I Am You And What I See Is Me

My first memory of meeting a dog is when I am 5. A street dog has given birth to puppies and my mother takes me to meet them. I have vivid memories of how she teaches me to assure the dog mother that I don’t mean harm and how to pet the small puppies and scrub their bellies. I am excited about the experience. My parents never let me fear animals. There is no us and them. We are all one. Fear is never the word, it is always love and assurance. I forever thank them for this. My father has all sorts of pets – owl, monkey, dog, birds, rabbits. I am amazed by his trust. Love is trust.

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As a child I am drawn to animals but am not allowed to have pets due to several complicated reasons. I always long to have a dog. After many years I meet these puppies. This is right after Vipasanna course and I feel this is a gift for me in store. I bring the puppies home and take care of them. Name them Gubbi and Laadu. They look so lost and delicate and vulnerable and carefree and alone. I instantly fall in love with them.

I am you and what I see is me.

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Later I meet Mithoo. She is a metaphor for abandonment, abuse, pain, insecurities, fear and loneliness. The fear in her is gripping. I want to protect her, protect her from this unforgiving world and rescue her from her fears. If only she could trust me. That choice is hers to be. I hope I can earn her trust. Even before I realize I become her mother. Is rescuing love?

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I explain to Y, V & k about how entangled I feel with her. There is no space between us.

But let there be spaces in your togetherness, And let the winds of the heavens dance between you.

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Mithoo develops behavioral issues. I take it personally that I failed her. I lose confidence in my parenthood. I want to be by her side. I want to be able to give her time . I want to trust her to deal with her anxiety. Trust. Trust is crucial. Trusting uncertainty. The complexities of parenthood. Of wanting to give your children freedom and yet expect them to do the right thing, right thing by you. We are all selfish in our act of love and too egoistic to accept it gracefully. Love is selfishness.

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Mithoo takes her own sweet time. She learns to trust the world around her. “It is alright to be scared, Mithoo! I am always here for you, my darling,” I tell her. Love is acceptance.

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And she also learns to be aware of her choices. She learns to accept. And she learns to reject. I want to listen to her. Love is listening.

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I meet Dalmatian. I see a wonderful mother in her. She knows when to be strict and when to pamper. It is a fine, delicate balance. I learn from her. I admire her because she is so real. Love is being yourself.

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I meet Mili. I instantly feel a strong connection with her. I want to take her in my arms. I want to adopt her. She is so delicate and vulnerable and so infinitesimally small. Death kills her after a week. I don’t make peace with her death. I dont grieve. I obsess. I obsess for months on end. I feel addicted to a replacement. Y says, “It is unhealthy.” I say, “So be it, I want another Mili.” Mithoo is unable to understand.

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I meet Tubbu. I long for the same connection. I never feel it with him. He is wonderful but he is not mine. I have lost Mili. Mili is never coming back. Mili cannot be replaced. Death is brutally honest. Love is death.

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Marley & me. I am not ready to foster her. I feel angry on the inside. I hate her. She is annoyingly adorable. I now understand violence. Love is hatred.

Never tickle the dragon if you can’t bear the heat.

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I meet Inoo. I have forced myself to foster her. But I have grown to feel attached to her. Inoo resembles Mili. Inoo isn’t Mili. Love is learning to love.

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Love is Identifying. Love is Patience. Love is Letting Go. Love is Observing.

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Love is knowing. Love is not knowing. Love is half knowing.


Present tense has its own charm. I want to explore this artistic decision of writing in the present tense. Please note : Most events in the blog are a past memory.


Thank you, dear Y for the beautiful photos!


Mithoo & Inoo know their names but dont recognize me by my name. It is literallly a nameless relation. (Pun intended!)


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The Grim Reaper & Me

Its been 4 years since Y & I have been involved in rescue and rehabilitation of injured street dogs & cats. Rescued pets are often low on immunity, in spite of the medication & efforts you take, some make it, some don’t. Y says,

Its a tragedy waiting to happen. Even if they make it, they can’t outlive you.

A couple of days back, our 11th rescued pet died. This was the 11th pet that died in our arms. We saw this tiny paralyzed kitten breathe her last. I haven’t seen death more closely. This was one of the many deaths we saw in the past few years.

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How do I deal with loss?”

“What does grieving mean to me?”

“How do I perceive death?

Death is not in the moment, death begins the day we were born. Each day something within us dies, cells, thoughts, emotions until one day we stop being. Death carries a certain settling feeling with it. There is closure in death, unlike when your pet is lost; perhaps he ran away, perhaps someone took him away, perhaps he died. You keep searching for him days on end and the doubt haunts you. There is an abrupt finality to death.

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I believe in this finality of death, ‘there is’ and ‘there isn’t’ and in between there are breaths. People are what they are and one day they will cease to exist. They will carry their moments, their good, bad, ugly secrets to the grave. Unlike death, secrets never die, they keep affecting people around them in mysterious ways. Secrets are immortal. Y says,

Secrets are like a monster. The deeper you bury them, the bigger & stronger they get. You bring them to light & they fade away.

Death is harsher to its survivors. The dead have died and have left behind their memories.

How do I deal with death?”

“No, I haven’t been able to accept death, anyone else’s and the thought of my own.”

Do I allow myself to grieve?

“They say grieving is healthy and has no time limit. Grieving is an art and I am no master at it. I mostly cry, sulk, be angry, act obsessive. I don’t let go, I just don’t let go.”

Why do I rescue half dead animals?

“Because more than death, what moves me is pain. Death isn’t as horrible as pain. And yes, also because I couldn’t have been any other way.”

What do pets mean to me?

“I am still figuring out.”

What do I think of death?”

“It is therapeutic in a weird way.”

What helps me deal with death?”

“Humour. The irony of it.

Louis C.K. on death – https://youtu.be/QPQu__ujKx4?t=39m58s

Louis C.K. some more on death – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iSIVvm7DRSw&list=RDiSIVvm7DRSw&index=1

Louis C.K. on pets & animals – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vb2DjcwltyE

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