As we walk along the path of life, we come cross many definitions of the word ‘love’. The word has just four letters and yet these four letters are strong enough to keep up alive – sometimes when we are down or depressed and sometimes when we are spend time with our special someone – our parents, partners, siblings, friends or our pets. To me, love is defined by the feeling that is so strong that it overwhelms us and overcomes all other emotions. It is a feeling that makes someone neglected feels they belong somewhere. It is a feeling that touches in more than one way the lives of those who give and those who receive. A very insignificant little being made me realize that love can also evoke humility in our heart – in a strange way that defies all reasons.
Four months ago, just as winter was saying ‘Hi’ to the city of Kolkata, in an abandoned house opposite my residence, three little four-legged sisters were born to a mother who looked much undernourished. The tiny puppies ignored the fact that they did not get fed by their mother and ran around playfully, enjoying the bliss of each others’ company. We felt sorry for the state that they were in and gradually I and my family decided to give them food each day. The mother along with their babies enjoyed the warmth of the food that was offered to them on the cold days and nights. Suddenly, their happiness seemed to disappear little at a time, as one puppy came under the tyres of a car and another suddenly fell very ill and perished within a few weeks. Now, the last puppy was too lonely as she did not have anyone to play with. Her mother seemed to have been in a lot of emotional stress. She missed her lost puppies and gave up eating gradually.
I went close to her and tried to console her in whatever way possible. Slowly she began taking her food again but her health did not recover. The lack of emergency services for animals in my city only added to her woes. I could not get to anyone who could help. For days together I tried to give her little food and medicines that were known to me. One night in February 2015, after having her food, she came close to me and touched my right leg with her head and stood still that way for what seemed a very long time, although it might have been just a few minutes. I felt something being conveyed to me – her pain or loss or gratitude … what was it? I could not understand her silent whispers. All I could do was pet her on the skeletal head and talk a little. By this time, she has turned into a bag of bones and skin, with no flesh or fat. I was too helpless to do anything at all. I prayed that she be either healed or relieved from her distress. And someone up there did listen … only to the last part of my prayer
For the next three days, I did not see her anywhere. I tried to search for her in every nook and corner of the streets and lanes and houses that lined the streets. But it did not help. One day, in the morning of 27th February 2015, I saw her lying still in-front of the gate of my house. I do not know when she breathed her last. But I knew she took her last breath outside my gate. Perhaps, she knew that this was the only place that had a soul that loved her, fed her and petted her. In those moments, she did not have to tell me in words about her feelings for me, but by dragging herself to where she laid still told me in a hundred thousand silent words, that she loved me and she thanked me for all I did for her. She humbled me with this little gesture and her love is something that will remain with me for rest of my life. Since she was a stray, she had no place to go, no one to call her own. Her life was as insignificant to the world as that of a fly, but she has touched a very special place in my heart and she will remain there forever.