I was born on the other end of the Great Himalayan Range, somewhere in the pristine locales of Arunachal Pradesh, India. My mother taught me from Day 1 how I was the product of a lineage of high pedigree. My grandfather and grandmother had once brought home umpteen accolades. My forefathers were renowned to be formidable hunters; their prey was like the bull’s eye, accurately hit. The best thing of it all? Where we came from, we knew what the real meaning of a family was. I also knew that I was a born nomad; I didn’t belong in my mother’s warm embrace or in the playful company of my brothers and sisters. I was born to step out into the world as a young proud and rather handsome puppy, and earn a name for myself.
We were growing very fast for our age, and at 2 months old, I seemed sturdy and robust. And then it happened, I was sent into the care of a very calm-looking, human-father, who would make me watch other animals but I always thought why they wouldn’t get irked with my presence. Probably I have always had that aura about me, my deep gaze through the soft brown eyes said it all. My forefathers must really feel proud of me.
I was lovingly called Rustam by my human-father and the other men I soon became acquainted with. I enjoyed my life. It was all about eating tasty food, going for long walks, running after those annoying-looking trespassers who lent their backs to a bird or two, and then curl up again in a warm bed that someone would have set for me. This was nothing short of a royal treatment. There is but one thing I was very terrified of, and that was water, in any volume. *shudder*
Life was all about me and only me until the day I met her… no outsider that one
I met my human-mother and my half-brother and sister a few months later. Being a child at heart, I warmed up to my half-brother and human mother the first. I don’t think I could ever like my half-sister. She was often hungry for attention and would maltreat me out of jealousy. Then I understood, she was only being horrible because she would miss me when I was gone. As time went by, we hardly did meet.
Life was all about me and only me until the day I met her… no outsider that one. Her name was Khushi, and I believe it is now safe to say that I really did love her. She had been around longer than I was, but I had become a favorite much before she had. She was pretty. I liked how her eyelashes curled up every time our eyes met, how her long muzzle gave her black and tan countenance a more beautiful look. And trust me when I say this, I always did feel bad when she wasn’t shown as much love and affection as I was, but back in the day, I was a young handsome dog, I wouldn’t have bothered so much because I was my human-father’s favorite child. I got to sit on the master bed, and not everyone has that privilege. You would only know that if you’d been there, done that.
My relationship with Khushi was a lot like an arranged marriage. We met ’cause we were made to meet. How otherwise in a world full of dogs and humans and other people here and there, would I have met her? We went for walks together, explored the world, I would see her bathing in the stream close to the house, we would play catch and run after those trespassers every now and then. Just she and I, together, always. I never told her I loved her, she never told me she loved me, yet we were always there for each other, through thick, thin and our umpteen children. We did grow old together.
When someone asks you if you know what love is, you can refer to my story, and they too would understand
I observe everyone and everything as I sit quietly in a corner, I don’t say anything does not mean I don’t feel it. I am a dog after all. Even when my half-sister came back home after all those years of separation, I welcomed her like I would a person who just went away for a short while. A lot had changed when she was away, yet I felt a strong connection with her deep within. Nice girl, that one. A little short on people and on me but she cared about my lady love, my children and I whenever she could. I think she too had to make peace with herself to be able to accept me around. We became friends much later in my life. Khushi was not very well during those days, and it would make me very worried, but there is little I could do in my dog capacity. Soon after this, Khushi gave her last litter, they were all beautiful, but few lived long to see the light of day. It made me sad, ’cause it broke her heart. But I understood, and she knew I understood. When someone asks you if you know what love is, you can refer to my story, and they too would understand.
Today I am an old and wise angel watching over everyone who showered me with all the love and affection they had in their hearts for me. And my love is with me. We are happy in our space here. Very happy, in fact. It’s difficult to find that one person you would like to grow old with. I got that chance. And if tomorrow, I was to be sent back on Earth with an agenda, I would love to grow up once again with the human family I grew up with, as Rustam, as the Dog with Khushi to spread her sunshine by my side.