Crystal–the orphan dog!

(short story, un-edited, straight from my mind)
Home, Gurgaon

Crystal is a white Labrador, white like the clouds, up in the sky. He is now thirteen and an orphan, with no pups nor a mate. “What he does is stare at those pictures on the desk and lie on the rug, whole day and at night”.

When i met crystal, he was just 8 months old. Chubby like a piglet and barely a foot high from ground, he almost tripped over my legs. He was chasing a ball she bought for him that day; she, my first and only love.

Parks have always been my favourite spot. To take a break from the busy life of a thirty year old corporate employee, i almost spend my day dreaming about the evenings at the park, every day. That day, when Crystal found me, i was fortunately late from my usual time table.

“Sorry”, it was her, my would-be love of life. “Somehow Crystal managed to let him off the leash”, she said.

‘Crystal?’, i was confused. “He” she pointed at the dog playing with ball at my foot.

Even before i could say the customary ‘it is okay’, she started telling me about the dog – how she found him at a pet shop in an extremely small cage(it should have been really small cage for she stressed too hard on the ‘extreme’ part). She went on about the dog and never even noticed my surprised gaze at the strange girl. She was strange, and strangely she was comfortable talking to me; in her mid-twenties, she was off-white, definitely a Bengali by birth and gentle (that i could sense from the way she talked).

Suddenly, Crystal came to me and left the ball at my foot, and stood staring at me – he wanted to play with me. She was surprised as he has never been friendly to a stranger before. That evening was beautiful. We talked and played with Crystal, till dark. So fast the time went by, that i, for the first time, forgot to smoke my golden cigarette in the plush green lawns of the park.

The next day was a slow one and so was the evening for I was early to the park and without company. I decided to change my routine and from the next day i came late to the park and left with two more souls, later in the night.

One led to other and ultimately to the most beautiful thing in my life. I found a partner. In fact a family.

She stayed alone and ran an NGO for orphans. From a Bengali family, born to an army couple, she lived through boarding schools and hostels. But yet, she knew more about relationships than me. We were opposite in our likes except for Crystal.

Life was merrier and fun till the day when i wanted to ask her to marry me. We were a couple for almost 4 years now and stayed at each others place for quite sometime. I left my job and joined with hers. We were the perfect couple – so did our family and friends said.

Crystal and me wanted to make this day special, so we took sick leaves (pretty hard when your partner is your would-be). We cooked her favourite Pasta’s, bought her a modest diamond ring (the way she would like it) and dressed up in a Prince’s costume. She always wanted to be a princess! – she always was one to me. Even Crystal too got a custom made suit – the court jester’s. And we waited for her to come home; She never did.

A freaky accident, my ill fate and a drunk high-society lady, the perfect blend of misfortune in my life – our life. I could never tell her what we intended to do. 3 days later, what was left of her lifeless body was cremated on the banks of Brahmaputra – She always said that she was born on its banks, proudly, and is like the river – the river which flows the way she wished, enriching the soil on its way.

It was the biggest defeat in our life. Crystal and me were alone, again. We were caged in a house, which was now 4 stone walls. I couldn’t bear the pain, so i left Crystal at her parents house – the only living memory of their daughter.

***********************************************************************************************

Its been over 3 years now. Her foundation has found family for 300 orphans, many of them even don’t know that their biological parents left them to die. I have been roaming around the country like a lost soul. Meaningless and sad, my life is a burden for me. Ending this life would have been the easiest solution, but then i could never meet her (my angel) in heaven.

************************************************************************************************

I am on a train, to her parents place. I couldn’t find peace anywhere in this country – not in Rameshwaram nor at Bodh Gaya. This running away from my problems isn’t what she would have done, but again i am not her. So i have decided to end this, my search for peace and maybe my life. Now the only connection i have with my mortal self is Crystal. Her parents called me to say that Crystal is ill. He has always been ill after her death.

I reached her parents home late in the evening, reminds me of the day when i met them first – ‘the family i lost’. Her mom was at the gate and told me that Crystal has gone out for a walk with her father. She was mighty pleased – Crystal has left the house after months. She said – “What he does is stare at those pictures on the desk and lie on the rug, whole day and at night”.

I couldn’t wait to see him, so i left for the park. They were sitting at the corner of the park, Crystal with his ball (something he always carried with him, i think he still believes that She will come back to play with him).

I called out – “Crystal”. He jumped and started galloping towards me, without even wasting a second. It was as though he was expecting me. My eyes swelled with tears, i could barely see him. We hugged each other and within few moments, i was in a pool of his saliva.

I could feel what i missed and sensed what i needed – love. All these years, i have been searching something, from which i ran away in the first place. He gave me his ball and dared me to play!

We played, wept and laughed – the world stood still! When we were exhausted, we went to the banks of the mighty river. We experienced what we missed in the last few years of life. We got our family back!

**********************************************************************************************

for those who are thinking of what happened to us:

Well a dog lives for around 12 – 14 years, so they say. Crystal proved them wrong, he stayed with me for another 10 years and taught my kids, the first letters of love. When it was time for him to join Her, he came to me. We played with the old ball, one last time and he walked to her in his sleep.

As for me, i have a longer life cycle to complete. But i got in terms with life, death and my destiny. Now i have Pearl & Jade (Crystal’s own family) and two naughty angels from Her NGO, my kids. And i tell them every night, how their mom and Crystal changed our world – A lot of orphan’s, mine and theirs.

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