I was not born a dog lover. In fact, until 2 years ago, I was ambivalent towards dogs, perhaps even a little scared of them. On one fateful trip to Sakleshpur, I met Shunti, the dog belonging to the home stay where we stayed. She made me fall in love with dogs. Six months later, we brought home Buttons, a 2 weeks old Indie pup someone had tied up in a garbage bag and left to die. He turned my life upside down.

Before we brought him home, we were plagued with doubt. Our financial situation was not particularly bright. Butto needed a lot of time and attention, being so young, which we weren’t sure we could give. We would no longer be able to travel as often… Despite the nagging doubts, we brought him home anyway.

And gave him up for adoption 2 months later. Believing that it was for his best. The 3 weeks that he was away from us was the darkest, bleakest period of our lives. We looked at each other, speechless, our life empty. The patter of his little feet echoed around us. It took us a 3 week battle to get him back, and each day of it only made us surer that we needed him to survive.

SR and I are both staunch believers, and we know that it was God who gave Buttons back to us. We will forever be grateful for that second chance.

In the past year that I’ve had Butto, I’ve swung between frustration and delight, felt my heart swell with love, felt crazily happy in the bleakest of times… I have cried into his furry little body, and laughed as he licked my tears away with his worried expression… I have scolded him and cuddled him. Kissed him and held him. I have died many times in between when he fell sick.

As I write this, Buttons is sprawled on my lap. Running my fingers through his soft fur and listening to his quiet, even breathing is more calming and relaxing than any yoga maneuver I could attempt.

Butto has changed the two of us forever. SR and I are now far more patient, more relaxed, more appreciative of the truly priceless things in life. He has taught us to love unconditionally and believe without questioning. We’re still learning though.

Someone once told me that my dog is very lucky. That’s bullshit.

It is we who are lucky, blessed, to have him in our lives. Because a world without our little fellow is not one worth living in.

This post is not just a tribute to Buttons. It is also a call for action. If any of you is considering adopting a dog, but holding yourself back because you are not sure how he will fit into your life, do remember that all it takes is commitment.

A promise you make to a dog that you will love and protect him for the rest of your life or his, whichever is longer. Once you make that promise, everything else will fall in place. Work, travel, money… there will be workarounds to everything, if you commit.

What you will get in return is indescribable. But I promise, it will be heaven.

If this ain’t love, baby…

“How do you know it’s love?”

This is a question I’d been pondering over since I was fifteen – how do I recognize the Real Thing when it happens?

I had a simple test. Anytime I liked someone, and I wasn’t sure where it was heading, I would close my eyes and imagine seeing him every day, day and night, for the rest of my life. Wake up next to him, have breakfast together, see him again at night, sleep with him, wake up again next to him, and so on and on for sixty years. That was usually enough to turn me off big time.

Until I met SR. For the first time in life, I felt it wouldn’t be so bad seeing this guy for the rest of my life. I even felt it might be fun. And boy, has it been fun!

This post is dedicated to you, SR. For being my sunshine. The anchor of my sanity. The very air I breathe.

10 things that tell me I am loved.

  1. The way I magically wake up in my bed every morning tucked under my comforter, no matter where I fall asleep the night before – on the couch, the armchair or the floor. I still don’t know when or how you manage to move 65 kilos of solid flesh across two rooms without the said body even stirring.
  2. The way you take the long way home just so that I can finish listening to a favorite song that’s playing on the car radio without it shutting off midway. And the way you listen to my vociferous, ungrateful rants about wasting petrol.
  3. The way you keep re-filling my hot water bottle and making me comfort food at all times of the day and night when I am sick, without ever registering protest through word, deed or expression.
  4. The way you quietly do all the little chores I hate without me having to ask – filling up the water purifier and stocking bottles and containers with provisions top the list. And yet, if I actually ask you to do a chore, the way you put it off as long as you possibly can…
  5. The way you never ever say no to anything I want – whether it was going all the way back to the Big Bazaar just to get me the top I liked but regretted not buying; or making the Archies store owner reopen his shutters at 10 in the night to get me the smiley doll. And letting me name him (the doll) Appy Hippie. Mallu fans of Boban & Molly comics would know this character quite well.
  6. The way you told me, “I can’t let you watch it alone if it’s the first time you’re watching it” and watched Valentine’s Day with me on Friday night. And hating it every minute. But not fiddling with your mobile even once.
  7. The way you listen to me repeat every anecdote from Agatha Christie’s autobiography without interrupting, even though you’ve heard it all a million times already. And how you buy me every book about Christie that anyone ever wrote.
  8. The way you always make me a “kutti dosai”; And a smiley face with ketchup and cheese spread on my omelet plate. And the way you bring it to me, eyes shining with pleasure.
  9. The way you set up elaborate Treasure Hunts and riddle games and send me chasing all around the building in search of clues. You can give Raj Koothrapalli a run for his money any day.
  10. The way you swear I am the most beautiful woman in the world, even when I know I look like something the cat dragged in. What points you lose for honesty you gain for loyalty.

I could go on and on, and never stop. That’s why I titled this list before I even started. Let me close by borrowing from the Bard of Avon.

Of all my loves this is the first and last
That in the autumn of my years has grown,
A secret fern, a violet in the grass,
A final leaf where all the rest are gone.

You are my sun and stars, my night, my day,
My autumn song, the altar at which I pray.
My seasons, summer, winter, my sweet spring, 

My land and ocean, and all that the earth can bring.

Would that I could give all and more, my life,
My love – eternal, endless and true…
Of glory and of sustenance, all that is divine,
My world and my thoughts, and all that was ever mine.

That’s enough mush for a Saturday afternoon. 🙂