The summers are back again…… The sun is rather more intense this time, warmer and blistering. The vacations are on as the last year, and I spent most of my time playing with my friends on the red playground and swimming in the local pool. I have no other thing to do.
I wake up at the break of the dawn and join my grandpa for prayers after having a bath. Then I eagerly wait for the time to pass by, and wait for my mother to call upon me and my siblings for the epicurean breakfast. The menu is fixed for most of the time- the juicy royal mangoes. I love the taste of the golden fruit, and I love the way to eat it, blending and spreading the juice all over the face and hands. Then till noon, I spend my time playing cricket. Then again the time comes for lunch and then I relax in the pool. After the clock strikes four, I usually saunter around the town, having ice-cream, sherbet and chats. Then again at five I go to play and then the day ends as my energy drains out with the entry of the dusky skies. But this summer, there is something missing, something trivial but ephemeral.
This summer, the winds didn’t attract me, the heat didn’t bother me. This summer, I feel kind of lost, lost in some thoughts of the bygone. Every morning when I wake up, I could hear the birds of a variety- humble sparrows, rock pigeons, cacophonous crows and canorous mynahs. But their screeches and daylight songs wouldn’t attract me, because my subtle psyche is grief-stricken, lamenting and lost in bereavement. The sylvan trees and aphrodisiac atmosphere in my backyard seems rather dead to me, even though it is blooming high in the daylight. Something is lost, and that loss was inevitable; important but at the same time a bit like a trivia.
Three months have passed by. I still remember what happened to Pepper. I was on a field trip that day, and I lament now for leaving Pepper alone that day. I just hope that I could have been there for her, for her survival. Well the day was good for me, the field trip was full of fun, but I didn’t know that something vulgar was waiting for me at my house; a news of the dead. Well, when I reached home, the incident had already taken place, but it seemed so trivial to others, they didn’t even bother to inform me of the mishap. The evening sun had set as I set my foot in the house. The situation seemed normal. The TV was on, my grandparents were watching daily soaps and there was a chaos from my siblings’ side. My mother was busy in the kitchen and dad was still in the office. Things appeared to be normal. I freshened up and went for a walk near the backyard. Darkness was spreading in slowly and the sun was sinking lightly, spreading an abstract piece of luminescence in the sky with evanescing redness and upcoming stars.
I ambled around the perpetual shadows of the woody trees and enjoyed the winds and the slowing sounds peacefully. I meditated for a while and then called up for Pepper. I rolled my eyes all over, but I couldn’t find the small creature around. For a while I didn’t react to the condition, because it was normal, but I couldn’t guess the worst. After an hour or so still I didn’t hear a screech of Pepper and then I ran to Jen, my young sister, for help. Jen and Ron were busy playing at the porch. My presence always troubled them, but I loved being away from them, from their troubles. They both were playing with the volley ball. I called for Jen, but she ignored me. After constant dunning, she replied to my hollo.
I asked her for Pepper, because I knew no one other than me and her cared for Pepper. She didn’t reply at first when I asked her. The expressions over her face changed and she turned towards Ron, who is five years old to her and three years old to me. Ron also didn’t reply and demanded Jen to resume the game, but then I snatched their ball and requested them to help me to find Pepper. They both denied. I could sense some darkness in their thoughts. I could see Jen’s eyes filling with water.
I shook her hard and then she replied. She narrated me the whole story about Pepper’s death. She told me that Pepper wasn’t responding to anyone since morning. She told me that Pepper didn’t eat anything, not even her favorite fish. She stated that she had been behaving like a madman since the morning. Her demeanor had altered and she was behaving differently.
Jen told me that she tried to feed the poor soul, but she couldn’t gulp in a drop of water or a bite of food. She also stated that Pepper was running here and there over the road, jumping from one house to other, and drifting and roving all over the place. Jen said that after constant efforts, they lost the track over her and then they didn’t search for her. But later, she said, their neighbor called them and informed them about the mishap- Pepper’s death. He said that she was roaming aimlessly all over the road and a bus hit her and she was crushed under its feet.
I laughed at first on listening to the news, but then I started weeping. Jen hugged me and sympathized with me. She tried to shush me, but I couldn’t. I asked her if she was still lying there, and she nodded assertively. As she nodded, I quickly ran out of the house towards the road to see the poor creature lying. Ahh… I was struck on seeing dry blood all over. I sensed something from a distance, a pain, a grief and I was taken aback. I headed forward, but my feet were numb, slowing my pace.
After a fraction of seconds, I covered the short distance. I examined the body closely. Her fur had developed a deep scar and it was torn off. I could glance at her inner body. Her bones were visible to my eyes. And I suddenly closed them as the redness sat over me. I could see her body compacted and pressed, I could see her eye wide open and another eyeball punched out of the cavity, lying stable on the cemented road. I could see her soul pressing, her tail detached, her face crushed from above. I could sense the pain she had gone through. I cried, cried aloud and then Jen hauled me back. I resisted her and picked up the puny soul and buried her in my background in hope of her soul’s revival.
Well I really hated cats before. Even when Jen brought Pepper from the road, I revolted, but with the passage of time, I started liking her, I started seeing the world with different perspective. Well Pepper was very naughty. Her orange fur with white strips made her look like a tigress. Her maroon eyes and white whiskers touched up her appearance. She was cute. She was shy and timid at first. I still remember her drawing towards me when we got her the first day, and I shooed her away. I could see the fear in her eyes, but she followed me, and then I realized she wasn’t trivial. She had life in her body.
It took me months to adapt with her, but I got into a deep relation with her, a relation even deeper than what she had with Jen. She would accompany me always till my school bus and would always welcome me with a yawn in afternoon. She would sit upon my laps and I loved caressing her furry head. I also made a small home for her in the backyard, which had now been removed and is replaced by creeping dahlias, below which her soul rests and shines in the form of colorful dahlias.
I still remember kicking her, hating her and then gradually kissing her, loving her and spending time with her. She made me feel happy when I was sad. I really didn’t expect much from her, but she was a good companion. I felt that she could sense my warmth and I could hers. She made me look life from a different perspective. The respect for animals in me increased after I met her, but our journey together didn’t last long. During my journey with her, I loved singing with the birds, dancing with the leaves, running with the dogs and what not. I felt as if I had a way with them. But her apparent death cut all my strings with the rest. Now I feel lonely, even though I know I am not.
Yes, others feel I am overreacting, but I had a bond with that puny creature. She made me laugh, made me cry, made me think and made me rely. I miss her presence, but I keep on engaging myself with other things like swimming and playing. But then when I sit besides the dahlias, they remind me of her. They remind me of her presence, her smell and her soul. And each time I go there, beautiful butterflies and squirrels quarrel around, and circle around me. Their touch and feel makes me feel good and I am reminded of her. And then a vulgar thought creeps over my mind and I kick the squirrels away and shoo the yellow butterflies aside and then I pluck the dahlias and mash them up into the soil.
I am trying hard to forget her, because yes she was trivial, but for my heart she wasn’t. Her bare existence was unique in its own way for a year. It left some imprints on my character, making me more mature and serene.
Today again back in the summers, I saw a figure, same as my Pepper. She was small, just a few days old. Her fur and scent was amazing. She caught my sight, but then again my heart ceased; it pricked me to get over the triviality; and I moved on.