Fond memories

Why would a young lady endlessly mourn the loss of Rs 250? Of what Herculean significance is a ‘paltry’ Rs 250 in this day and age of splurge happy people? It is the sum an urban Mr or Ms would casually splurge on a simple t-shirt or an unplanned trip to an eatery. I believe (this is only hearsay, mind you), the ITians chuck double the amount in a beggar’s bowl without a moment’s thought — after all Bangalore’s not the Silicon Valley for nothing! Now before I meander any further let me put forth my query again. Why would I inconsolably lament the loss of a ‘meagre’ Rs 250?

Rs 250 is what our teeny little pom had come for many an autumn ago, when a feisty little girl had thrown such a passionate tantrum for a pet that her skeptical parents had to give in. When we welcomed the furry ‘ball of teeth’ to the family, a self-professed animal expert of a neighbour had advised us to tuck the pup up cozily in a box along with a concealed timepiece so that the little one confused the clocky tick tack for it’s mamma’s heartbeat and didn’t cry for her. But to our surprise Goofy snoozed as if this was the land of the nod!

As I passed childhood and teens I recall a haze of images — a dribbling milk soaked roti dragged to the carpet to be eaten, a gentle lick on the nose when one returned from school and later: college, fun, frolic and doggie jigs.

I recall a time when Goofy had become the toast of our locality. The invincible little one had stood no less dauntingly than the mythological gate keeper of the other world — Anubis; fiercely guarding his territory when robbers had tried to barge in. It had even taken a bite of their thieving legs! Goofy was exhausted but still limped slowly to greet us with its tail wagging. Nothing in the house had been touched. We thanked god that our brave little pint-sized champion was safe.

Now it lies peacefully beneath a mound of earth. Goofy passed away at age 14. Surprisingly, I shed only a few tears. To all, I seemed to have come to terms with the demise.

But why does the heart still ache when I brush off a doggie hair that still clings to my cardigan? In the blurry haze between sleep and wakefulness, I have the deceptive feeling that Goofy has gone on a walk with dad and will return soon. When I go out I look through people but greet dogs. And try to assemble my Goofy through them. On odd days when conversation at home lags I dread to look in my parents’ eyes — dread to see my own pain and loss reflected in them.

So what does it mean to me? A period of joy that ran its course; a lifetime of memories that will stay forever.

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