, I never noticed that. Besides being every bit the dog you were, you were extra sensational. You bit me more than you bit anyone else. No one was growled at more by you. And so many times, you stopped mid-bite. I don’t know if you guys could do that. But you did.

You loved everyone I loved, even if they took me away from you. You mildly snarled registering protest. And that was the last you would say on the subject. You did service to dignity.

When I was ill and cranky, you stood watch over me. You barked out to mom if you sensed I was uncomfortable. I could barely talk that one time. And I could not believe that you managed to fetch Mama. To this day, I wonder if I did tell you anything?

You so did not like Ma talking to me over you. Yet it was you who waited late into the evening for me to come back home. You waited upright and awake.

You stole things from my dresser. You left major teeth marks on them. You did not care that you were destroying property. You knew the exact hour of the day where you could come and bludgeon me with your head to take you out for a walk. Going out for a walk with you was like heaven hamburger. It was like removing the words agenda, purpose, objective, end from my life. It was like being in the doldrums, for a short while, by design.

If I raised my voice, it would ruffle you. I would at least tell you I need to be loud here. Somehow you were never convinced about there existing a sound basis for anyone screaming. You were just fretting when I was screaming. No explaining would do. Dogs don’t like their people screaming. Worry, anger, angst, grumpiness you could always handle. No screaming, we are dogs please.

You are so cool you could have knocked me down with a feather so many times. Your thank you was a tricky set of actions. Dig your nose into not-too-hard a surface and make sniff sounds. Not really sniff, but make the sniff sound. I remember that like my favorite teacher in kindergarten.

I thought I could never go through the gut-pulverizing, eye-freezing, insides-detonating experience again in my life, if I could help it. I could not make friends with a dog and see him/her die. Chances are if I keep a dog again, he/she would beat me to it again. My slam book entry under “greatest regret” had become “not being around when my dog died when I could.”

I know if I could help it, I would never go through that again. But I can’t help it. I erased my greatest regret slam book entry. There are no regrets. Your death is but small in the big, large, milky-way kind of time we had. It is but so small. You endured and guess what, I did too. In the weighing scale of things you can’t measure, you are an out and out 100 pound gorilla.

I will keep another dog. Goodbyes are not the end to anything. Today I know what I would give up if I was scared of goodbyes. I also know the more of you there are, the more fun we will have when I close my accounts here and join you somewhere at your rainbow bridge apartment.

Now all I need to do is live a life worthy of being called a dog’s life.






10 comments:

Anonymous said...

Beautiful. Brought tears to my eyes. They enrich our life in so many ways. I have lost a few dear friends too. I know how you feel.

Guncha said...

shit lalita ... ur amazing man ... beautifully written ... brought back memories of that ... brought back memories of how u sounded on the phone that day and how u were when i arrived ... and also brought back much older memories of when i lost my own best friend ... my Jeanie ... shit ... and yet you gave me hope ... I'd never thought of in terms that when I wind up my account here I'd be able to meet Jeanie again ... every time I see a black lab with a red collar and leash i look for her eyes ... but no other black lab in the world can ever have eyes like my Jeanie ... loved this one ...

Chandana said...

..see now you made me cry in the morning! I always thought nobody understood why I was so 'out of it' when my Snoopy died..and now I read this.
I too couldn't be there when he died and sometimes I wonder if he ever looked for me in his pain and wondered why I'd left him and gone...

Anonymous said...

A very touching blog.I totally understand how you feel.They are God's most loving creatures & for me mine is my son! can't imagine my life without him.Must be hard on you to lose such a darling friend.

Priyanka said...

Hi, I'm crying. I can feel the pain. I'm remembering how you used to talk about her during those days. I'm sure she's happy. If you believe in karma... she may be having a great time in some exotic place, somewhere in the world. Think about that and smile.
Really looking forward to meeting you and spending some time.

methodactor said...

Guncha: that was very big of you. I remember it. Thanks ya.

Chandana: I know. He probably did you know. But was at peace anyway. You know how they are.

Anonymous: Ya, they are son-daugther material. :-)

Priyanka: See you soon. Got tonnes to talk right. All this growing up we did in between.

Sameer said...

I grew up with a dog named Toro. A big great dane. We slept on the bed together. He took 90% of the bed, but i did not mind. My granny did not like him to sleep on the bed, and he knew that. When she got up in the middle of the night to go to the loo, he would jump off the bed before her feet slipped into her sandals. And when she was back on her bed, he was back on mine as well. He respected my granny, in his own doggy way. He left us about 14 years back and i could never look another dog in the eye. Your words have touched a deep cord somewhere - i think i am ready to bring another friend into my life. Thanks Lalita.

Phoenix said...

wow. what's that they say about it being better to have loved and lost, than never to have loved at all...pain..sublime.

methodactor said...

Sameer: Good luck

Phoenix: Thanks.Yes, inevitably everything will catch up with us. Dont want it to find me sitting. :). Keep visiting.

Natasha Das said...

We grew up with all kinds of animals around us - there was Don, the 'roadesian' pup, Tipu, the langur, Tiku, the mongoose, Mithu, the parrot.

I stayed away from Tipu as he never liked Winnie, the dog we had when he was there. But I loved my pets.

Then one fine day, I got married to a house where dogs were not allowed.

However, during my short visit to Lucknow soon after my marriage, little Jujuska Mohanty did bring many a smile to my face. He would always find a place to sleep on my saree as we watched movies all afternoon.

The next time I met Juju, she had grown up to be an elegant lady and I had graduated to being a mother. I was advised to keep my little baby away from 'the dog'. Juju was so understanding. She knew she could come and brush by me only when Sony was not on my lap.

Though Sony is scared of dogs, I am so glad Ahren loves them. Last afternoon, he kept asking me if we could bring in a puppy. I guess, I got to wait till he grows up and learns at least how to walk the dog. But I am sure I am going to have a dog at home some day.