Reflections

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By:- rANJEETA nATH gHAI

I must have been in class V if my memory doesn’t fail me and they were rich…. Very rich, rich in comparison to us…. not in terms of money but because they had ‘Sherry’ a black Pomeranian dog. Whenever we used to visit their place in the evening I would come back home very elated at having spent an entire evening with ‘Sherry’, but with a heavy heart wishing, even I had a dog of my own. I had grown up hearing stories of ‘Mandy’ (my father’s black Labrador, which he had when he was posted in NEFA (NORTH EAST FRONTIER AGENCY) today’s Arunachal Pradesh.) and seeing her black & white photographs in my father’s album. Oh..!! How much I longed to have one of my own, my very own buddy….

Good news

It happened one evening. Dad came back home from the office and was having his tea when he got a phone call, which was followed by very guarded discussions.  After much deliberation, they broke the news to us that we were invited to dinner and that if I and my sis promised to take the full responsibility of grooming a pet then we could have a pup for our own….!!! It was a dream come true to us and we were ready to accompany our parents to the ‘Puri’ family’s house. It had so happened that ‘Sherry’, had got crossed with a street dog and it was a spoilt litter so, they were giving away the pups to willing families who wanted to adopt them…. For me, it was like I had hit a jackpot….!!! There they were 11days old and so sweet and all scrambling over one another in a cardboard box….and we all decided to have the little brown fur ball which was the most active and the most naughtiest….

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Silky Comes Home

She just couldn’t and wouldn’t stay in one place. She was so naughty even without eyes having opened. Silky would drag all the woollens in one corner of her box climb up and scamper out for her toiletries and then would start whimpering because she would be feeling cold. One morning I woke up to a storm in the house. Silky was nowhere to be found…!!! Mum and dad had searched high and low, every nook and corner of the house but she was nowhere to be found…. Where did she go..!?! Oh, no…!! She must have crawled out of the door and become a meal of the eagles (those days eagles were a common sight)..!! With tears rolling down our cheeks and heartbroken we clambered into the house and started getting ready for school. Never in my life had I thought of losing my only and only pet in such an unceremonious manner. I was shattered and in my own world when I heard my sister scream…..there was something inside her shoe and it was not her pair of socks as she was wearing them !! Scared we chucked the shoe aside and lo & behold, who tumbles out is our little silky…..!!! She must have crawled out of her bed and then got into the shoe for comfort and warmth….! We had also learnt our lesson… we put up a smaller tub for her to crawl back inside when she wanted to. Another one such incident was the day ‘Silky’ opened her eyes. Apu my sis was so elated that she tossed silky in the air excitedly and could not catch her…and she fell to the ground with a nasty thud whining painfully…!! I don’t need to say what happened with my sis… she was rewarded suitably by my mother. From that day onwards till she died, Silky never trusted my Apu with her life again.

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 A Perfect Companion & A Guardian Angel

Since Silky I have had many furry buddies but she was a champion… be it playfulness, being a guard dog or naughtiness and was extremely intelligent and sensitive…. Thrice she saved our house from being burgled. Though she was a mixed breed and a small dog, but her bark was so dynamic that the visitor on the other side of our main door used to freeze in terror… thinking it to be a large ferocious dog… with her around we always felt safe… even from mouse….!!! Who she used to hunt down mercilessly and the house was rat free always… I remember when my dad was extremely sick and had suffered from a medicine reaction… we had to call the doctor in an emergency at home. The same ferocious silky didn’t let out a single bark when the doctor arrived to see papa. She only let out a deep growl of warning from near my father’s feet to the doctor when he started preparing to take and ECG. But immediately calmed down when my mother told her that it’s ok. She constantly stood by my father’s side with a watchful eye on the doctor. Not once did she attack of make it difficult for us. She displayed the same behaviour when I returned from the hospital after my delivery…. We were not sure how she would react to my baby in the house as she had never taken very kindly to small babies of the guests who came to our house. But she just came up smelt her and me and backed off allowing me to take my first born to my room. She never liked papa coming and cuddling my daughter… she always used to sit outside the room and bark till papa surrendered and went out to her. But on the contrary whenever I used to go down to have my lunch or dinner (my mother has a duplex flat), Silky would be running up in the opposite direction and would lie down, under the bed where my daughter ‘Rishika’ was placed, and would bark and alert us if she would start crying and the moment we arrived she would go and lie down outside the room… she was surprisingly extremely tolerant towards my daughter even in her crawling days when ‘rishika’ would pull her tail, legs or whiskers, causing her to trip she never ever snapped but her reaction would be different if we teased her.

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Time to say Adieu

I can go on and on about my ‘silky’ and that still would be less… she had lived up to the age of 17yrs and was our ‘grand ol’ lady’. By then she had acute arthritis as well cataract and had to be carried up & down two floors so that she could relieve herself. She had even lost a few teeth and her coat and whiskers had started frosting. It happened one evening when I had gone to meet my husband in the ‘valley’ (J&K) with my daughter (he was posted there). My sister was scratching silky behind her ears as she loved it… and felt something wet in her hands on checking she found a wound below which was infested with maggots….!!! She raised an alarm and immediately the checking began. And they found multiple small wounds… of the same nature. How it had gone undetected for so long I don’t know but since she was very old no one used to trouble her with unnecessary petting and cuddling. She had also never shown any discomfort nor had ever complained….. Next day morning my father was at the vet’s clinic and he confirmed that nothing much could be done and since she was in much pain and the wounds were very deep she had to be given mercy killing… it broke our hearts to be parted in such a way but papa had to take a big decision… an honourable painless death for our most trusted companion, our sister and his youngest daughter… that was the least we could do for our darling and he went ahead with it. She breathed her last cuddled in papa’s arms, the man whom she had loved the most, and was buried in the dog’s crematory behind the Jain Mandir en route Chattarpur Mandir. Since then I’ve had many furry buddies but none could replace her…. Absolutely none…!!!

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