Sunday, June 15, 2008

Mon chien, ma amie

A year back, if you had asked me what love was, I would have sheepishly admitted my ignorance. And I had good reason then, because I was not sure if there were anything such as true love. The closest to true love I had ever gotten was my mother's love. But a mother's love is bound by the bond of oneness. The offspring is but, a part of his mother. So, I used to wonder, what is true love? I found the answer eventually. I always thought that love should be uncompromising, unconditional and blind to the nuances of the world. And somehow, the answer conformed to this belief.

Last year, we adopted a dog - a wheatish-brown labrador. He was 12 days old when we brought him over to our place. For the first few days, he cried for his mother's warmth and love, parted as he was from her. We were absolutely distraught at his plight. So, we let him be with his mother, a two year old named Preeti, for the night. During the day, he crawled frantically and blind, desperate as he was to be with his mother. This continued for about two weeks. After that, we stopped taking him to Preeti, in line with the veterinarian's advice.

In the meantime, we christened him 'Simba', after the lead character in 'The Lion King'. Simba had opened his eyes fully now, and had started walking too. He looked a cute little fellow then, with eyes so dreamy and glassy, you wished them to be your own. His bark was hollow and mild, the kind you would associate with a pup, quite obviously! He was scared of other dogs then, intimidating as they were, fully-grown and experts at snarling. But he was naughty in every sense of the word. He used to tear up papers and broom-sticks, snap at our feet and scoot wanting us to chase him, try climbing up the bed with his tiny little feet only to fall down with a thud and engage in other like-adorable activities. And interestingly, I began to understand love a lot better.

As Simba grew, our responsibilities too grew manifold. We had to walk him six times a day. We had to coax him to eat his food, three times a day! We had to quarrel with our neighbors, irate as they were over his barking and finding his excreta right in front of their gates. We had to make sure that our gate was closed at all times, to prevent him from running into the big, bad world. Sometimes, we faltered. We were worried to death's end for about ten minutes when Simba had run out through the open gate and we could not find him. Well, we did find him, after those torrid ten minutes, playing with his mother and siblings (his mother stayed in a house on our street). We were horrified when he had those chickenpox-like infections. Fortunately, they never persisted for more than a day or two. We were scared every time we sighted a cat in our house. Luckily, Simba never developed the courage enough, as a small dog, to chase a cat. However, as he grew, our worries started to subside. Our love for him, though, only bloated up. Maybe, true love is never about responsibilities because it out-weighs them anyway.

His love for us has never subsided. He springs on us (when we return home) with the same gusto and zeal as he used to, when he was a pup. He sulks the same way he used to, when he was a pup. He wags his tail enthusiastically, whenever someone calls on us. We are worried that he might walk away with a burglar, wagging his tail. My father, who initially was apathetic towards dogs, is today an admirer (And trust me, my father is a difficult man to change!). One of my good friends is a scared lot when any other dog approaches him. He is not afraid of Simba, though, and for good reason. Simba is not just a dog. He is a bundle of endless love. Maybe, that is the power of true love - to stay undiminished over time and to banish indifference and fear.

Today, everybody in our street know Simba. They call Simba the friendly neighbourhood dog. And they dote upon Simba like never before, petting him affectionately and enquiring about him, as I walk him down our street. True love does that, I guess. It wins over everybody, sooner or later.

As for me, I will always be grateful to Simba. He answered my question.

My dog, my friend.


Ranjana said...

I ALWAYS wanted a dog. But was never allowed to have one. I STILL am not allowed to!:( I guess it'll be quite a while before I can understand true love. Hopefully some day I will have it, sniffing madly and licking at my face! ;)

Ranjana said...

LOVELY post btw