I'm a Goan woman, working in Mumbai as the founder of a studio called Totem Creative. I try to make the world happier, safer and more meaningful. I believe education, knowledge and awareness, art, writing and creating Social Impact are my means to achieve that end.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

A Lucky Woman With A Lucky Dog

It had been a rather boring weekend for Bubbles and I. To get rid of the stress and college workload, we went off to pamper ourselves by shopping and visiting the parlour in Fatima Nagar.

This was now. A year ago, in second or first semester, it was Pankti with me. We had been in Fatima for similar reasons. On our way back, we had passed a slender fawn Labrador, rolling on the gravel of an inner road, leading to a small society of houses. Clearly it was residential area. This adorable lab had a red collar around her – just like my dog Tutu. Her shiny coat was shimmering away under the strong sun.
I couldn‘t resist. I was missing Tutu already! But Punk’s hatred for dogs didn’t make it an easy decision. She shook her head in disapproval as I begged her with a look. She didn’t take much time to buy it. We decided to meet in Big Bazaar ten minutes later.

The dog wagged its tail as I approached it. She – (as I noticed) had beautiful kajalled eyes, and they welcomed me to pet her. I squealed in delight, and ran to ruffle her under her ears and chest – the way Tuts loved it. She responded lovingly as I spoke to her in my bubbles tones – the way I always spoke with good dogs.

I heard a chuckle from the back. And old lady, maybe above 55 years smiled as she saw me melting over this dog.
“Is she yours?” I asked, smiling.
“Yes – she’s my daughter no?” she replied.
“Aunty – my dog looks exactly like her...but he’s way older. He’s turning 8 soon; in March. She looks young – and she’s beautiful!” I said, petting her.
“Oh! She’s Lucy. She’s just 2 years. My name is Usha.” She said.
“Aunty she’s adorable!” I said.
“Haan... I love her a lot. She’s my daughter now. You see, I lost my husband sometime back. Since then, Lucy has been my life.” She said, looking at Lucy lovingly.

I explained about Tutu, and how she was like him. I told her I was from Goa. She told me she gave her house for PGs to make a living. She offered me Tea, but I told her about Pankti. She hugged me as I left, and pleaded me to visit her and Lucy again. I nodded, and gave Lucy one last kiss on her ear, and ran towards Big Bazaar.

A few months later I decided to visit Usha Aunty again. She seemed older than before, and I wondered if she’d recognize me, but Lucy looked the same – healthy and beautiful. I was invited in her house. Aunty wasn’t well, and so her nephew had come to stay with her.
Her house was small and quaint, with a small backyard with potted plants, where Lucy ran free. Her white walls hung beautiful pictures of her when she was young, and a stunning photograph of her husband placing a flower in her hair. She looked like one of the most beautiful women. What must it have been like to lose him? It’s only when we know someone else’s lives, that we see how simple ours is in comparison. Lucy was busy licking me all over. Clearly I was recognized. That was then.

As I recited this story to Bubbles, she was eager to meet Lucy. By this time, I had forgotten Lucy’s name, but I remembered Usha Aunty. As we peeped through her black railing on the front door, we saw the old woman playing with her dog. Lucy was rolling between her two feet.

As she noticed us, she opened the railing.
“Hello?” she said, surprised. I wondered if she’d recognize me.
“Hi Usha aunty - I’m Nikhita, from Goa, you remember? I visited you earlier this year..” I said.
“Oh! Of-course – “her recognition came back.
“Come in, come in! Who’s this?” she said, looking at Bubbles.
“This is Madhuwanti, aunty – she wanted to meet Lucy – I’ve told her a lot about her.” I said.
“Come in, come in!” she repeated.
Bubbles smiled, and we sat on her mattress. As I looked at aunty closely, I realized she looked considerably older than the last time I saw her half a year ago. She was pale and weak. Something had happened.
The entire room smelled of a lab. I filled my nostrils with it to enjoy it as long as it lasted. It had been a very long time since I experienced this. Tutu had died a day before his birthday – and to think, I had still not gotten over him. Aunty fed us with a story of how she had had a heart surgery in April. She had been on her floor, and had fainted suddenly. Lucy had figured this then and there. Luckily, the neighbor came to visit her, and took her to the hospital. The authorities there thought she had already died, because her heart had stopped beating. Lucy had not eaten from anybody in a week, until aunty was back from the hospital. She explained to us those brief moments when she thought that it was the end of her life. Bubbles and I listened in shock.

“She never left me then. And till today, she doesn’t leave me alone anywhere. That’s why she’s grown so fat!” said aunty.
I smiled, but my eyes watered uncontrollably as I thought of Tuts. His scent, his wagging, and unintentional puppy face every time we left the house.
As we were leaving, aunty stated quietly. “God is great to have given Lucy to me. Dogs should not even be called ‘animals’. Human beings betray you, but Lucy has always been loyal. She has always taken care of me. After all – she’s my daughter no?” said aunty, smiling.

We smiled and nodded. She was a lucky woman, with a lucky dog.

No comments: