Hello everybody. This touching real life story is by chatterboxerr’s second Atithi (guest writer), Mr.Abhishek. He’s a fellow enthusiastic reader and his vocation and passion is forestry. In school he used to drive me mad by always getting the first rank. Over to Treeman’s story then. Enjoy and connect.
In Memoriam, In Loving Memory of, etc. are all words we’re quite used to reading, watching and hearing. They come to our aid more often than not when we wish to articulate our feelings of loss upon the departure of someone dear from our lives, creating a void in our being. Amusingly, it is often observed that while most might appear to overcome such voids, the dent still remains……. Jyothi. A. Nair wasn’t a human let alone a Malayali. She was just another canine, a female amongst the many dogs I’ve befriended over the years. There were Robin & Rani in Kerala, Snowy in Delhi, Tommy & Julie in Coimbatore. The only thing common to them all was the fact that I was never their owner, they either belonged to relatives and friends or they happen to dwell in the same locality as I. But then, what was it about Jyothi that made her stand apart? Jyothi was my one friend who succeeded in moulding out a better human from the one that I was. She made me realize my strengths and worth when I was at my lowest possible ebb. She instilled in me the strength to be self-reliant and independent. She showed me that there were certain things in me that were good enough to be valued or followed, even when I myself didn’t think so…. Jyothi was our hostel pet and the lone female within the premises of the boys hostel. Jyothi had been here long, even before we first came here. I first caught sight of her during of her rounds to the hostel we first year students were in. Gradually, we developed a friendship that transcended most companionships that we see around us as we bonded over the left-over bits of food I occasionally offered her. As days passed I could see that there was hardly any area in and around the college campus that would be off-limits to Jyothi. She could be spotted pawing her way around the campus with the gait and attitude of one in charge. Even when I stood in lines during ragging in first year, waiting for those serial slaps and to break down crying, I would have her beside me wagging her tail. Mornings, she would usually be spotted barking away at cattle that came in or fiercely defending her territory from other dogs that came into the compounds. As I would leave my room for the morning practicals, she would run along with me from the hostel up to the department or even out into our fields. She would occasionally accompany me inside the dept. building right into my classroom, unmindful of the staff trying to scare her away. Every hosteller in our college recognized her well and behaved kindly towards her. But irrespective of whether or not she went out with me in the morning, she would without fail be there at the hostel gate each afternoon and evening waiting for my return and would run along back to my room. My Roll No. was towards the last in the class which meant the seating arrangement mostly left me at the rear end of the exam hall. There were occasions when Jyothi would walk in alongside me and lie down beside my seat until the invigilators would discover her and shoo her away eventually. Professors started pointing me out whenever they spotted her in the dept. Thereafter, once I was allotted a single room in the senior hostel, she took to sleeping in my cave (Room No. 79). She would be there every night scratching and pawing her way at the door, till I would let her in. She chose a particular napping spot below my study table and I fashioned out a doggy-bed for her from discarded jeans. Should she ever needed to be let out whilst I was asleep, she would again resort to scratching the door. Many a times, not realizing her to be sleeping in the room, I would casually lock my room and proceed for classes, leaving her in. it would be later in the day that I would realize her to be locked in and would return to let her out. Boy, her relief at the doors opening and finding me cannot be described in words. Assured, I would anyways be because she never dirtied my room or bed unlike my batch mates. (Fellas, no offence intended at all!!!). She took to defending my room as her own territory and would growl at anyone coming in, so much so that I liked to refer to her as the ‘Chief Security Officer of the Cave’. Winter nights with Jyothi were especially fun. I had the weird habit of staying up into odd hours of the night, watching movies or occasionally studying. Soon as I would start feeling drowsy, the prankster in me would be out. It would be then that me and Jyothi would start playing ‘Tug-of-War’ with random people’s clothes lying out to dry in the open. With both determined not to let go, it would sometimes end with the cloth tearing away at Jyothi’s end. When tired, I would settle down on the bench/ chair, listening to music and she would climb up to lie on my lap, panting away. From giving her bits of leftover food, it had come to sharing our food. Dinner time on Wednesdays would be special as Jyothi would wait eagerly for me to bring her the eggs from the mess. She had by then come to understand what I had intended when I would speak to her. Yes, that’s true for she listened to me better than most of my mates did. All this was when I was in the longest rough patch of my own life. I was staying away from family and relations for the first time and that too in a land that like most of the north seemed to have an allergy for the Madrasi that I was. I didn’t have many friends and never did dare to chill out with the few I apparently had. This they would perceive as my ego and would then go all the way to keep me isolated from the rest of the batch. They would never cease pestering me. My college life was like that, in a rut. I was learning slowly, the ways of the world one at a time. It was during those days that she and I forged our strong friendship. She was great company in my solitary existence and as already said a very peaceful listener. She shared my sorrows and joys alike. And, I too started keeping to myself and Jyothi, no longer feeling left out. Life was thus proceeding well, when one morning I found her dead. I was concerned as such since she was nowhere to be seen since last evening and my mates were quick to theorise that it must have been some poisoned rodent she consumed. I couldn’t bear the sight of my Jyothi lying motionless. It would take me quite some time to come to terms with her departure. I would often imagine her scratching at my door or barking even long after she was gone. She was like the best mate of my college years and destiny swept her away from me, just like that. Her death left a void too large in me and the cave. I tried finding solace in those wonderful moments we spent together. For the wonderful companion that Jyothi was, I had vowed to dedicate my first blogpost to her whenever that did happen, more as a tribute to her if not anything else. Now, before I close my ramblings I feel I must delve into why her name is the way it is: Jyothi .A. Nair.
In love with that girl I was long enough to appreciate the true beauty of love. So much so that I’ve come to love my life and self in ways I never did before…
Well she was actually named so by the girl I loved, who came to know how much we meant to each other. I too found it appropriate, for she was my room partner at the cave and ended up being with me longer than the girl I love. And though she may have left me untimely, she did leave two male canines to give this loony chap bit of sanity: Jacky and Ghanti. It is with them that I still revisit my old wild streaks. Because as someone said, “Life must go on, the way it is, till the day you too are gone with the wind”. RIP – JYOTHI A NAIR