A few months back, work got tedious. Rather, the workplace did. I was so detached from the people around me that I would get restless spending each hour in front of my computer. I almost got up every quarter of an hour, climbed down the stairs and met the dogs. One mother and her two pups, the guys I named Hachiku and Chiku. Their father, Blacky would sometimes come back into the building complex after pursuing some fight or the other, gladly meet up, wag his tail and then leave. The mother and the kids were more of the stationary kind. I could come down whenever and find them there. They became my silent companions.
This also had something to do with the fact that the mother was suffering from a kidney problem and was dying, something I got to know soon thereafter. But more on that later.
Anyway, I would meet the three, often accompanied by a beautiful albino female dog, obviously named Whitey by me. She had a beautiful gait, the grace of a dancer’s, and each time, she wagged her tail, it was like an elaborate dance move. The best part was, however, the ease with which she played with the puppies. She let them bite her, bother her endlessly. I assumed she was the aunt. These four completed a strange void within me.
I am a romantic of the tragic kind. I like to believe, like most people, that I am especially tormented with thoughts of loneliness and misery. I find reasons to alienate myself from people, I derive reasons galore to let go of people, and often find myself utterly incapable of judging the real from the painfully unreal. These dogs filled that void.
A camaraderie without any noise, a friendship without any give or take; some days I fed them and some days I didn’t. A love based on just that, love. You will think these are the ramblings of an obsessed animal lover maybe, but no. They were as important to me as I was to them.
The puppies were my kids too, I felt responsible. And the initial problem that I was suffering from, the restlessness or the lack of friendships at the workplace, became the gaping loose ends between the times I went and met the dogs.
The three are gone today. One puppy was found dead in the parking lot, with its tiny legs tied. I assumed one of the housekeeping staff did the deed, as the pups dirtied the staircase often. The mother soon died due to a disease my intervention couldn’t cure on time.
The third was Hachiku, who grew up in the next few months like the apple of my eyes and of Whitey’s. He was street smart, lanky yet capable and very naughty. I knew he would survive. But one day, he disappeared. I was later told by yet another staff that Hachiku had been seen walking the meaner roads quite boldly. I don’t believe this.
I am now left with Whitey, as she is with me. We meet every day, sometimes for ten minutes at a stretch, when I keep petting her, while she stands there, lightly touching my foot with her paw. Recently she fell sick too, and I brought help, this time, I won. She recovered and has since, been my friend/my person.
This story needs to be told for two reasons. One, because they did for me what good friends do; they kept me company in my self-proclaimed loneliness. And secondly because they are beautiful in the way they came and went, taught me lessons in death, and yet added to my story, in their silent ways.
~Guest post by Runa Mukherjee.