It’s been three months for Anay in a foreign country and a first relaxed weekend! Till now he was occupied in settling at new work place, exploring the city, finding an apartment and attempting to transform that place to be called as his ‘new home’.
Sitting on a bean bag in the balcony, dipping a mom-made ‘mathri’ in self-made chai, and looking around the place he felt proud that he did a good job of setting it up. The apartment was semi-furnished, however the things that Ma has forcefully packed in his luggage gave it a homely touch. Be it a bed cover in his favorite color, some basic cooking utensils, dry snacks she has prepared, Lord Ganesha’s idol residing on a glass shelf in the living room a diya next to it and a family photo collage frame on the shelf below. Simple, small and limited things yet creating their own impact!
It was not the first time that he is staying away from his family- Ma, Papa, Tanay his younger brother-who is also now away from home for a job and Auro- their dog. He stayed away first for studies and then for a job, few hours away from his hometown. He could visit his family whenever he felt like. Moreover, it was in the same country and time zone so visiting, connecting over a call was easy. After Anay came here, they agreed on video call timings, though most of the time it was the family who adjusted to his re-schedules.
It’s not like he was feeling home sick but there was something he was missing and couldn’t keep a finger at what is it. His phone’s ring interrupted the thoughts- it was Tanay’s video call – he was at home for a weekend and wanted to check if he can use Anay’s cupboard to keep his stuff. While talking to Ma, Anay sensed something is missing and thinking what is it… Ma was saying ‘beta we tried calling you yesterday for Auro’s birthday celebration, you didn’t receive, where were you?’ and with that it clicked…Auro it was!! His family had a tradition – celebrating every member’s birthday together with simple cake cutting, be it in person or over the video call; Anay missed Auro’s this year! And in the frame of that ongoing video call what missing was Auro… wagging his tail, barking to show his presence, trying to communicate in his own way. He called up Auro’s name couple of times but no response. Before disconnecting the call, Ma said ‘he must be upset with you’. Though Tanay laughed at it said ‘he is not upset, just getting old’. Deep down Anay felt maybe it is true that Auro is upset with him.
Seven years back, Anay had rescued a puppy from stray dogs; that whitish brown ball of fur with tini-tiny eyes stole his heart. With wobbling feet, the puppy came closer and gently rubbed his body against Anay’s legs. Anay picked the puppy, caressed him, his coat was velvety unlike other stray dogs but there was no belt around his neck -no sign of ownership. Anay took him to the hostel. He was leaving for home the next morning so it was just a matter of one night with the puppy in the hostel. Anay bathed and fed the puppy, wrapped him in the muffler and patted him till he fell asleep. He decided to call him Auro. the next day both Anay and Auro were at home –standing at the door Ma scolding Anay for getting Auro home; Tanay with his mischievous smile and then Pa came to his rescue. Since then Auro became part of their family and Ma’s favorite child. Auro, a mixed breed, smartly picked up with their family environment. Usually a friendly creature but very protective of his family.
The day Anay met Auro is celebrated as Auro’s birthday. Though Auro spends more time with Ma-Pa and Tanay; he is more attached to Anay. Probably that one extra night at the hostel did the wonder. Whenever Anay visited his home Auro seemed hyperactive and always around him. If Anay is in the bathroom, Auro will wait outside the door like a watchman; if he is sleeping Auro will lay beside his bed. For all activities Auro wanted Anay – bathing, brushing, feeding, playing, and their evening walks. Auro was always on Anay’ s side whenever Ma scolded him, or when he had a fight with Tanay. Anay used to lie down on the floor to watch TV and Auro next to him to get a hug. Two of them have watched TV like this for hours, sometimes Anay rested his head on Auro’s body as if he was a cushion and sometimes Anay’s lap was Auro’s cushion.
Anay is never good at accepting the emotional side of his, but today realised he too is equally fond of Auro and always took his affection for granted. He felt sad when Auro didn’t come up on the call today. He recalled two years back when his hand was fractured in an accident Auro tried to take care of him every possible way- be it pushing the door, pulling the chair, getting his shoes for him. Probably Auro could understand Anay’s mood and emotions too. That’s why when Anay was sulking in pain from his break up Auro understood it and never dragged him for playing during their extra-long evening walks.
With all these thoughts an image of Auro peeking out of the car’s window appeared from his see off day at the airport. Anay rushed to the store bought some cupcakes, lit the candles and called Tanay asked to gather everyone around Auro and he did so with slight annoyance as it was quite late there. Auro was awake, wagged his tail gently as he saw Anay on the screen. The family once again celebrated Auro’s birthday this time Anay blowing off candles and cutting the cake for him. As Anay looked at Auro he realised Tanay was right… Auro is getting old!! Anay touched his ears as a gesture of saying sorry, believing that Auro would understand it and Auro raised his paw just as Anay had taught him for a high-five… perhaps, with moist eyes they were re-living the day ‘when Auro met Anay’ …
Disclaimer- all the characters in this story are fictional.
© 08.08.2020 The copyright and other intellectual property rights of this content are with the author and Soulसंवाद and picture copyright with the artist.