Monday, May 11, 2009

A Prince's Tale

Some nine and a quarter years back I saw him for the first time. Tender as a flower he was. I lifted him with the care his body deserved and placed him in my lap. He was as innocent as was he vulnerable. He gave a look as if he longed for something. What exactly it was, I did not know. I was told he was just two days old. I precisely remember the moment when I was handed over a nipple fitted bottle of milk and was asked to feed him. I did exactly that. I kept petting him all the time while he was busy sipping. He was having the very first visions of the new world. When he finished I cuddled him up in my arms and then softly placed him back in his cozy little bed. But for a few more moments I couldn’t take my eyes off him. Oh it was instantaneous; I had already fallen in love with him. A small table watch was kept in the folds of his little blankets so as to make him mistake the ticks of the watch for his mother’s heartbeats. Then he slept peacefully. Oh, forgot to tell, he was my maternal uncle’s Alsatian pet, a gift to him from one of his cousins. By the way I was a thirteen years old teenager back then.


            My uncle and his wife haven’t had a child from their marriage, but they have had a bit of a tradition of having pets. I guess in a way they got their share of emotional satisfaction from them. Anyway, my uncle was something of a nationalist and had a rather funny way of naming his pets. He had had a Diana, a Richard and a Charlie till now after the British royal family. Naming dogs after their names was some sort of a revenge for what they had subjected India to for centuries. Now obviously we were in a hunt for another royal family member to name our little kid after. But surprisingly we were lacking in any new names and obviously we had no intention of calling him Charlie-II just as the royal family does. After some fruitless struggle we finally settled for the name most royal of all-Prince. It was only later that I realized how befitting the name was.


            Few days later I visited him back, he had grown into a creature double the size of what he was born with. I wondered how big he would grow in a year’s time. Anyways, we were best of friends since ever. He owned a very soft corner for himself in my heart. So I always did what he wished us to do. We played with each other, me and him, we walked, we ran, and we enjoyed it all. I never scolded him, instead I gave him food and lots of it. In short, I was his favorite and he was mine. I simply loved him, and more so being with him. When ever we met he used to jump up on me and then lick me up [to the sounds of Yuck from everybody else of course]. And I hugged him back.


Time passed. Days, weeks and then months. My amazement about his size was growing steadily. Now he was the biggest Alsatian I had ever seen. Honestly if he ran over anyone now, only god could help him. But he was good fellow. Never harmed anyone. Now as like any other kid his age, he was going to tutions. No; in fact the tutor came to his place. He was a rich dog you see. He was being taught how to respond to calls, when to sit, when to walk, when to stop and much more. In short, he was taught how to behave.

Anyways, time kept flying. He grew older. He now traveled in uncle’s car also. His diet changed. And so did his intelligence. I frequently heard uncle boasting people about how intelligent prince was. But he was true. Prince had antennas to detect even the slightest of frown on a forehead. His response changed according to our mood. But with me he was all the same. Although I was growing up and was busy in my studies we still had all the fun when ever we met. He would overlook any other orders from anyone else if he knew I was there as I would always save him.  Sometimes when uncle used to be out of town I would stay with him. It was thorough fun. We used to sit and watch TV together. I often wondered what his favorite channel was. Well things like these kept happening, and I got more and more busy in my life. We still met occasionally but with the same old passion. Our love was unconditional.


            You know doctors have an amazing way of comparing a dog’s age to a man’s. They say just multiply the dog’s age by 8 and you would get the human equivalent. By the same logic, Prince was 74 when he died………today……


No I can’t accept it. What the hell should I do if they age faster; to me he was just a 9 year old. My very own prince who almost started living in my own hands…. No No No. I simply CAN NOT accept it. I will not. I haven’t had enough of him. I know he was ill , but, so what?  Yes I cried, I went into the kitchen to supposedly have a glass of water and I cried secretly, didn’t speak to any one for some time for I knew it would show. But all of them knew I was crying. With watered eyes I came out. They were making preparations for his last ride. Ironically, in the same car he loved traveling by. Two men were going to bury him for us. With tears in my eyes I fired the engine and we set out. Uncle was reasonably fine. As if he had seen it all with his earlier pets. To me it was extremely unfair nonetheless. He couldn't just go. We reached the place. By the local river. They dug a hole. And then placed his body inside it. Then poured some packets of salt over the body. Me and uncle then threw a few stones and some soil into his grave. I knew I was seeing him for the very last time. All the moments we spent together flashed right in front of my eyes in that instant. From the first day I saw him to his last. I bid him a heavy hearted good bye. Prayed to god to let him rest in peace.


He has gone far beyond me now. I don’t know where. I know I wouldn’t find him any more and my uncle would pet yet another one in a few days, I know even my life will change, don’t know what will become of me in the times to come, but, I would always love you prince. Just the way I always used to. May god bless your soul.