Over the years, me and my sister have been very insistent on getting a pet dog. My mom always won the arguement with a single statement “You both are already enough!” And just like that, the discussion used to end. So we found alternatives.
Few fishes, all named and trained to come up to the part of the fish pot we tapped at. A baby turtle named Whiskey, which could slide down on make-shifts hills using books with erasers and sharperners as obstacles. And then a bunny, Chotu. I know, I know. A very lazy name to keep but we did try the cool sounding ones but it ended up with chotu because of it’s size.
Chotu was a fluffball. Like a snowball on a wintery christmas morning. A perfect cuddle after a long tiring day. A soft toy with long pointy ears and sparkling red eyes, tiny pink noose and rabbit-y teeth. It was fast, it could hop on to beds and it stood on two of it’s hind legs and used the other two to scratch his nose.
We took our love for a pet dog too seriously and hence Chotu ended up being treated as one. Over the span of two years, we got him poop-trained (somehow), run away from the pristine sofas when we shouted “NOOO Chotu” and come running from any part of the house when we tapped his food bowl. He even licked our noses to return the affection.
He had what we called “acquired intelligence” and “delayed response syndrome”. It took him a lot many trials to understand why all the commotion when he jumped on sofas and a good minute or two to first move one of his pointed ear in the direction of sound, get up from his stretched yoga asana, and then realize “Oh it’s food” and run to it.
So much so, that while in a typical phone call conversation from home while I am away “Khana kha liya?”, mom replaced it with “Chotu ne yeh khaya aaj”. We never believed in letting it eat the same old green everyday. We fed him rice-daal, pomegranate seeds, parle-G buiscuits, raw Maggi and even toast when it came running to us while we had our morning tea.
It went on to the extend that my sister once told me that while I am away, for her Chotu fills up the gap I leave behind.
I know I am sounding like one of those braggy parents who think their child is special. I may even be disillusioned and built up half the things Chotu did as his habits. So when he died this morning in his corner, sitting quietly as he used to when in his deep contemplating mode deciding if to eat rice or spinach leaves, I held back my tears for long. Afterall it was just a bunny.
I read in China or somewhere, parents get a pet for their children while they are very young. So when the pet dies in a few years, the child learns the absoluteness of death as part of life cycle and learns to cope up with grief. This morning, even though I am now supposed to be an adult (which still sounds totally unlike me), I wanted to break down like a sobbing little kid whose pet which was supposed to live forever, died.
The last happy memory I have of him is him jumping on my bed in the middle of night and licking my ear. That scared the hell out of me as I woke up to two red eyes in dark staring at me. Turned out he just got locked in our room with his food bowl outside and that my glittery earring seemed like food to him.
He was never big on carrots or running around in greens even when we tried so hard to get him to do typical rabbit-y stuff. I wish he gets a tunnel full of bouncy sofas to jump on and rice-dal to gorge on. He will always be a our loved Chotu. ❤