You filled the void created by the departure of our beloved Rishi. Not just filled, you more than made it up with your cuteness, briskness and possessiveness. You just took to our family like fish to water.
I still remember the day we brought you home from my office building. You had already earned notoriety with your sharp teeth. With my friend ESN, who is afraid of dogs, sitting in the front and you on the luggage bay in the rear, I did have a fun time driving you home. A journey through which you made your way to the front seat, both in our car and in our family. I still remember how attached you sat next to Vasanthi when she joined halfway down in Anna Nagar. And how happily you entered our house, and roamed through all the open space, fully enjoying and playing around, chasing squirrels. We were intrigued when you didn’t raise your voice at all for the first couple of days, and even thought you were dumb. But you picked up in just two days, and from that moment, there was no stopping you.
It looks like you were used to high life, I learned, not only by your efforts to occupy the front seat when I took you home, but also by the way you jumped eagerly into the car whenever we ventured out. We have not taken you out much, but I do remember we took you long distances, up to Kakkalur some times. You enjoyed going out in car, sniffing the air all along, particularly while passing non-veg restaurants! Sorry, pal, all I could offer you at home was the chicken and meat variants of Pedigree.
You were a great source of strength and comfort for my aged mother, who happens to be alone at home all day. With you being there, we were really free of worries, for we knew that you would not let anyone come near her, unless she knew them. I don’t know how you dogs learn to read our minds, but it is always amazing how you distinguish between the people known to us, be they relatives or friends, and wag your tail; and outsiders, such as maids and service people even if they come regularly, and show them your teeth.
And hats off to your sense of duty. I really felt proud of you on several occasions when you would just not leave my mother when she was lying sick. Similarly, my affection towards you grew multifold when you would sit watch on the terrace for Jeevthi to take her 15-minute sunbath every morning soon after her birth. Though it was funny and amusing to watch you chase even crows flying high over the baby, I felt proud of having you by her side then. In spite of our constant watch, you would always try to steal a moment to lick the baby to show your affection to the new member of our family. How kind you were, Chotu!
Unlike Rishi, who unfortunately was sick most of the time, we were so happy that you were healthy and bubbling with energy all the time. You kept good company not only to us home members, but also to any visitors and relatives who you knew were our people. Preethi, while returning from the US after a year, was anxious whether you would remember her and Jeevthi, and was so glad when she witnessed your warm welcome when she came home.
As Jeevthi grew and learned to mutter words, one of the clearer words that came out of her tiny mouth was “Chotu-Baiya”. It is to your credit that she never got afraid of you and felt free and comfortable with you. In fact, all of Prasanna’s family members gradually grew fond of you, which you reciprocated so well. It was evident you loved children, a fact that will be vouched by all the kids who met and befriended you in no time – Kappu, Pinky, Manasa, Vaishu, Jahnavi and so many others. The only two who liked you but kept a distance were Nishi and Nivi. We keep remembering how you used to drool at the sight of Rasagullas and other sweets. And snarl at the very sight of Bharth just teasing you with an imaginary balloon to burst.
I really thought I was keeping you healthy and fit, and was even planning for the vaccination next week. Your sudden departure has struck a heavy blow to me, making me feel lonelier at home. I still cannot figure out what made you suddenly go so sick on the last days. Was it the jack fruit to blame, or was it the other pup who died of some disease that spread its infection to you, I am unable to guess. Whatever it was, we never thought you would leave us so fast. We tried to save you at the last moment. Forgive me, my dear friend, if I did not take good medical care of you. I did not want you to suffer more painful injections that night, and if you were leaving, I wanted you to do so peacefully and comfortably at your favourite place. Your memory will stay etched in my mind for ever.I am sure I will meet you when I come up, whenever it is.