Its 4 am..and there are two sets of rhythmic background sounds…
The quiet drumming of rain drops as we get our first winter rains. This delay does not bode well for the summer, but hey, lets not rush into future forebodings at this time of the day!
The living room and kitchen clocks play their game of chase, day and night..one goes tock and the other one replies the next instant. Their game keeps me company, while I spend quiet hours watching Biskit and trying to make her comfortable. My attempts misfire most of the time. I try to keep her warm with some cuddling, a hot water bottle, extra blankets..but she just shakes me off and goes away, to shiver in peace, in another corner of the room.
Yes, like a bolt from the blue, I am facing the fact that our beloved diva is old and fragile. The last ten years has been all about her dashing out of the house , dashing all over the golf course, dashing behind monkeys and mongrels, dashing into the car, hanging out of the car window and tasting the passing air.
It has also been all about soulful looks, quiet cuddles, loving facials and so much of devotion. Biskit curls up wherever I am sitting, she HAS to come with me to the balcony when I run across the house to take a phone call ( we only get decent mobile sounds on the balcony..its torture in the winters, so please consider this when you call me for a chat these winter days!), and she always has to escort me to the shower… I think she suspects the water–it could dissolve her sugary-sweet mistress if Biskit doesn’t stand guard!
For the past decade, the girls have been in and out of the house while pursuing their studies and careers. The dogs have been my constant companion. For TV-viewing-evenings, for regular-morning-and-evening-walks, for heart-to-heart-angst-filled-chats, for discussing plans and plots, for eating up tid-bits. I take the dogs to parties, to the market, to Delhi and to work. Biskit and Pepper make me what I am–“the dog lady of Ranikhet”.
And now, for the past fortnight, Biskit has been teaching me the lesson of growing old, of mortality, of just being present around her. She has become weak and shivery, finds it hard to climb stairs, eats little and sighs more. Its all about growing old, and its all about me learning to accept this inexorable change in life.
Between my daughter and me, we have a daily schedule which rotates around our little moppet. She has a lap to snuggle into…there is a warm hand to caress her tired body….there is someone to take her out when she wants to feel the sunshine and take a tiny walk….her favourite food is prepared for some regular pampering and feeding times…she gets her shawl, her cushion, her space, her medicines–whenever and wherever she wants it.
All this effort and work is insignificant and minuscule, when I think of the devotion and love she has showered on me, unconditionally, over the years. I also recall the other souls in my life, who have showered their unconditional love and affection on me. My parents, teachers in school and in life, some constant friends and family folks– Have I been there for them with the same devotion and love, which is welling up in my heart for Biskit?
What is it with our dogs which make them so precious, so inspiring, so beloved?
Is it because their unconditional love and devotion gives us confidence, pride and joy in ourselves…..that adoring look in their eyes can make me feel like a ten feet tall genie who can do everything right!
Is it because they know when to keep quiet, when to comfort us and when to just curl up quietly near an anguished soul…Biskit knows all my secret angst, my quirks and irks!
Whatever the reason, whatever the theories, whatever the dismissals, I am just very thankful that I have this time to comfort and pamper Biskit, that I have this quiet dawn with raindrops drumming in the background and two dogs snoring beside me, that I am being given a chance to make Biskit feel comfortable and loved…and Pepper feel cosy and loved.