On the 4th of February, our all black Labrador, bid us a final adieu. He left Madhavi and me shattered, his memories wouldn’t stop stalking us. I could not bear the pain of him not being around and I thought to myself, there is only one way to get rid of this continuous heart wrenching pain. To bring him back, in a new avatar.
Eleven days after Aryan’s departure he returned in a fresh incarnation. I got an all-black Lab pup and named him – what else – Aryan!
Aryan Junior, or AJ who hails from Amritsar, came to Rourkela after a harrowing four-day train journey. He came home in a little basket and was the size of his mamma’s wrist or smaller. He was placed on the sofa and he marked his arrival by peeing on it.
I expected AJ to be overwhelmed by his surroundings: new place, new people, an over eager mamma (Madhavi), and a highly enthusiastic papa. But AJ was as frisky as a tiger cub in his very own cave. Everything and anything was edible for AJ including his mamma’s legs, chin, nose, cheeks, and ears!
Madhavi decided to stay home for puppy sitting and when I returned home in the evening, I was in for a shock! The house which normally looked rather neat and tidy ‘with a place for everything and everything in its place’ appeared as if a mini-tsunami had struck it! Fragments of paper, pieces of cloth, half eaten crumbs, upturned bowls, cushions on the floor. The only way AJ could communicate all his feelings was with his teeth! He would bite everything in sight.
AJ went from being worse to worst! Everything we thought would be within his reach was now removed. And the phrase ‘keep it out of Aryan’s reach’ began acquiring a new meaning every day. He seemed to be growing by the hour and what seemed beyond his grasp the night before was well within his reach the morning after.
One late evening, while we witnessed a power cut, and the moon had taken some time off, we suddenly found Aryan to have disappeared. In the darkness looking for a dark knight in a shining black coat, can be quite a challenge. We kept shouting his name and with each call getting unanswered the panic grew! Had he gone out through the hedge to explore the world? Finally, we heard a faint sound and as we got closer, we found AJ inside the lily pond in our garden. It was his latest sanctuary. And this was obviously no accident, as AJ managed to sneak out at the opportunity he got!
Next day after lunch as I stepped into the garden I saw a sight I’ll never forget. Aryan was happily sitting in the pond looking as innocent as a lamb! This time around Madhavi went berserk. As I happily went about clicking snaps.
AJ had ingenious ways of scaring your backside off. One night I heard the slightest of sounds and woke up to find a pair of black eyes gazing at me barely inches from my face. I jumped up and switched on the lamp to find him standing on two legs. He insisted on going out and made sure he got what he wanted.
His toy collection never included any mainstream toys, the list included my ‘brand new’ spectacles, a half-eaten shoe, a badly munched remote, a piece of cloth which was once a pillow, a mobile charger, and a half-chewed stick.
I sometimes think to myself, how two labs, both black, can be so utterly different. Aryan Senior was such a gentle, kind creature. And Aryan Junior seems exactly the opposite – believes completely in clear and undisputed supremacy!