Jadoo ki jhappi

I make it a point to hug my dog Valentino, when he looks at me with those soulful eyes.

When recently my young male retriever ‘Valentino’ fell seriously sick and needed IV fluids and blood transfusion to sustain and fight a life threatening infection, many of my friends who are dog lovers sent messages wishing him speedy recovery. A few specifically mentioned ‘many hugs to him!’

So, I literally gave him all those hugs before he received the blood transfusion – and told him the most important words, ‘I love you. You will be fine,’ all the while holding his soft paws in my hands. I could see a small sparkle come to his eyes which were drooping with weakness.

The ever active, bouncing golden roly-poly bundle of mischief was lying in a state of stupor with no strength to respond in his usual boisterous way. My heart was thundering with panic and fear imagining the worst. But, that phase of terrible anxiety and uncertainty ended thanks to the timely medical intervention and a million divine blessings from above.

Now, I make it a point to hug him whenever he looks at me with his soulful loving eyes, assuring him that he is fine and safe in his comfortable home environs, and he snuggles closer and covers me with his warm breath. 

Researchers have discovered that a sincere hug produces a hormone called “oxytocin”, also known as the love hormone, which has many benefits, helping, among other things, to relax, to feel safe and calm one’s fears and anxiety. The physical contact of a hug is an indicator of support, concern, love, affection, etc., and in general, very therapeutic in nature. Hence, there is this affirmation for heartbroken lovers –“Someday someone is going to hug you so tight with love, that all of your broken heart pieces will stick back together.”

Few years back, when my godfather had to undergo a surgery for a broken ankle, I visited him in the morning with a heavy heart, as he was a highly hypertensive man and age was not on his side. On seeing me, he smiled and said, “You came in my dream last night and you hugged me, calling me as you generally do like my mother – ‘six-year-old mischievous boy’. Now I am sure my surgery will be a success. I will be fit as a fiddle…” so saying he extended his arms towards me. And I hugged him tight, with all my heart. Yes, he not only walked after recuperating, but he even cycled, my six-year-old mischievous boy of ninety!

Hugs truly are wonderful! They do wonders to our sense of well being. No wonder that we all hunger for hugs…

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