Lately, I have taken to learning Urdu. Gulzar shaheb says “kahin kuchh dur se kaano mein padhti hai agar Urdu,To lagta hai, Jaadon ke din han,khidki khuli hui hai,dhoop andar aa rahi hai” ( Translation:When Urdu reaches the ears from a distance,It appears,As if on a Winter’s day, the window is open and the sunshine is pouring in ). While I started with trying to learn it online, I soon realized that the nuances of this beautiful language necessitates the guidance by an Urdu scholar. From the coming weekend, an Urdu teacher is going to come to my house in the mornings , every Saturday & Sunday and teach me the language.
But when I start my Urdu lessons on Saturday, I shall miss my little pug Bruce Wayne ( Read about Bruce here: :http://www.huffingtonpost.in/aparajita-mohapatra/the-dark-knight-rises-bru_b_7262612.html )
Why ? Well,because Bruce like the great Mirza Ghalib loved mangoes! Reading about this great poet in ‘Ghalib: Life, Letters & Ghazals’, by Ralph Russell, I found that Ghalib was a mango-lover extraordinaire.Altaf Hussain Hali, Ghalib’s student and biographer, in his book Yaadgaar-e Ghalib, tells the story of Hakeem Raziuddin Khan, who while visiting Ghalib noted that a passing donkey had just sniffed at a mango peel and kept moving along. Look, said the Hakeem, even donkeys don’t eat mangoes. True, replied the poet, donkeys don’t eat mangoes! Over this mango season,my little pug and me had been feasting on mangoes as we struggled to pronounce and understand Mirza Ghalib.
It seems strange that Bruce would prefer mangoes over chicken or meaty bones, but he did! Each time he spotted me getting a mango, he would turn on his formidable charm with a little rakish grin and soon we would both be ecstatically eating the fruit. My Bong cook would look at us and disbelievingly mutter a theatrical “Odhboot” ( Uncanny/Abnormal). Last mango season when we had gone to my parents’ home , Bruce would bark excitedly, much to everybody’s incredulous amusement, whenever a ripe mango fell making a ‘plop’ noise. The other dogs were a bit condescending towards the little guy’s obsession with mangoes, but Bruce Wayne always smirked with the knowledge of one who is intellectually superior, chuckling in doggy lingo “Brains always over brawn & balls”.Yes, this little miniature pug could hold his ground amongst my bid breeds like Boxers, a German Shepherd, a Great Dane. He had a Zen like countenance and attitude to life which made my sister call him ‘Puga Master’.
He was becoming a little frail and I had realized the end was nearing. A few days back I had ordered a pram online, so I that I could take him for a walk in the park.’You aren’t serious?” said a friend. ‘I am’, I had replied firmly.’Brucie loves going for a walk, and if he is not strong enough to walk, I shall wheel him in a pram”, both Bruce and me fixed the chap with a baleful glare reserved for Philistines and refused to speak with him. Later, Bruce asked me to forgive him after he got us a half litre tub of Natural’s mango ice cream.
So, the Master left me yesterday. He went peacefully and yes after eating two huge mangoes.
He was a little warrior, fighting humans and fate, which had tried to break him.He emerged victorious over tremendous physical and mental abuse..Inside that tiny little body was an indomitable spirit. The Greek, Heraclitus, says of a warrior:”Out of every one hundred men, ten shouldn’t even be there, eighty are just targets, nine are the real fighters, and we are lucky to have them, for they make the battle. Ah, but the one, one is a warrior, and he will bring the others back”. Bruce brought me back many, many times from life’s battlefield of uncertainty and anguish.
I am happy that he died peacefully. Yes, I am grateful that he didn’t linger or suffer.
But I cry.
How does one hide from something which will never go away ?
By not hiding from it.
So each time I will eat a mango and read Ghalib, I will remember you Bruce….khuda hafiz…I wish the Rainbow Bridge had visiting hours.