Sunday, 16 December 2007

Isn't Ruby precious?

His dad turned at him with a stern, disapproving look in his face. The young boy cuddled up her in his arms and repeated whatever he had said earlier, but this time in a low voice, “Dad, my tutor’s dog delivered 4 puppies today and the tutor was very happy to give me this”. Saying this, he showed to his dad the small, cute pup which he had held. It was a pure country breed with golden colored skin. “Is it a male dog or female?” Dad asked. “It’s a girl dog papa” was the boy’s reply.

Dad was initially apprehensive about the boy’s love for the dog. Maybe the teacher had brainwashed him into keeping the pup because she now had extra puppies to take care of. Maybe he was just being too childish and wanted to show off to his friends that he was a brave kid who could handle dogs. Nevertheless, he allowed the boy to keep her. He took the pup to the doctor and got it vaccinated. Then they fed her with milk. The boy took a basket to his room and made a cosy bed on it in no time. He had already grown fond of her. They christened her – RUBY!

The boy’s name was Guru and he lived in a small town along the coast of Karnataka. The boy’s father was the eldest among ten siblings and thiers was a large family. Guru had two sisters- Su, the elder and Re the younger. Dad worked in a bank as a manager and though it was a joint family, they stayed in a separate house which had a big lawn in front of it. It was ideal for the boy to frolic along with his sisters and the pup.

Very soon, the boy grew very fond of the pup and the family grew very attached to Ruby. Even the cousins who came to their place started playing with the dog and she became the centre of every one’s attention. Guru’s mom used to give Ruby a bath twice every week and all members of the family used to pamper her a lot. With so much of care and attention centred on her, Ruby grew up into a fine fat dog, with golden hair all upon her. She could not have asked for a better place on earth to live.

In course of time, Guru grew up into a young man and became very much focussed on his career. He soon found himself a good job and his elder sister got married. In middle of his busy schedule, Guru always found time for Ruby, playing with her and pampering her by running his hand around her golden mane. He loved the dog very much. When he returned home after a hard day’s work, Ruby used to run to the gate and wag her tail in full force. He forgot all the hard work and pain he had gone through in the day when he was with her. Guru got married soon after he had settled in his job and the new member joining the family only added more joy in Ruby’s life. Guru’s wife liked Ruby very much and she too started to pamper her like her husband and Ruby could not have asked for more.

Guru’s work soon got transferred to
Bangalore and the family had to shift to the city. They found themselves a rented home and started living there. Ruby found it hard to get adjusted to the noise and the congestion in the city. In their hometown, Ruby could run around the fields and play with Guru’s cousins. But the constant flow of vehicles and the loud noise of the city made it very uncomfortable for her. Often, she used to go inside Guru’s room and sleep under his cot. And whenever she went out, all the people in the neighbourhood admired her and her upbringing. They all felt she was a nicely bred, nicley brought-up dog.

When Guru’s wife gave birth to a new baby girl, the joy in the family reached new heights. Everyone rejoiced the arrival of the new family member. Sweets were distributed to all the members in the neighbourhood. Gifts started to pour in from everywhere. And in middle of all this festive atmosphere, Ruby stood and silently admired her new mistress, who would soon grow up and play with her just like her dad did. Guru had given her such a nice life and she could not have asked for anything more. She had served his family all her life and they had taken very good care of her.

But life always takes unexpected twists and turns- just when you think you are at the peak of the mountain, there is something that pushes you down – into the deep abyss where you would never think you would land up in all your life. That’s what happened to Ruby too. All of a sudden, the whole family shifted to Chennai. They sold Ruby to a Christian family that satyed near their home in
Bangalore and went off taking everything else. Ruby shouted in agony giving those loud, painful calls, as if asking her master to take her along with him. But they dint even turn their back to see her. They just went away......

Mama is just a neutral observer in this tragic story. I happened to be one of Guru’s neighbours during the brief time that he stayed in
Bangalore. Guru’s family was farly related to mine and we shared the same mother-tongue. During the early days when they had come to stay here, I spent long hours talking with Guru and his family and getting to know them. I was in my college then. I used to fear Ruby just because she was a dog and I was always afraid of dogs. But her grace and the way that she conducted herself was a real surprise for me. I started to like her. I started to observe her movements and her reactions to the world outside- the way she chased the boys of the loclaity when they played, the way she barked at rag-pickers who came to our streets and scared them away, the way she used to cry and get inside the house whenever someone burst loud crackers during Diwali- all these made me like her a lot. I never considered her a mere dog. She was really special- the one dog that made me overcome my fear for all dogs.


And it was because of what they had done to her that I started to hate Guru and his family. I can never forgive them all my life. During the initial days when left, Ruby never ate anything. She immediately lost the shine and glow she always had. She bacame pale and thin. The Christian family to which they had sold her tried all possible means to give her a second home. But Ruby never went there. Instead she used to come to our house and sit in front of the gate all day. Whenever I saw her, she used to stand up and stare at me. If God had given Ruby the power of speech, she would surely ask me, “Why did Guru leave me? what wrong did I do?” I was speechless as I did not know the answer myself. I just felt very bad that they had left her. My family used to feed her bread and rusk as much as possible to make her regain her weight. But she was too depressed to eat. Somehow, she managed to carry her life for two years along with the other street dogs.

And then tragedy stuck! Last month, a speeding car on our street knocked Ruby on her hind legs and that left our sweet Ruby crippled for life. She cried in agony the whole night and the entire neighbourhood was there trying to help her. They all talked about how nice a dog she had been and lamented on the fate that had befallen her. The next morning, they took Ruby to a rehabilitation centre for dogs and that was the last time I saw her.

Today, as I write this post, I cant help but feel sad about the fate of Ruby. She was the dog whom I would have loved to keep with me all my life. She had made me change my view about dogs from one of fear to one filled with care and love. She personified faith and the mute love that dogs are always known for. But what a life God had given her. She had all the happiness in her life. She had a nice and caring family. But all of a sudden, the script of the story changed from bad to worse and then came the worst. Why did all this happen to her? She was the most gracious and faithful dog that I have ever come across and still Guru chose to abandon her just like that- Why? Would he have done the same thing to his new-born daughter? Isn’t Ruby precious?

3 comments:

Sameer said...

nice post. what a depressing life for the dog. I have a pet too(cat), whom we adore..and thats the reason ur post was very involving :)........

Rashmi said...

ever thought of adopting Ruby?

Shashia said...

@sameer
thanks for getting involved man. I felt really sorry that we lost her

@rashmi
Yes... we tried everything to keep her with us. But, she was very depressed and would never stay with us. We even made a bed for her and fed her daily. But she never stayed there. Only when she was really hungry, she used to come and eat whatever we had kept. We did not want to force anything upon her.