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RASHMI OBEROI | 16 FEBRUARY, 2015

The Pepper Pot of Love

The pepper pot of love


With Valentine’s Day .. Love is very much in the air... Well the hype that surrounds the 14th of February every year definitely is. Cupid is having a jolly ol’ time watching lovers spend lavishly on each other, the indulgence of gifts, cards, flowers, chocolates et al. Sometimes I think Cupid must be chuckling all by himself for he knew not that the power of his ‘bow and arrow’ would spin so out of control.

Yes, I believe in love but I also believe that you need to be loved exactly the same way every single day and not just over-exaggeratedly on any one day. Who doesn’t love the extra spoiling and pampering and so on and so forth and therefore I will get the flowers and the cards and lots of extra lovin’ on Valentine’s Day but then I know for sure I am loved exactly the same way all year through!

But there is another special kind of love that the blessed and lucky ones are fortunate enough to experience and have in their lives. The kind of love that brightens up any dreary day and warms up your heart and soul. A love that never fails to bring a smile on your face.A love way beyond words and compassion. So pure and unconditional and that is what makes it so rare.

This kind of love my friends is what you can only experience through your pets. All animal lovers would immediately understand what I am talking about.The rest, well, you have my sympathies for you know not what you are missing and the power of this ‘love’. I think I am blessed for I have ‘Doggie’ love that simply lights up my face every time I think of my pets.

This brings me to narrate some “Pepper-Pot” tales. You could easily say that Pepper is my shadow and if was to take a step back hastily I would probably step on his furry paws. But I know he is right there, at my heels, following me from room to room, climbing up and down the staircase innumerable times while I get on with the daily chores. The lyrics of “Every breath you take... Every move you make... Every bond you break... Every step you take... I’ll be watching you’’ rings true for Pepper and me!

Pepper came into our lives in 2004... We drove all the way to Roop Nagar to pick him up from a kennel after reading an advertisement in the newspapers. We wanted a cocker-spaniel as we’ve always kept Cockers and Labradors. An enclosure full of black and white cocker pups was delightful and made us want to take them all back home but this one hyper active pup stood out... Standing on his hind legs, he kept jumping up and down and looking at us and yapping away continuously as if to say, “Take me...me...me.” And so we did. I guess all the excitement was a bit too much for the lil’ one as he slept in my Mom’s lap all the way back home...content and safe.

To say that Pepper is spoilt is an understatement! He sleeps on our beds...tucked in under the covers by the kids...most often than not is found snoring on top of my daughter’s pillow without a care in the world. Then there is a diet to boast of, that surpasses a top class meal and endless titbits and snacks fed to him on the sly by the kids and me. I reckon we have never eaten anything that hasn’t been shared with our dogs first.

A few years ago when I moved to Delhi on work, Pepper stayed back with my parents as I knew a life in an apartment, and being locked up all day would kill him. It was heart-breaking to not see him every day but then I was just a ‘Shatabdi’ away and so we meet frequently. And this is when you realise what loyalty is about. When I am away, Pepper sleeps on my parent’s bed, in fact very comfortable between them like a child...but on my trips back home Pepper literally says goodbye to my parents and becomes my shadow again. Mum mutters in jest that he is just plain wicked. But Pepper just gives her a sideways glance and trots up the stairs behind me. And of course our reunions are always full of drama...endless barking...complaining...whining...crying as if he has to deal with all the woes of the world while I am away and so I have to patiently hear out his anguishes while holding his paw in my hand and tickling his ears till he settles down. But he is a clever one this Pepper, the minute he sees my suitcase being packed I get a nasty look from him and he trots back to my Mom’s waiting arms.

I have to admit though that the love of my life is quite quirky and has his moods and his share of likes and dislikes and annoying habits... But he is my true faithful, my protector, my companion. We have long chats, we have our own language, he knows when I am angry, sad, upset or just plain happy. During my long convalescence, he sat next to me silently watching me recoup day by day, his expressions a mix of worry and love.

Pepper turned 11 last month. He now has cataract and so bumps into things constantly. I can see the onset of arthritis and a slight limp on and off and so he is not as nimble as before but still quite sprightly and energetic for his age and ready to come to the children’s defence every time I yell at them. Yes, I get ticked off by him, “Thou shall not yell at the kids ever.” And God help anyone that he doesn’t like as that person may just be barked out of hell and beyond!

There is so much truth to the saying, “A dog is the only thing on earth that loves you more than he loves himself.” And I shall end on that happy note with a ‘Woof Woof’ to one and all! Go on, get a pet, adopt a stray. And watch your life change for the better!

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