Digital Dimdima

TALES FROM READERS

The Last Wish

My Nana and Nani had a dog, Frisky. My mum was very fond of her. Time passed. Frisky grew old. She could not jump up on to the high beds or hurl herself on the sofa. An exercise she enjoyed doing when she was young! Her favourite past time? Tugging hankies out of our hands and prancing off with them. Then happily ripping them to shreds with an ear cocked up in delight at our shrieks of dismay!
She used this tactic to get what she wanted, her favorite food- crunchy, munchy rusks! All she had to do was just get her teeth on someone's attire. Then she would tug at her end of the cloth, growling softly. No pleas or threats would make her let go of her prize find! The only way of preventing her from making a big hole in the dress was to promise her a rusk IF she behaved like a GOOD dog. The clever canine used that tactic to blackmail everyone into giving her rusks!
One day, mum was sitting on the double bed at Nani's house. Nani was in the kitchen making tea. Frisky slowly walked into the bedroom. The partially blind dog sniffed and found mum on the high bed. To mum's amazement, the old dog jumped onto the bed! Then she began to play like the playful puppy she once had been. She tugged and tugged at my mother's sari pallu!
Mummy tried to tug the fabric out of Frisky's mouth. However, the dog refused to let go. Scared that she would have a gaping hole in her brand new sari, mother promised to give her a rusk. Frisky promptly let go off her sari pallu. Then with tongue happily hanging out and tail wagging nineteen to a dozen, she looked at mother in happy anticipation. Just then, Nani came into the room. She was stunned to see the old dog on the bed!
Poor Frisky! My mother could not give her the promised rusk treat. Nani told her the old dog was suffering from indigestion and was on a very strict no-rusk diet. My mother was very, VERY upset. The dog looked at my mum- her beautiful, soft, black eyes pleading for the rusk. However, she knew she could not give it to her.
That night Frisky fell ill. Nani took her to the vet. The vet told them that the dog had grown very old. She was at death's door. He declined to put her to sleep. He told my Nani that the dog loved her dearly. It was best she remained in the company of people she loved.
My mum was very upset when she heard the news. She kept telling us that she should have given that rusk to little Frisky. That was the last thing her dog had asked of her.
Next day she rushed to my Nani's house. The old, frail dog wagged her tail feebly when she saw mum. For a moment, there was a sparkle in her eyes as she eyed mother's sari pallu. However, she could not move. Just looked and looked sadly at everyone with her limpid black eyes. She knew it was time to say goodbye.
That evening, we were all watching T.V. at home. It must have been around 8 pm that a little dog hurled itself against our iron courtyard gate, barking furiously. My brother shooed it away. Five minutes later, it came back. Again, it hurled itself against the gate. This time mum went out and shooed it off. Ten minutes later, it came back. This time it whined unhappily and pawed the grill gate.
To this day, my mother still does not know WHY she felt she just had to give it a rusk. The little doggy snapped it from her hand. Then it just disappeared. REALLY DISAPPEARED! Mother opened the gate and looked around. There was NO dog. Not one single dog anywhere near our house. That little dog had vanished in the blink of an eye, like Super Dog!
Just then the phone rang.
"Frisky has died!" said mummy, as I went to pick up the phone receiver. "She came here just to take the promised rusk!"
My mother was right. The dog had passed away at 8 that night! Nani had delayed telling us as she had been waiting for the vet to confirm the dog's death. Frisky is in a world far away from us. But whenever she comes in my mum's dreams, we feed a crunchy, munchy rusk to a stray dog. My mum is convinced that somewhere her dog is happily munching it too!

By Hema Rao

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