On-Conditional Love

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I don’t know how many would agree with me but I think that the number of people who love animals has exponentially increased over the last two decades. There are more people now who have pets in their homes than there were say 20 years ago. A bunch of my cousins even prefer adopting a dog to having their own kids. And a few ladies at my workplace believe that Dogs are a better companion than a man. Anyway this story is not about them, this one is about Shreya. She never got used to having a dog around her. But at this point in her life the issue was much bigger than her aversion for dogs.
Shreya had finally met the guy she wanted to be with, all her life. Siddharth was everything she wanted in her man and she was excited to visit his family for the first time that day. Shreya parked her car outside Siddharth’s plush bungalow in Forest Park, when she was just about to enter the gate a big and handsome beige Labrador came galloping and barking towards her. Shreya froze there. The horrible incident that happened to her 20 years ago flashed in her mind.
She was just 7 years old and her friends in the neighbourhood had a ‘cute’ Pomeranian dog whom they called Tommy. The kids (aged 6 and 8) often played games with Tommy on their terrace. Shreya used to watch them and wished the kids asked her to play with Tommy, someday. One day the kids invited her to their terrace. Shreya was very excited and eager to play with Tommy. This was her first interaction with Tommy and she was excited. Unfortunately, it wasn’t the same for Tommy, he took one look at Shreya and started barking loudly. This scared Shreya a bit and she started stepping back. As Tommy took quick steps towards her, Shreya turned back to run home but Tommy followed her. As she ran towards the exit Tommy chased her even faster and still barking.
Then the worst happened. Shreya screamed as she ran and Tommy barked as he chased her while the other kids were laughing their hearts out at the sight. They thought it was funny until Tommy pounced on Shreya from behind tearing her pretty white dress into bits. Shreya fell down and next thing she knew was that she had broken 4 of her front teeth and the ‘cute’ puppy had scratched her all over. Luckily, he didn’t bite her. Next, the kids parents intervened and the Shreya’s wounds were dressed and she was taken to the dentist and all was set right, except her teeth. She had lost her two front permanent teeth and had to live for the rest of her life with fakeones. Well, the story ended there for Tommy and his family but not for Shreya. The trauma stayed with for decades after that. She was teased, bullied and ragged all her life because of her fake teeth. She always blamed it all on Tommy. She sawTommy in every dog she met. Even that day when she saw Siddharth’s barking Labrador.
As Siddharth’s dog ran towards her she quickly ran out of the house and shut the main gate. But the dog continued barking at her until she ran out and hugged the first person who came her way in fright. It was Siddharth’s servant, Jagiya who said “Ma dari gala ki? Sey kichi kareni” he said with a smile. Now the point is that the person close to the dog can say that ‘Sey kichi kareni’ but if you see from Shreya’s point, it made her angry. She wanted to smack the servant for not leashing the dog. “Hey Shreya, what happened?” came Siddharth’s calm voice from behind. The dog, by then had calmed down.
Shreya looked at Siddharth angrily and asked, “why didn’t you tell me that you had a dog”? Siddharth looked puzzled and said, “Well I think I just forgot, but why do you care?” She said, “You forgot? Great! Well I forgot to tell you that I am paranoid of dogs” she said in tears. Siddharth did not understand a thing that was happening around him at that time. He calmly asked, “Shreya, why are you in tears? What? Did something happen? This is Tommy” The name ‘Tommy’ instantly rang a loud bell in her ears and she couldn’t control herself anymore.
Shreya finally took a deep breath and said, “Ok Siddharth, let me get this clear with you. Maybe you are too confused to guess what is happening around. You won’t be able to understand me right now but if you do want to take this relationship to the next level, I am sorry but you have to let go of your Tommy”. Siddharth wasn’t able to say if he was in a dream or was this for real. None of it made any sense to him. But was far more difficult for him to let go of Tommy, he was like his own child.
Believe it or not Siddharth and Shreya postponed their engagement because he couldn’t live without his dog and she couldn’t live with him. This was their unusual love story and they are still unable to find a solution to this problem.

By Shweta Purohit

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