Angel departed…

22 Sep
It was a time when life meant simple joys and fun. Introduced newly to the big bad world, it was a time when I had just joined college. Ever wary to make new freinds, i was always on my guard to give anybody an access to my private life. It had always been a strict: ‘Trespassers will be shot’ for anyone who dared coming anywhere close to my private den.
She must have been something, if I had decided to take her for my friend. It was Salma, a gawky looking, average IQed girl, with hairy arms, which was hard to miss. She  was not a girl who welcomed strangers with a warm hug either. What was unmissable was the fact that, even she was just as or more wary about unknown people as I was. This- I liked.
We bonded quickly, unusually quickly. I am still kind of surprised about how soon we became best friends. We enjoyed our times together at college. We had our share of misunderstandings, weird times together and other stuffs that normal college goers are supposed to experience. She used to come over to my place and we used to experiment with our culinary skills. Somehow, she used to like the noodles I prepared. It still surprises me now, cos I can never get my husband to say the same. Be it about my noodles or any other dish for that matter. Anyways, let’s cut to flash back again, when things are supposed to be visualised in either black & white or sepia.  I have always belonged to the technicolor era, so i suppose that makes me eligible for flash backs to be in the same color too. This choice, i leave it to you.
It was during one of those careless & carefree walks back from college (which was always half or quarter attended), when we stumbled upon an ill and a feeble looking pup. Being an animal lover from the time I can recollect, i knew i could not afford to ignore it. I looked around, making sure that we weren’t in for any surprise attack from its mother.I petted the little one on its head, as Salma looked on, unaffected by the whole scene. The tiny one was so taken in to me, that it decided it was best to follow me. I tried to lure it away, so it would remain in the place where it belonged. But it was as determined as ever. Since we weren’t far from my home either, i decided not to send the pup away too. This pup, Dinky, as christened by another ‘dog lover’ aunty in our gully (I wasn’t very happy over the choice of name, ‘cos i felt it could have been something better, more funkier), decided to make our street, it’s abode. Not that anyone complained about it. She, in fact, was everybody’s darling, a sweetheart with the kids especially. She was like this foster mother to all the kids in our street. Her warmth actually made the temperature in our street go up a few degrees. Jokes aside, but that was how she was. A real treat to be around with.

Love- in its purest form

Both Salma & myself became very close to Dinky. Salma who always very intimidated and wary around dogs, soon found herself shedding all her inhibitions. She learnt how to pet her, call her and treat her. Salma, I knew, had now taken her first step towards understanding bliss.
Dinky used follow us around, no matter where we went. She was like the little lamb that Mary had. Only, here, there were two Marys. Time flew past, like lightening on a typical rainy day. Dinky grew from a tiny, helpless pup to a good looking teenager, i mean, whatever that age is, according to ‘Dog age’. Many dogs from our neighboring streets found themselves hopelessly in love with our little miss sunshine. She paid no attention to all her longing suitors as she followed us around, much to their disappointment of course!
Dinky was there by us no matter what time in the day it was. She patiently waited by us as we waited for our bus to drop us off at our college. We never paused to acknowledge her for keeping us company, as we were too engrossed in chatting with each other on all the silly stuffs about college and the rumors that do round in it. There were times when we were at an all time low in our personal lives, and we found solace in Dinky. She was there to listen, to understand, to comfort.
Salma was heart broken when her boyfriend cheated on her. She narrated how she felt bout it to me, and Dinky who sitting with us then, seemed to understand all that Salma was telling. Dinky, who used to constantly & sometimes forcibly, make us play around with her, by letting out short ‘fun yelps’ and performing some kind of ceremonial ‘let’s play’ dance in front us; that day preferred to keep calm, as if in pain ‘cos her loved ones were in too. Fun was surely the last thing on her mind, or rather did not even feature in her mind that day. Salma subconsciously decided to sit on the floor in order to make herself more comfortable, while going on bout her painful experience in love. Dinky who was on the floor feigning slumber as she heard us, walked up from her place to Salma, and licked her hand. She looked at her for one long moment as if to say ‘ I understand how you’re feeling honey’ and then put her head into Salma’s lap and let it remain there. Salma did indeed feel comforted by Dinky’s loving gesture. She quoted again, what was already quoted by I don’t know who- ‘ the more i understand men, the more i love my dogs’  One look from her chocolate brown eyes, and it was enough to make things appear better. Her eyes used to communicate stuffs that were beyond our comprehension then. She was our pillar of strength. She was our best friend. She understood, loved and cared for us like nobody ever could. Under her love & care, Salma’s broken heart was nursed back to the best of its health. There were no scars of any breakage or damage anywhere to her heart.
All the three of us shared a very warm bond. Dinky saw us grow from happy -go- lucky teenagers to marriable women. It was Salma to get married first. No sooner did she get married, she flew away to UAE. Her visits to India were very minimal. She now has a family of her own and a kid about who’s welfare she’s always engrossed & pre occupied about. We exchange occasional pleasantries online. Our phone calls over which our dads once used to fret & worry over, thinking they might have to sell off their assets to pay the telephone bills, are now limited to a call per few months or half yearly. It was my turn next to get married. And my marriage meant moving out of my street, to make my husband’s home my new abode. And moving out from my parent’s home meant, moving away from my beloveds and in this list featured Dinky too. Moving away from my parents & sis dint hurt me much, as they knew & understood that this was the way of the world. They knew I’d be far, in terms of distance, but not really ‘far’ from them…
But Dinky wouldn’t know where I’d gone, why she got to see so little of me suddenly or sometimes even very occasionally. Her troubled mind began troubling her body too. She was not a young adult that she was anymore, she was nearing the call of the dust. It pained me that I was not there for her, by her, when she needed me the most. When her health was not as good as it used be, when she was down on her energy levels, when she found it difficult to stand up on her age-worn legs. I could see the depression & sadness in her eyes, the pain in her eyes caused by this sudden separation, distance between us.
But, life had to go on and it went on for all three of us.
Whenever, I visited my mom’s place, I could easily see her health in deterioration. I could see her ears and eyes were failing her. There was a time when she’d know I was close to home, even though I was many streets away from home. But now, it took her several minutes to realise I had come visiting, that i was only a few footsteps away from her. It pained me when i would call out to her & she would not hear me. I could see her continue to gaze into nothing even as i called out to her, I could see that her hearing was now failing her, her senses were now gradually deserting her… Still, after she’d realise it was me, her reception would be as warm as it always used to be. It only used to be a little more passionate than before, for she would vent out all the unshown love for me, that was suppressed inside her for a long time.
That day, ranks in the list of my top most saddening days. I had visited my mom’s place. We chatted for a long time and it was a happy ‘chat together’ time that we had. I was about to leave from there when I received a call from that dog loving aunty who had christened Dinky. As I was about to leave, I decided to take that call later. My mom, curious as ever, wanted to know who’s call I had just avoided. When she learnt who the caller was, it reminded her to inform me about something. Something that would tremble the ground beneath my feet, something that would send my head reeling at an unknown/unheard of  speed. She told me that Dinky had passed away a fortninght ago… Now I knew, why my street had felt colder than usual. It was because, the warmth in it was gone. Gone forever.
After hearing to that news, I didn’t know how I reached my hubby’s car that was waiting by the corner of my street. I had difficulty in seeing clearly. I realised my eyes were filled with tears. I could not think of anything but for Dinky, her adorable face, her eyes that spoke ten thousand words & all of them decipherable! her unending happy tail wags on seeing me; her warm, wet licks that made you feel so wanted, so loved, so cared for; her angry, protective growls & snarls when she noticed any stranger approach me (i.e stranger to her)… These now, were only memories. Memories, that charred your heart, memories that stabbed your charred heart… She was gone. She was alone, when she left for her heavenly journey. Her friends who were the center of her universe, were not with her when she died. She died a lonely death. An irony. The one who never made us feel lonely even for a second, died all alone, with no one to comfort her troubled thoughts. I’d bet my heart & soul, that I would have been the last thought in her mind before her heart froze… I turned around to look at the street I was walking away from, the memories I was walking away from. I could see Dinky in my mind, in her hey days, galloping her way to reach me as fast as she could, as if she was participating in an Olympic sprint that would fetch her multiple golds if she won… She did win. She won the race, the race to my heart, she won my heart. She’d be in there forever, her memories locked up and its keys thrown off into outer space. She had made me feel special, made my life worth living, she was my confidential diary. Now she had left us all, to find peace. I can never repay in this life, for all that she was to me. My heart ached as I boarded my husband’s waiting car. He looked at me, concerned, for my face had clearly given away what my heart felt… I told him the reason for my sadness. After much failed attempts at comforting me, he said I was being too emotional & sentimental, that I was tooo attached to one dog. I did not feel bad for what he said, because I knew nobody could understand a dog’s love, unless they experienced it first hand. If not, then, to them, a dog is just an animal that bares its canine teeth at the drop of a hat or an animal that has no control over its wagging tail!
That night, I dreamt of Dinky. In my dream, it was a starry night & she sat besides me. She was that young, bubbly Dinky, nudging me with her nose to play with her, she pushed me down to the ground with her weight & licked my face warm…When I quickly woke up from my dream, I actually felt my cheeks wet and warm!! I don’t know if was the hot & humid Asian weather or Dinky. You know what I’d prefer to believe. If you don’t, then go get yourself a dog, or preferably adopt one of those tiny, button eyed pups that you easily find on the streets. You’d not only be saving their lives from prospective road accidents but, you’d also be saving your own soul too…
‘If there are no dogs in Heaven, then when I die, I want to go where they went…’
Keep a secret: Salma doesn’t know that Dinky passed away. I’ve saved her a heart ache, I’ve kept this to myself. She’d find it hard to digest this fact, as she already owes her one big one for repairing her broken heart once before…
(Dinky, Jimmy, Drumpy, Kolanji & other darlings: This one was for you all…)

Photo courtesy: Achala Paani

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27 Responses to “Angel departed…”

  1. dogdaz September 23, 2012 at 2:52 am #

    Great story. I absolutely am going where my zoo is in the other world, wherever that may be. :-)

    • Teju September 23, 2012 at 6:18 am #

      Thank you for the appreciation, I’m glad you liked it! :)

  2. Where God Takes Me September 23, 2012 at 10:04 am #

    Dear Teju,
    This left me sniffling:( I’m sorry for your loss. What a beautiful friendship:) Dogs understand the true meaning of love far more than many people. They are such extraordinary friends. My husband and I have two dogs that could not be more perfect. I dread the day that we will lose them and pray that the Lord will let us all be together again in the afterlife…it’s something only a dog lover can understand. Hugs, Vivian

    • Teju September 23, 2012 at 11:13 am #

      Very true, the very thought that one day, these wonderful furred friends will no longer be around me, gives me goosebumps & instantly brings tears to my eyes! No words can ever completely express the pain a pet parent would undergo, on losing their loved one. The purest form of love is what a dog (& god) can give…
      Love & hugs to you too :)

  3. Miro September 24, 2012 at 12:36 am #

    Dog’s lives are too short. Their only fault. :)

    • Teju September 24, 2012 at 5:43 am #

      Very true! :(
      Thanks for stopping by :)

  4. Chancy and Mumsy September 24, 2012 at 6:43 pm #

    Oh, my goodness!!! I am glad I can type without looking at the keys on the keyboard as my eyes are full of tears. I am so sorry about the loss of your precious Dinky. I fully understand the love between you. Prayers and hugs for you and Chancy sends nose kisses. Thank you for stopping by Chancy’s blog and for leaving such kind words.

    • Teju September 24, 2012 at 8:49 pm #

      Thank you so much for the prayers & hugs, trust me, it meant a LOT to me. True, words can never fully express the pain a pet parent goes through on losing their beloved. Thank you for the kind words & thanks Chancy buddy, for the lovely nose kisses, hugs to both of you… :)

  5. Photographs by Peter Knight September 24, 2012 at 6:58 pm #

    Teju what a lovely story! I found it very moving and it reminded me of my own pets from the past! Its very true what you say, animals will love their friends unconditionally. Its a terrible crime when they are mistreated by humans who take advantage of their trusting nature – as a race, we should show a lot more compassion!
    I was in touch years ago with some people working for ‘PETA India’, their work was an uphill struggle (as it is all over the world) but I really hope the situation improves as we develop as a human race!
    Anyway, your story has prompted me to take some time to think about one of my most beloved friends from the past, Tosca the cat. She was a constant friend of mine from my birth until I was fifteen when she died of old age.

    • Teju September 24, 2012 at 9:08 pm #

      Thank you Peter. I’ve lost many animal friends and I could somehow, never overcome their losses, ‘cos I knew each one so personally. Through Dinky, this was a dedication to all of them, all the dogs, birds that i lost. If only people had hearts like dogs, the world would have been such a wonderful place to be living in. But I still see a ray of hope, for I feel, with each new generation, people are getting more & more civilized. There was a time when human sacrifices prevailed, but not anymore. Soon there will come a day when animal abusers will be seen no differently than a human or a child abusers ( there isn’t any great difference between the two of them, ‘cos in both the cases, an innocent life has been tormented).

      Here’s a quote worth a mention:
      Truly man is the king of beasts, for his brutality exceeds theirs. We live by the death of others: we are burial places! I have from an early age abjured the use of meat, and the time will come when men such as I will look on the murder of animals as they now look on the murder of men. ~ Leonardo Da Vinci

      Thanks again Peter for stopping by, it’s an honor to have you around here :)

  6. Justin September 25, 2012 at 6:09 pm #

    Intially, I thought this was about you and Salma, your friendship. And then came Dinky and the bond you shared.
    Feeling the loss too..

    • Teju September 25, 2012 at 6:36 pm #

      True Justin, you are justified. Dinky features in here, ‘cos she was a part of our friendship, our biding force…

  7. mrubru September 25, 2012 at 6:18 pm #

    You are right, nobody can understand a dog’s love unless they experienced it firsthand. But, this story brought tears to my eyes. And, somehow, I understood the love through your words…
    Touching story.. :)

    • Teju September 25, 2012 at 6:22 pm #

      Thank you so much for the appreciation Mrunalini, means a lot! :)

  8. Jeanne Webster September 25, 2012 at 10:26 pm #

    Your Dinky and my Jake & Molly brought us together. Thank you for your gracious comment about us losing Molly last night. It is with joy and wonder I see love for animals in your writings and spirit. God’s blessings. I will enjoy your other posts in time. Welcome to my blog and love your presence anytime. Shalom

    • Teju September 25, 2012 at 10:36 pm #

      True Jeanne, I become instant friends with another animal lover actually. Thank you for the kind words of appreciation. I’ll surely lurk around your blog & would love to see you back soon too :)

  9. Sumithra Sriram October 1, 2012 at 6:46 pm #

    Im really sorry for your loss… Though I have never had a dog, I have always wanted to have one, and one of the main reasons I am hesitant is the prospect of losing him… This is a beautifully written piece… Touched a cord within!! :(

    Hugs,
    Sumithra.

    • Teju October 1, 2012 at 7:36 pm #

      You are indeed right dear Sumithra, losing a pet is akin to losing a family member and its every pet parent’s nightmare! But then again, one cannot really understand what ‘love’ is all about, unless he/she experiences the love of a dog first hand. ‘Love’ would then acquire a whole new & a higher meaning. I assure you, that your definition of love will never be the same again…

      Love & hugs,

      Teju :)

  10. Sarin October 12, 2012 at 3:17 pm #

    Such a touching story, I’m really sorry for your loss. Dinky seemed like that one loyal dog, who has a tendency to be loved around by the people. Great story. She’ll be happy wherever she is! :)

    • Teju October 12, 2012 at 5:49 pm #

      Hey Sarin, oh yes Dinky sure was, just as all dogs and I really miss her terribly! Thank you for the sweet wishes dear, I really hope she’s happy wherever she is & i believe all pets turn our guardian angels… :)

      • Sarin October 13, 2012 at 8:05 pm #

        Exactly my point! :)

  11. jayksingh99 October 25, 2012 at 8:27 pm #

    Wow, lovely post tejaswini. :)
    Dogs do have their own their charm and way of showing their love for their masters. In fact, the bonding moves from one of master-slave to one of friendship, sharing your day and all your emotions.
    This was a good read. :)
    Keep posting

    Regards

    Jay

    http://road-to-sanitarium.blogspot.in/

  12. Teju October 26, 2012 at 8:31 am #

    Thanks Jay and i totally agree with you on that part about ‘friendship’! :)
    Thanks for stopping by. keep coming.

  13. mj January 23, 2013 at 10:12 am #

    Oh, that’s a sweet sad story. Journey of life… hope you have another Dinky :)

    • Teju January 23, 2013 at 5:36 pm #

      Oh I do, lots of them! Each one very unique, different from the other & with striking individuality… :) really glad that you could stop by, dear mj.

  14. WordsFallFromMyEyes December 1, 2013 at 11:20 am #

    How gorgeous, that pup. You described its life so beautifully. I could so imagine you petting it – but then ha! can’t get rid of it :) Oh, beautiful little soul, Dinky.

    • Teju December 4, 2013 at 10:21 pm #

      Thank you, dear friend.

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