Extraordinary in the ordinary

Vacuum we create, voids we leave

My desire that Simba springs out of this photograph on my bedside, just so that I can kiss him goodbye, will remain an unfulfilled wish. Forever.
Published at Hindustan Times.

I woke up one morning and found myself weeping. Tears wet my cheeks and my eyes were swollen. I sat down for a moment, recollecting my dream. I was missing my dearest friend and member of our family, Simba, my pet dog.

Simba was a gift from my father in 2000, for my fantastic performance in the class 10 board examinations. As long as he was with me, I was the happiest girl on the planet. In caring for him, playing with him, talking to him, and protecting him, I had found my best friend for years to come. As I left home in 2002 to study at Lady Shri Ram College, Delhi, I’d jump out of joy at the thought of coming home for summer vacations, as I would get to share Simba’s boundless energy, enjoy his innocent pranks, and bask in his unconditional loyalty.

As I settled into my professional life, the first name I’d call out on coming home on short breaks was “Simba!”, and he’d come bounding in bountiful love. Little did I realise that this ball of golden fur rolling towards me had turned old… he was close to 11 by then; but for me, he was still the little pup that I had brought up in my school days. Perhaps, humans are inclined to live in denial. And I am human.

Simba was 12 when I got married in 2012. He was with me at the time of my vidai. Amidst all the hustle-bustle, I found him under the living room sofa, watching the activities quietly. Somehow, I did not feel the need to say goodbye, I just felt he wasn’t going anywhere. Months passed, and one day while getting ready for office, I was with my mother on the telephone when she broke the news, subtly. “Simba was no more,” she said. He had passed away at 13, in the laps of my parents.

It has been three years since. I tried to rationalise why I was weeping in my dreams. Was it the pain of missing Simba? Couldn’t I remember him positively for the happy, wholesome 13 years? Shouldn’t I be grateful to God that he passed away peacefully after growing old, with my parents by his side, patting him and praying for him as he breathed his last?

Finally, I identified the cause of the pain in my heart. It is not because Simba died. It is because I was not with him in his final moments, not there to thank him for being the most affectionate soul ever to have touched my life. I was not there to see his beautiful hazel brown eyes fall asleep for the last time. I was not there to say, ‘You will always be with me.’

My desire that Simba somehow springs out of his photograph on my bedside, just so that I can kiss him goodbye, is nothing but an insane wish. Don’t allow your desires to be that. Whether projects or goals or relationships, whatever you set your mind and heart to, see it through to the end. Even the most artistically worded sentence ceases to be flawless if it is not terminated with a full stop. Let there remain no unfinished business. Let there be no incomplete relationship. Let your life be free of vacuum.

This article was published at Hindustan Times.

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