I Love Lucy

This post was chosen as a Blogadda WoW Contest Top Post


This post is a part of Write Over the Weekend, an initiative for Indian Bloggers by BlogAdda

Write Over the Weekend theme for Feb 8, 2013 -
The first time you told a non-family member that wonderful phrase, “I love you.” The lead up, and what happens after that

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Kasauli, 1993

"I'm home. Help me with the groceries" said Amma.

I (aged 7 years) rushed to hold the bag she held out. I heaved the bag on to the dining table with much effort. As I stood proudly, with my hands on my hips, admiring my own strength, I felt something wet and slippery on my ankle.

I screamed and looked down. Two large, brown, liquid eyes, full of playful camaraderie, looked up at me. A fluffy, golden coat, plump body and a tiny stump of a tail that wagged constantly. A beautiful mountain-bred puppy. One of a litter of puppies from the Officers' Mess. Her little pink tongue and damp black nose were the source of the wetness on my foot. Her entire backside swayed from side to side with every wag of her tail.

Image from Google. But this is almost exactly what Lucy looked like.

"Oh God. She followed me all the way from the Canteen. I thought I had shaken her off", said Amma, shaking her head exasperatedly at the puppy. My little sister Pree (all of 4 years old) came in from the bedroom just then and stood gaping open-mouthed at the puppy. Then she shrieked in delight and picked it up and held it close to her. "I'm going to call her Lucy!"

Amma and I knew right then that we simply had to keep Lucy.

Appa came home to find the three of us fawning over Lucy. We already had a basket ready for her, lined with old clothes. A bowl we used for flowers had been emptied of water and floating petals and reassigned as a food bowl. And we'd already placed her basket in our bedroom.

"You know, we can't keep the dog. She needs to be with her mother" said Appa.

When all our tears and tantrums and persuasion powers failed to move him from his point, Pree and I reluctantly took her back to the Mess. The cook however, had a surprise for us. "You can keep this one. We've given the rest of the puppies away too, since they have weaned away from their mother now."

So Lucy, Pree and I skipped all the way back home. She was now ours for keeps.

Initially, Appa disapproved of us keeping her ("You do know we'll have to move to a new place in a year or two. And shifting is always hard on a dog, especially mountain dogs like Lucy, who are not meant to live in hot places"). But soon, he too succumbed to her adoration and absolute cuteness.

Every night, we would tuck Lucy in her basket under our bed. She would yap prettily, give us a quick lick, then settle in for the night. But some time during the night, she would wake up, jump on to the bed, get under my sweater and climb up to my neck. I would wake up in the morning a two headed creature, with Lucy's face snuggled up against my ear. It was the best way to wake up.

She was the gentlest, most well-behaved and friendliest puppy I have ever met, even after all these years. She didn't dirty the house (well, not much anyway), she didn't chew up stuff, she never bit anyone or anything. She chased away the dreaded monkeys fearlessly, and was always energetic and full of life. Above all, she was selfless in her love and devotion to us.

She was our best friend and most faithful companion.

And within a week, I had said to her what I had never said to anyone besides my parents - "I love you... so much".

Obviously, this isn't Lucy and me. I will update this with an actual picture of  us the next time I go to Amma's.

Those few golden weeks went by all too fast. Our upstairs neighbour had recently lost his wife and was left to cope with two teenage sons. He, too, was taken up by Lucy's charm and friendliness, and once told Amma he'd like to keep a dog himself. Taking pity on him, and with Appa's concerns about frequent transfers weighing on her mind, Amma offered to give him Lucy.

Pree and I cried our eyes out. How could Amma do this to us, give away Lucy? Amma, a bit tearful herself, gently explained as best as she could that AB Uncle needed Lucy more than us. He needed a companion, and anyway we could always see her and play with her. She was just a climb up the stairs away.

At that age, giving up Lucy was the hardest thing the two of us had ever done in our entire life. We spent our days looking for every single opportunity to spend time with her, and our nights were steeped in gloom.

Things were made worse when we found Lucy pawing at our front door every morning, begging to be let in. We often found her digging for food in the dumpster behind our house. As it turned out, raising two teenage sons was job enough for AB Uncle and he couldn't be bothered with a rambunctious puppy. I think wanting to keep Lucy was a momentary fancy that struck him, and he didn't actually want the responsibility.

How we hated that man then onwards. First to take away our puppy (he didn't refuse even once when Amma offered to give him Lucy), then to neglect her in this shameful manner and not even give her back to us - what kind of a man does that to the best, most loving puppy in the world?

We took to feeding her and taking care of her again, as and when we could. Every night, AB Uncle would call her back inside and let her out at irregular times during the day. Often, there would be no one at our home when she was finally let outside, and she would be left hungry and uncared for.

Then one fine day, we returned home to find that Lucy was gone.

We later pieced together what had happened from various people (everyone in campus knew Lucy). AB Uncle had, as usual, not fed Lucy enough. She was nosing around in the dumpster by the road, when a passing group of tourists on their way back from the famous Monkey Point temple saw her and picked her up. She had no collar on, and looked like just another stray.

A gardener from the Mess saw Lucy in their arms and rushed to call Appa. But it was too late. They were long gone by then.

Till today, I imagine Lucy in a large garden, living with a warm, caring family and romping happily with gentle, loving children. I have always hoped that Lucy found love wherever she went. I hold on to that hope as much for her sake as mine.

Lucy, my first true love.

In remembrance of Lucy.
Image from Google.


***

You can read more about my childhood experiences in Kasauli here

19 comments:

  1. Awww...its very nice written..all the best

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  2. i am always against having pets because i know i have to see them die one day. but we never have any dearth of them in our house. these days we have a dog (desi) and a cat. cat's mom stayed in our house for almost 12 years but once her kids were grown up, she suddenly left one day. cat's sister died a month ago because of wrong treatment and i consider myself responsible for that. i called the vets because she was not eating properly. but may be because of all the iv shots she died after 5 days. i still find it difficult to believe that she is gone forever.

    i could feel the emotion in this post. and i think your AB uncle should have returned Lucy. raising pets is a big responsibility and people shouldn't go for it if they aren't prepared for it (especially when they are well taken care of by someone else, like in this case Lucy was living happily in your house).

    a lovely post and if this is a contest post then all the best for it!!

    hope i didn't miss any of your posts. don't know what i am doing. i have lost my sanity due to lack of comments on my post :D

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    1. Don't worry my friend, I shall re-read all posts on your blog and post multiple comments so your sanity (at least what's left od it) remains intact :D

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  3. Amazing post...loved from the first line till the last....yes i too went through a similar trauma when i was approx. this age...!!!

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    1. I wouldn't call it trauma exactly - I cherish those memories, they were amongst the happiest times of my childhood. And it wasn't as though she died... I believe in my heart that she went to a good home and had a great life thereafter :)

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  4. As usual, wonderfully written.

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    1. Thanks for reading my post Vishal :)

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  5. reminds me of..."Lucy in the sky with diamonds"

    #the beatles

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  6. Very very cute story....Puppies are really adorable! good post....all the best.!

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  7. I is very painful parting with pets, I am so apprehensive of this separation that I don't keep pets. Your uncle should have thought before coming up with the proposal, keeping pets requires their good care and its not a mean job. very well written post. All the best!

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    1. Parting with a pet is painful, but the joys of having one in your life is worth it. Thanks for the wishes :)

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  8. Is that a real story? Did Lucy sleep under your sweater, near your neck? I am so jealous. Yes, parting with a pet is very very hard. I did it 3 times in my life and I have promised never to keep a pet--I cant stand the heart damage. Your write-up moves so easily, the emotions are so tangible...I felt all the ups and downs with you....

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    1. Yes, this is a true story. She was the cutest thing. We have tended to stray dogs and cats in most places we've lived in, but never kept another one as a pet. I'm still hopeful I'll keep a pet again :)

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  9. Hi Mixi,this is my first visit to your blog. I loved reading it. The way Lucy entered your house and how you lost it is very very touching.I can feel your emotions. I have a pet dog Elsa in our house. .Everyone in the house adores her. She is an important member of our family.. Visit my blog ,whenever you have time.
    Wish you all the best for the competition.

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    1. Thank you for reading and sharing your thoughtful comment, Ma'am. I will surely visit your blog :)

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  10. lovely one ....:) congrats for winning the WOW :)

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    1. Thanks a lot Saurabh!

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