It was a sheer nightmare to dissuade my little daughter to stay away from puppies on streets. Specially when Giggly, the name which Juhi and her friends gave to a street dog, delivered six pups, all my daughter wanted was to be with them all the time! Well out of six four survived. Giggly got the much needed attention from the kids. Juhi ensured that the pups get enough milk albeit from her own share. She emptied her glass of milk faster than ever!
The four pups were named as Sumo, Wrestler, Mickey and Barbie. The four legged creatures gradually also got fond of the kids. Juhi exactly knew if all whereabouts of the pups. As days passed I also grew less concerned and occasionally asked Juhi about the pups. She described their activities in the most animated way...I enjoyed it!
One day she quiet sadly mentioned that Wrestler had gone missing. A few days after Sumo was found dead in some one's garden. But the sight of Barbie cheered her up. Barbie gave Juhi the great attention as she wagged her little furry extension while Juhi came back from school or followed her to the park, too. "Maa, Barbie seems to be sad today, I think she is missing Sumo and Wrestler, or 'Maa Barbie fought with Mickey today, or, 'Maa, Barbie is hungry today, we must give food to her....," was common observations.
One morning Barbie was found dead in front of our house. She lay motionless beside a bush. I wanted desperately that her body be removed before Juhi arrives from school. But Juhi saw her friend dead on her way back from school.
She didnot ask me anything. To my surprise she said,' Maa, Barbie has met her other siblings in Heaven", and continued in unfaltering tone "I have to love Mickey more now, she will be alone". I thought, my daughter has the insight of life and death already. Relieved too, because I was worried that she would be shocked and it would be difficult for me to make her understand the reality.
So,life went on usual for the day.
At midnight Juhi woke me up. 'Maa, I will punish the car which killed Barbie...how can I get her back?...Will she never come back?...May be she is living...
All through the day my little girl tried to be brave but with the advent of darkness her little soul was awakened.I presumed her to be pragmatic. But I was wrong. How can a seven year old be so? Could we understand the meaning of the cycle of birth and death and accept death?
Her grief knew no bounds...she couldn't any more wear the garb of maturity...she is a child and will always be ...so are we. It will always be difficult for us to accept the vacuum created by someone's departure forever.