The Perfect Sibling

doggies

I am happy and in bliss for everything that God has bestowed on me; my loving parents, their respect in the society, the beautiful house we live in and the good school that I go to. But yes, I do have a strong longing to have a sibling for I am a single child. I feel the need to share my thoughts, feelings and ideas with whom I can be comfortable with and lay my trust on.  Being a single child is very lonely and boring. Life doesn’t seem as interesting and exciting as most of my school friends. My parents are ever busy in their work and in maintaining their pace in this fast world leaving little or no time to spend with me. This makes my life dull and I envy my friends who talk nonstop about their pleasures and displeasure’s with their older and younger siblings.

 

I personally yearn for a sister as I feel girls are more understanding. They are naturally considerate and kind without being judgemental. They have a knack to give most befitting advice. I have observed my class girls being smart and intelligent; quick and witty almost ready to offer solution to anything and everything. Honestly, I marvel at their abilities.  I shall pray to god every day that if ever in future, and how I wish it to be in immediate future, I have a sibling, it should be a sister. My baby sister who I will always protect, love and share my thoughts with. The very thought excites me.

 

I walk down to my school as it is barely five minutes away from my home. In the span of those five minutes I see so many street dogs in egregious condition; without food and water, no shelter, people running their cars over them or kicking and shooing them away. On the other hand, I also witness dogs of famous breeds walking pompously alongside their masters or their servants with fancy leashes and dog poopers to quickly remove odorous and unpleasant poop thankfully leaving clean area for others to continue their walk. My heart bleeds watching homeless dogs mercilessly beaten for peeing and pooping. Hypocrites! Heatless humans. Poor homeless creatures with longing to be loved run away only to come back later, perhaps to find some loving soul. We face a baffling irony in our country. People spend lavishly on breeds like St. Bernard’s, Siberian Husky’s, Great Danes, Rottweilers and many more. Breeding is one cruel business I heard someone saying once. But what about these humble cousins? I find them the finest dogs in the world. They are good looking, sharp, friendly, possessive and have a great attitude; love the friendly ones and shrink away from the unfriendly lot. This modest variety is essentially neglected due to our pretentious society. I strongly suggest to adopt these beautiful street dogs instead of buying and showing off foreign breeds. My brain is often in conflict because I find all of us spending so much in buying beautiful things but leave these homeless creatures unattended only to live like orphans. Why can’t people see their sorrowful eyes and tend to them? Can’t we just spend one thousand rupees on their food and health and make this world a better place for them. After all what do they want from us? I am sure our cordial communication will fill them with joy.

 

Out of the bunch, one tiny white furred one caught my attention. A couple of days back I had stopped at a department store to buy me a chocolate milkshake. This adorable being was sitting outside the main door of the store looking perhaps to be fed. As I stepped out and stroked this baby it lied on its back only to be rubbed more and feel the warmth. I was delighted to find it a female and a sudden rush of affection flowed from me to her. I had once read that when dogs lie on their back it meant they like you and want you to pet them. I sat next to her and rubbed her stomach. She looked happy like a child is with mother’s caresses. She felt protected and sheltered and incessantly licked my fingertips and nibbled them in want of food. I looked at her carefully. She seemed to be an abandoned and starved child. Her yearning eyes spoke so much and I wanted to urgently feed her. I picked her up and gallantly strode to the pharmacy store that displayed dog food at its entry with my only 500 rupee note intact in my pocket. There was a Pedigree packet in yellow and pink colour which said ‘Puppy- Chicken and Milk’ with images of two dogs cuddling each other. I grabbed the three kilograms’ pack and asked for the price from the man sitting behind the counter. Before he could reply my eyes fell on the sticker mentioning 540/- so I asked if the smaller pack is available which sadly was not. Looking at my unease and my pretty furry baby he extended a discount of forty rupees. I was touched by his gesture which made me think that the world also has kind and generous people. I asked for a scissor, placing her on the floor cut the packet open from top. She immediately sprang pushing me in frenzy upon seeing the food and hearing the sound of my hands crumpling the edges backwards, dig her mouth almost inside the packet with arms all the way stretched with determination and firmly kept on my wrist, her legs gave her full support by being solidly placed on the ground. She looked like a little lioness on a prowl.

 

After few days of mutual friendship there was no sign of her. Days passed by. I was now perturbed and agitated. Was she alright? I hoped she was not harmed. I went to the department store and to the pharmacy in case she was cocooned there for safety but to my utter surprise she was nowhere to be seen. I asked the tea vendor situated at the corner of the lane as I had seen her there, couple of times chewing the disposable tea cups. I had always stopped her from chewing those cups and fed her with her favourite pedigree ‘Chicken and Milk’ dog food. I also questioned the florist adjacent to the departmental store as she was fond of smelling the fragrant flowers, especially lavender and orchids kept in the bucket at the entrance of the shop, her head high with her elongated neck. No one was interested to know about her. The flowers didn’t look beautiful in her absence nor the fragrance was noticeable. I even went to the Aggarwal Sweets Shop as I thought the smell of sweets might have invited her to chance on something. But the owner had no idea of her whereabouts.  Without her it seemed as if my heart drowned in the Indian Ocean. Days passed by.

 

Today, in my mathematics class the teacher caught me drawing. Obviously, I drew my soft white four legged baby. Her sad face. The teacher yelled at me asking, “what is this? Is this what you do in your maths class?” I weakly apologised in vain and carefully looked at the drawing to see if I had missed anything to it. And then it struck me. To redraw her ears in somewhat triangular shape with drooping edges. I made a firm decision to later fill in the picture with my crayons that I had received on my eighth birthday last year from my maternal grandmother. But my thoughts were distracted as the teacher held my hands angrily and dragged me to the principal’s office. Perhaps I did not hear her reiterated warning.

 

At the dining table both pair of eyes were on me, mom’s were soft and caring but dad’s were of demur. The principal had complained to my parents about my inattentiveness. My father is a Chartered Accountant and he takes the subject of Math extremely seriously. Any digression from it is highly intolerable to him. I was quiet on the table and would have kept quiet throughout, but, I think I had to vent the anger out because of loneliness or maybe I missed my white furred baby too much. Everything was alright up till dad said, “we sent you to a good school Ronit. And this is how you make use of it, drawing in your math class. It is shameful”. I was almost in tears but kept my face terse to keep my dignity.

 

When he did not get any reaction from me, I heard him saying, “you will not go to your drawing hobby class from now on.” This hit me. Drawing classes were like balm to my lonely evenings. I stood up crying unmindful of my tears and screamed somewhat frustratingly, “This would have not happened if I had a sibling. You both have no time to spend with me. My evenings are forlorn and by the time you come back from your respective work I am off to bed. I made a harmless friend and now even she has gone away. The pain of loneliness is heart tearing and dangerous.” Wiping my tears and clearing my throat I continued, “it is almost lethal dad. I am very lonely. Why does everyone leave me? I am alone at home, in school, even my dog friend has left me now. You both are too engrossed in your lives to feel my pain and now I can’t even draw? It is only the blank drawing sheets who understands me and listens to me. It lets me express myself and talk. And now you are taking that away from me.” I then ran away to my room. I could see the lightning from the window. So I went to the balcony and all I could think of was my white furred baby. I was worried of her whereabouts. After sometime I came back to the room and sat on my bean bag.

 

The drawing was still kept on the dining table and mom must have had a look at it. While I heard the vehement rain pouring outside I simultaneously heard her speak to dad. “You should at least have a look at his drawing. It is beautiful. He is sensitive and cares for the street dogs. We hardly spend time with him and he is right about having a sibling. They talked for some time but with my grief I could not comprehend.

 

It was getting late enough to be worried. I once again stepped into the balcony and looked down. Except for a drenched street dog that was lying down miserably near the corner of the gate, there was not a soul to be seen anywhere. Rain water had puddled under the lamp post. A breeze ruffled the mango tree in the courtyard and a few twigs fell down and broke. Thunder rumbled in the distance. Did I hear a soft knock at the door? I turned back and went to open the door. Mom was standing with her consoling eyes and asked me if I wanted to drink a cup of hot chocolate.

“It is raining. Hot drink would do you good.” she said.

“No thanks. I am fine mom.” I replied dolefully and went to the balcony again. As I stood in melancholy I could not see the drenched street dog that was earlier lying near the gate. I was stunned. Why did everyone seem to vanish in a jiffy from my life?

Mom sat on my bed with a confounding smile on her face. I didn’t want to look miserable to her. So I went to the kitchen to eat my favourite Oreo cookies to brighten up my mood and when I stepped out of the kitchen I saw the main door of the house open and dad standing right in front of me.

 

He said, “Ronit, there is someone who would like to meet you.” I could not fathom who would want to see me at ten in the night. I went near the door and heard different forms of onomatopoeia. There she was. My eyes popped open wide and tears of joy trickled down my cheeks. She jumped right at me and I held her in my arms. I kissed her and hugged her tight. My excitement of reunion knew no bounds. She had grown big in these three weeks but looked weak. Her tiny paws touched my face for reassurance and her unstoppable licks made me exultant. Mom fed her with milk and me with hot chocolate milk.

 

Later Dad told me that he recognised the drooping ears in the drawing. It was the very dog that sat under his car in the basement parking and even he had felt affection for this little being. As soon he had seen the drawing he went to the parking where she was peacefully sleeping at her usual place. It took a while to get her as she was first frightened. Luckily, anticipating non co-operation from the frail being his intellect had alerted him to carry biscuits to lure her. After a pause and watching my indulgence with her, Dad continued, “I think you both are inseparable, Ronit. I am sorry. I should have understood you better. By the way, she will live with us now.” He looked at mom with a smile. They both looked at us and it felt like the family was complete. I could not let her go off my arms and I thanked god for giving me what I wanted.

 

“She is not a human but she is my perfect sibling.”

 

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Jayant Uppal

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