Three days after my marriage broke, I redid my room. I bought a new cot, a bookshelf, and my sister gifted a floor-lamp. Remnants of the thing that crashed were carefully removed, and cheerful, uplifting stuff were fixed. One may eliminate what reminds one of the murky past. But, how can one become brave enough to stage a peaceful protest against the emptiness that ensues? A large, beautiful framed-photograph of my husband and myself were removed. However, the wall that became barren after that haunted me more, exhuming bittersweet memories. It talked me about all that died, and all that could have been…
Almost two months after I walked out of my marriage, my dearest Calvin passed away. When we could finally bring ourselves to see Calvin’s pictures without bursting into tears, my father and I discussed at length to decide which photograph of our boy should be framed. I chose something in which he flaunted his grey muzzle and whiskers, and cataract-filled eyes. Father wanted to remember him as a dog, who was not paralysed my hip-dysplasia, and who ran till the horizon to kiss the sun. The discussion turned futile. A picture was never printed.
Maybe, it had to happen that way. If not, I wouldn’t have had the privilege of adorning that very wall which haunts me, with this ravishing portrait of Calvin.
My dearest friend Kirthi, who dons many a hat, recently set up a Facebook page where her brilliant artwork is displayed. Without entertaining a second thought, I pinged her asking if she would do something as a tribute to our memories of Calvin. She asked for a brief, and I wrote this. (Words always fail me when I try to describe his mindful life.)
“He was a foodie. He was a robber. He stole food from our plates, from the dishes, from the storage, from everywhere. He was a lazy bum. He loved his family, friends, and even strangers. He never barked at anybody. When he did once or twice, he only wanted them to sit and make themselves comfortable. He was a peace advocate. He shared his riches with another dog without complaining. He loved his daily walks with my dad. He wanted to keep walking, and walking, and walking, and he would have kept on walking if that could have helped him escape death. He liked snoozing like a hibernating polar-bear. He loved children, and loved stealing food from their bowls. He loved curd, carrots, beans, potatoes… He wanted our house to be generously peopled, and drew immense pleasure from demanding them to scratch his chin and ears. He loved to watch birds, and clear blue sky.”
I have clicked a million pictures of Calvin. But, none of it captured his beauty as Kirthi’s artwork does.
That wall will still talk to me. But, it will tell me stories of an endearing canine who lived a great life. In other words, I am healing.