Where are you ?
Many years ago, my friend Suneet asked me about his father, ” Where did he go? Mr. Dubs. Where did he go?”. Suneet’s father had passed away.”He’s gone where he’d come from,”I replied weakly.
The question haunts me all the time. I have no idea where I have come from and where will I go. Long walks or hours staring at the ceiling has not given me much of a clue, but a niggle tells me that I’ve been here before and will come back again.
Life has a way to remind. It tells you not to take anything for granted. Those whom you sink into will vanish someday. Use the time. Feel without complaining.
I did not cry for the last seven years and when Newton, my Labrador passed away , I wondered whether I have any emotion left. Him and I were joined at the hip. My siestas were incomplete if I did not use his fat tummy as a pillow, yet I could not shed a drop of tear .
A few days ago our Saint Bernard, Beethoven died after a brief illness. It was an exhausting ten days of suffering for all of us. Drips inserted, needles of antibiotics jabbed, ultrasound, X-Rays, blood tests were done to cure him off his suffering. We inflicted more than he was going through. The worst part was that we did not understand the real malady and treated him erroneously. We blamed ourselves. We trusted one doctor without taking a second opinion. Personally, I realised that I have no intuition and did not intervene.
We asked a lot of questions and found very few answers. And those discovered are hardly convincing.
I took such a beautiful body, flowing in lovely whites,tans and blacks; a forehead so wide that while kissing it, I could see nothing, to the crematorium and returned with colourless grey ashes in an earthen pot.
Finally I could weep. I longed for Beethoven. No longer I wanted to accept the circle of life.
Where are you Beethoven? I cried.
Beethoven was very young when my family was in the jaws of very difficult times. We were in mourning. His playful indifference helped us sail many a difficult memory and we slowly wriggled back to normalcy. My pony tail was especially singled out for tug-of-wars and coatings of copious saliva. We played very physical, almost rugby like snatch and pulls. Often my hand would find itself in his mouth. He was strong and before he could relieve the pressure, I experienced the magnitude of his clasping power. Sometimes the games got personal and he would get angry but never did he hurt me.
He rapidly grew to a size which evoked awe in the spectators. Even then, we could pull the over sixty kilos of that mass by its tail. Mind you no dog likes to be pulled by its tail and often retaliates, but not gentle Beethoven. I remember once walking in the park when we ran into a few policemen. They were managing the Eid get-together at the local dargah. Beethoven drew their attention by his size. One of them remarked that his village will lay bare if ever this creature would walk through it. An old gentleman we often met had only one thing to say, “this one can fight a lion.” And I would walk back wondering how deceptive looks are. A beat of a drum outside, a wedding procession, a clap of thunder was enough to drive Beethoven under the bed. Hours of cajoling had no effect on him and invariably ended up being fed there. Then it was a huge task to pull him out for nature calls.
Newton’s loss left him heartbroken. We quickly filled our home with a little beagle; Frodo. Beethoven never really accepted him as a companion; he had grown up with Newton.
To resolve his depression we took him out to drives. I don’t know whether Rashtrapati Bhawan had any influence on his weather, but we did what we could. Slowly he limped back to normal but only for a while. Then back he went into his frosty world.
I am convinced that a soul is never without a physical form. The instance Beethoven left this lovely body, he had found another one. I hope he has a great next life.
Where are you? What are you doing? Don’t save on the hours in the parlour, look good, do well and love; this is all that matters. Then one day you and I are going to turn into a pail of earth or ash.