Pintoo.

         Many years ago, when I was a little girl, a little guy came into my life and put a big smile on my face and a lot of love in my heart. It happened one evening when I was out playing with my friends. A girl from my neighbourhood appeared at the play ground armed with the cutest rabbit I had ever seen. White fur with a dash of coffee brown on his long ears and red eyes like two tiny buttons – yes, this  is the little guy I spoke about! We all gathered around the girl, fascinated, watching in awe as he hopped around  us. We all asked her what she was doing with this rabbit at the play ground and she said that her father ( who was a very strict man) had asked her to get rid of ‘the creature’ before he himself threw it out of the house! We were aghast on hearing this, and all the more stunned to see this girl actually planning to forsake this cute little fellow right there at the play ground!
       Everyone began to wonder what lay in store for him  when I – god knows what overcame me at that moment – said I would take the rabbit home with me and I would take care of it. How could any one in his right mind even dream of forsaking such a lovely creature out there? I picked it up gingerly, trying my best not to drop the wriggling bunny to the ground, and took it home without my parents’ permission. As soon as I reached home  I announced that I had saved the rabbit  from the hungry stray dogs and decided to keep it with me. I still remember the look on my mother’s face – amusement tinged with pride and love for her little girl. My grandfather, too, approved of the idea and, just like that, I had the first pet of my life!
      We began by thinking of an appropriate name for him. Grandpa thought of a name, Chanda ( my memory is a bit too sharp ), but I rejected it outright. Such a cute, furry little fellow deserved a cute ( and modern) name. So, how about Pintoo? Yes, exclaimed my younger brother and grandpa also nodded happily. Such indulging parents and grandparents make our childhood such a special time, isn’t it?  And thus began my new life with my new friend. Pintoo was given the balcony to sleep and just chill out when we went to school. But, every morning, when mum woke up and entered the kitchen to start preparing the meals for the day, Pintoo would appear right behind her, standing on his hind legs asking for some treat! Mum would get cabbage leaves specially for him which he would enjoy munching on.
    The clever little fellow had quite a sharp brain up there. He knew where he could hide when we came looking for him and how to surprise us when we returned from school! And not once did he soil the house. Every small and big ‘business’ of his was conducted in the balcony. Such a good boy he was! Dad loved taking him out in the evenings for a good hop in the play ground, much to our horror! But, Pintoo would come right back to my dad after having his fill of hopping about! Such a darling he was and that  devil of a man had demanded his disposal! Human beings are a heartless lot! Anyway, their loss was our gain; we had learned to give love and take the responsibility of another living being!
    Pintoo was with us for around six months. He had developed a problem in his eyes and his general health was deteriorating with age. Dad would diligently take him to the Parel Animal  Hospital every Wednesday for his treatment. He said,”Let us do our best and give him the love and comfort he deserves and leave the rest to God.” And that is exactly what we did. But, time  had run out for my little guy. One evening, as I and my brother unlocked the door after returning from school, Pintoo did not come rushing down the steps to greet us like he always did. We tried to wake him, nudge him, called out his name, but he did not make a move. He had left us – a heartbroken duo – to find a permanent place for himself in heaven.
     Dad wrapped him up in a brown paper bag and we buried him at sea. As we returned home, our thoughts were with Pintoo. Each and every day of the six months he had been with us flashed before our eyes putting a smile on our faces amid the unstoppable tears. How long has it been? Maybe 30 years or so. But the image of my little guy has stuck in my mind and his little paws have left an indelible mark on my heart. Really, these four-legged souls spread so much love in such less time – it is hard to delete them from our memory. Wish we humans were such, too!

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