Monday, December 17, 2007

The story continues....

I gave him the name of Field Marshal Jango - why? Cause he was a fighter - street fighter to be exact and could push back even the hardiest and biggest of dogs compared to his puny size. His bark and growl would easily clarify and inform the hearer that he was probably facing a bigger and fiercer dog.

Born on Feb 7, 2003 he died on died May 4, 2004. About a foot and half tall he was covered with fur - in shades of black, gold, and white. A mix breed he had 21 toes - which many considered to be very lucky (what we call in dog terms the dewy claw).

He spoke in volumes and his presence left an impact on everyone - children to adults and animals. The day he died was an eventful day, we took him to the doctor for he had not been eating for two days now. He had a lump in his throat, his lymph nodes had become swollen.

The doctor gave him a couple of injections, and glucose and gave us instructions on what he could and could not eat, we had already given Chinoo's urine sample for tests. We went back home, got his lunch ready, he ate just a little and seemed lost, distant...as my sister put it. He kept walking into the kitchen and would sniff the place and curl himself up and sit down. (He was the first born of Jack (my dog) and Sonia (my sister's dog). He had been born in the kitchen of my sister's house that had been under renovation during that period.) I stepped out to go to work, it seemed that the day would be as any other normal day, but before 4.00 pm in the evening I got a call saying that Chinoo was not breathing. My sister called the doctor, but the attempt to revive him was futile, she tried to resuscitation -it did not work. He was asleep - forever. My sister became inconsolable, she tried but it seemed as if she could ever stop her tears again-ever.

It changed her completely (and she has never been the same old sister – somewhere lurking in her is a bitterness that I have never been able to fathom, even today) it was as if he had been the missing child in her life and now he was gone.

I called back and asked her to wait for I wanted to go together for the funeral. I had in fact just bought a camera, to take his pictures and of my dog Jack - his father while playing...it was not meant to be, it seemed. We called the SPCA and asked them how to go about the funeral arrangements, they called us to Lower Parel, a two hours drive from our place. They would keep him on ice till morning and then consign him to flames the next morning, as everything was shut at that moment, it being a Saturday. It seemed as if his death would tear our hearts out (writing this down still brings tears to my eyes and makes my heart heavy, that how was it possible that we could do nothing for him).

We called the doctor again, he said there was a burial ground in Goregaon for pets, but that closed at 5.30 pm in the evening and it was already six. We wrapped him in a bed sheet and some white cloth and carried him on my lap till electric funeral parlour in Borivali, 20 min from our homes. We, me, my sister accompanied by her husband three nephews, quiet and helpful they stood by us through the entire thing. God bless them. At the funeral parlour they told us, they did not have the permission to give final rites to animals. But they were kind enough to direct us to the shamshan bhumi (open funeral ground) at Dahisar to try our luck (you call that luck???). We moved on and here we have to thank the people at this place for they were helpful in giving Chinoo, the funeral rites of a human-he was consigned to the flames by proper Hindu customs.

By this time it was 7.30, but we stood vigilant by his pyre, the un-named person told us to leave -very kindly and to come back the next day to collect his ashes, which he promised he would keep safe, bound in a cloth...for it would take many hours for the ashes to cool.

We all trudged back home, tired and world weary. Everyone lost in their personnel thoughts about what had happened, none could say anything to each other, but all my sister kept saying…she could not save him, he was all that she had to love. We reached home by 8.30, paid the rickshaw driver a good sum, for he had been kind to take us to all the places till we found the place where we could lay to rest our family pet Chinoo.

It was at this moment I called the doctor to enquire what had Chinoo's urine report contain. He said, "His liver was completely infected, no matter what we would have done, we would have still lost him."

May 5

The next day, my sister left at 6.30 for the bhumi and collected Chinoo's ashes, which we buried in my mother’s garden at our home. It was a way that he would always remain with us. I also got an evergreen tree planted over the ashes. His clothes - towels, sheets; bowls everything was given away or consigned into the sea. For that is the Hindu tradition, when a person dies his belongings are given away to the needy, except for pictures nothing is kept back. It seems cruel for someone whom we loved so much, we have to remove every sign of his existence in what had been his home.

I started writing his story - it seems - long ago around eight months after his death, and I continue it now...

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