Life Myself and Rocky

"I still remember that day, a cloudy summer morning in the hills of Yercaud , they gave him to me, in a brown cardboard box and when I opened it, I saw his little face for the first time; touched his forehead and slipped my hands through his tender neck, looked at him through his eyes and there on began a bond which lasted his lifetime...."

Back in 1993, I was a shy little 6th grader trying to understand the big things of life in little ways of my own. Since I was always on a regular school, my parents thought it would be great if I can be sent to a distant boarding school where I can learn what it is to live and learn of art of independency. At first listening to it was easy, but as I neared the school which I was to join, every meter near was an extra thought on how I am going to sustain myself in this far off land, so far away from home and the warmth of my family. Yet, it was all said for my good, and finally I was there. I still remember that culmination of moments, as I held the hand of my mother and sobbed because I knew she was leaving. In a few moments as I saw our car pass by the main gate, I sat there wiping off my tears and looked behind at the mighty campus of St. Montfort International School – Yercaud. For all the little me, I was; an epic journey of my life began right there.

A year passed in Montfort, and looking at many things what I learnt there otherwise, my parents decided it was good enough for me to be home and made plans to move me back to Chennai to my very same school which I’d been studying all my life. I was so looking forward for that moment. I was a kid who always believed that Sunday mornings were always meant for church and still now not a Sunday has passed me without stepping the gates of church. The father who was in-charge of the church was always fond of me and kept telling me a lot of stories and I used to share a lot of my happenings with him. One fine Sunday, I got up all dressed and went to church, and attended the Morning Prayer and after the service, went to father and told him about my plans to move back to Chennai. He was a bit troubled to hear what I said, but then he looked at me and said “I’m going to miss you son” and I told him that I’m going to miss him too. When I was about to say bye to him, he called me one more time and said “Since your leaving Yercaud, what do you want from me?” and he insisted that I ask something from him. And being a small kind with little of expectations, I told him “Give me something which always makes me happy and smile” on hearing this he said ok and smiled back and bid me bye.

It was May 19th 1994, a cloudy summer morning in the hills of Yercaud, all the boys were packing their belongings for the upcoming summer vacations and I too had packed all that I could and was waiting eagerly for that one call. And minutes later the warden called my name and said, “Vasanth, there is a call for you from your dad”… I ran across the corridor to the warden’s room and picked the black telephone and my dad spoke from the other side “Hey dear, we’re here!” I smiled out so much, kept the phone down and ran down the stairs to the gate, and I saw our car packed and dad and mom were waiting by the side. I ran across and hugged them both tight. A few hours later, all was packed and ready to leave.

When all was set to leave, I took a minute from dad and mom and ran to the church. Father was praying in front of the alter. I went inside quietly and said Hi and he smiled back and said “I was waiting for you” he hugged me tight and led me to the front of the church, by then my dad and mom had followed. Once they had a chat with each other, it was time for me to leave, and Father just held my hand and said “I hope you remember what you’d asked me” I said yes…. He went around and came back with a brown cardboard box, with a red satin ribbon tied around it with my name written on it. I was so excited when I saw it. He asked me to open it…..

With all the smiles I slowly opened the ribbons and looked into the box. I saw a black fur ball which slowly looked out from the box. My heart bounced a beat, what I saw was so beautiful and melted my heart. I didn’t know what to say or how to react. I just picked up the little puppy and held it close to my heart. I smiled and held the Fathers hand tight and said him a big Thank you. He smiled back and said “You asked for something which would make you happy and keep you smiling, I think this one will do just that” I smiled back and hugged him tight. I said “I will always cherish him and love him” - Father just hugged me back, blessed me and asked me to take good care of myself.

We named him ‘Rocky’, the sweet little pup. In the months to come, rocky turned out to be a brat which took more than a pair of hands to handle. He was fun and love filled all over him; he bit and played with all the stuff he can bite with his mouth. I played and played so much that I used to take a break, but he still never stopped playing, he always wanted more. There were so many surprises that year. Who'd have thought that my daddy would ever let me play on the streets? And who'd have dreamed that Marlene, the prettiest girl in my street, would let me hold her hand? It was indeed a strange and unusual time. Old Rocky had helped me through the struggles of boyhood. But his job was far from done. Over the years I taught him how to find
me, and how to chase cats and how to follow me in the bike. He turned out to be quite a handsome young fellow. He grew a tan brown neck and was pitch black and since his tail was amputated, he had a cute tip of his tail which he always kept wagging for me every time I came back from school. There used to be a gang of friends who always used to come and play with rocky, he used to be such a sport. Like all dogs, Rocky was colorblind. He made friends easily with people of all sizes, origins and colors. The streets were more open those days; kids were always allowed to play without an extra word or caution. And those were days when I loved watching him play and chase all my friends from tree to tree.

Rocky came into my life when I was a little boy, he taught me to be myself, to show what it is to truly love someone, he didn’t want to find, if I had a car, or a house. He just stuck to me with his heart and his love and loyalty was all what was his to offered, and that; he offered with all his heart. Every day when I entered the house, and even before my mom could say a ‘hi’, he’s be there waiting by the door, with his nose stuffed out by the gate, and I just don’t know how he used to know that I was the one who was coming. Meters away from home, I used to hear his barks; signaling my home that I was coming home. And when the gates open, he’d just run and fall upon me and I just used to throw my bags and sit there by the corridor and play with, pull his ears and kiss him hard. We just loved each other so much. Every day was a new one. A new journey together of knowing and growing.

It was the year 1998, and I had just appeared for my first public exam and was awaiting the results, my whole family was tensed, and since I was a very poor student in math, my dad was very much convinced that my math paper is going to pull me down to hell. He always kept scaring me that I was either going to get a very less mark or else going to flunk in math. I was so disturbed to be inside home listening to all that; so just walked out and went and sat near the garden of our house. From a distance I saw rocky sleeping under our car, it’s where he always used to sleep. While I was sitting and thinking of what was going to happen, I had this warm feeling next to me. It was Rocky, he had come from there and he sat next to me and moved a bit and placed his head on my lap. I just hugged him tight and felt so happy that he was there next to me, without complaints, without expectation. All he wanted was just me, the way I was and the way I’ve been. We kept cuddling each other and I had even fallen asleep with him on my lap, when suddenly I heard a knock on my back door, it was my friend Marty, he broke out and showed me the newspaper which unfortunately had all our fates printed on it. My face shrunk as I got up, and Rocky followed me while I went and opened the door. There were few more friends who waited by the door. When I came out from my door, we 4 boys looked at each other, and without an extra word, we opened the newspaper right in the middle of the road facing the temple on the other side, and ran through the numbers, and in the finally one of friends noted my number and cried out “Vasanth, damn it dude, you’ve passed in first class” when I heard that, I saw where his fingers pointed and shouted out in joy, my happiness knew no bounds. We all jumped in joy and Rocky was there, happy and jumping. Though he never understood what was happening in my life, he was there to support and be a part of my life and to me that meant the world. I was just was so happy that years were passing off fast, and happy enough that schooling too will be soon over and done with, just to realize that ‘Why in childhood and youth do we wish time to pass so quickly - we want to grow up so fast - yet as adults we wish just the opposite?’

The following week, dad got my first scooter, a 50cc bajaj sunny, and Rocky was small enough to fit into the little space in the front of the scooter. We both used to go for long rides and he when I go fast, he used to put his head out and feel the breeze flowing by, and every time I stood in a red light, he used to bark and make so much fun while he ran in the middle, and exactly when the light turned green, he used jump back into the bike. From running behind bubbles, to running with me in the rain, from chasing butterflies to catching mice in the garden. Rocky was there; every single moment of my happy lived life and beyond.

Over the years life was changing a lot for me; I had finally finished school and was entering my life into the shoes of a young man. I was talking more of studies, work and life. There were newer people who played vital parts of my life, girls who wanted to be more special and my family who wanted me to choose the best in education so that I can settle for the best in life. Rocky was now 9yrs old, and didn’t jump and play much, every time I used to sit next to him, he would come and place his lap over me and keep looking at me like the first day. In the mornings, he used to come to my bed, and lick my hands, which are fallen over the bed, and gently wake me up for the day. One day, when I was driving outside I got a call from mom, she was freaking out on the other side. She yelled ‘Vasanth, where ever you are come back, Rocky has fallen down from the terrace’…. I was terrified, I rushed back home and saw Rocky in a bad state, his front feet were fractured and he was crying in pain. I heard from mom, that someone had jumped onto our terrace and Rocky had chased them till the other side of the terrace and when he tried catching them, he slipped and fell down. I didn’t care about the rest of the story; I just picked up Rocky, and placed him inside the car and rushed him to the Veterinary Hospital.

They placed him on the table and began operating on him. I sat by the door clutching to both my hands and with tears in my eyes. I almost lost old Rocky that day. Even as he was sleeping on the operating table, he was still teaching me. He taught me that you live a life by surrendering yourself into the hands of someone you love; you look through their eyes, and live through their heart. You do not expect what you get out of them, you do not look forward for gains, you never have secret motive. You just live every single second of your lives for them and with them. You clutch to their soul and grow with them. He didn’t care what he ate, didn’t care who my friends are, didn’t bother how much I earned or where I kept my money, didn’t want to know what I shopped or what I bought. All he wanted was to be there with me by my side at all times of my life. A life for me; where two souls will eventually become to grow as one. A magnanimity of dog’s heart is one of the most greatest examples to me when I spell the word ‘LOVE’ to be loved, shared, greeted, honored, truthful and guarded till the expiration of thy last breath. Old Rocky slept there on that bed and taught me all this without a single word. This was home, and I was his world, and that’s all he ever knew and that’s all he ever wanted. Rocky was discharged in a week, and with all the bandages and good will, I brought him home. I was so happy he was back with me, and life was back all over again. Rocky was there when I was a small boy, he was there when I wrote my first public exam, he was there when I kissed a girl for the first time, he was there when got my first scooter, he was there when I finished school. Most of all he was there when I needed him the most.

In the year 2001, I enrolled myself for under graduation and got a seat in Anna-University, one of South India’s prestigious Universities, and had for a brief time I had to move away from home. I knew it was a very melancholic piece of time, where I had to leave behind everything I had loved so much and go in search of better education to gain myself for a better life. Rocky was now 9yrs old, he was weak and didn’t move much from where he used to sit. I guess he knew I was leaving him soon, in the mornings I found him often lying aside of me in my room, and always kept looking at that picture of him and me while we were small. He tried to spend more time with me as the days kept passing by. On the first week of August 2001 I packed and got ready to move to University, it was a sad day. I looked at my house, and hugged my parents and right behind the old pillar sat Rocky looking me; I knelt down and called his name, he wagged his tail and slowly made his way towards me, came near me and placed his head on my laps and rested there. I hugged him tight and cried, I didn’t know what to tell him. I just caught his face and looked at him in his eyes and said ‘Rocky, I love you boy. I’ve learnt so much from you, and I’m always carrying you in my heart, just like how you carry me every single day of yours… You take good care of yourself and be a good boy, Alright’… As I boarded the bus, I saw my family holding hands and standing together and old Rocky sitting on the corner watching me from his heart.

Old Rocky was 9 and a half, and feeble with arthritis, but he never lost that old coltish look in his eye. He made my room his own. Came across an old photo of him and me not long ago. His little face, with the long snout sniffing at something in the air. His nose out and pointing. Eyes were flashing in some momentary excitement. He always loved to be rubbed on the back of his neck. And when I did it, he'd yawn, and he'd stretch, reach out to me with his paws as if he was trying to embrace me. One early Sunday morning I received a call; "Rocky passed away in his sleep", Daddy said. He and mom wrapped him in one of my winter jackets which he always used to play and sleep with. We’ve buried him out under the mango tree in our garden, he said. When I listened to it, I knew that wasn't totally true. For my old little Rocky really lay buried in my heart…..

"I took up the picture of him and me, and I still remember that day, a cloudy summer morning in the hills of Yercaud , they gave him to me, in a brown cardboard box and when I opened it, I saw his little face for the first time; touched his forehead and slipped my hands through his tender neck, looked at him through his eyes and there on he’d kept his words, "old Rocky has just kept me 'happy and smiling'; Forever...."

* Sharing a piece of video which made me reflect on the love between man and his most loyal friend The last few minutes with Oden.


IB7 said…
This comment has been removed by the author.
ashwini said…
Rocky has taught us how to love without expecting, how to love unconditionally. Very well written, it strikes the right chords and is very touching. You write very well. Keep it going.
Shree Venkatram said…
You have a way with words. I could picture you and Rocky over the years. Read a number of your posts today- All very beautifully written.
ipanema said…
isn't it nice to learn something as profound as love with someone who couldn't talk back but just show you what it means.

what i like is the fact that you can see beyond a thing/person/being/an event and relate it to lessons in life.

only when you see and feel love can you truly share it.

nice post. :)
innocent1 said…
When YOU write......I do not just read, I SEE it!

God Bless You.
Ritz.. said…
I have a dog too .... Could connect with almost everything you wrote.....

Your posts are really nice....
Wish I had the guts to watch "Last few minutes vidoe"... But I dont...
I know the baggage , sadness and pain of loss ....

I have a flair for photography too ... loved your flicker clicks.... veyr refreshing and bright ... Not that you need it but still "Good Work" :))

Ritz.. said…
Also very curious to know which Camera do you use.... and what is the configuration ... do you work in photoshop ...

Dei-Ville said…
thanks for dropping by my site. I love your photos! Really hope I can create something like that, pls teach me? :)
I have a two buddies with me Moochy [dachshund] and Recca [miniature pinscher].
There's a poet within you. More power!

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