It’s been six years.
Six long years, and I’ve seen you grow in front of me.
I remember the first time I went to the kennels, just about the time when I was still very scared of dogs. We looked at a few cute puppies that were let out of their cages, and they ran all about. I didn’t admit it back then, but I was freaking out. Did I really want a dog? These puppies seemed way too scary, maybe I shouldn’t get one? But then, you came.
You wouldn’t look up at any of us around you; you tried to hide into this little corner to the back of the motorcycle and dig yourself back into hiding. But Janaki Ramulu picked you up against your two arms, and yet, you wouldn’t look at him or into my eyes right next to him. You just kept looking at the ground, shaking your tail in fear. You seemed to be more scared than I was, and that was clearly saying a thing. But Nicky, that innocence, that naiveness, I knew I made the right choice by adamantly not wanting to see any other puppies and get you.
I looked at amma and nana with huge eyes and clasped my hands together about to beg to get you. But you hit all three of our hearts at once, you little monster. So, as random as it may have sounded back then, that casual visit to the kennels was the best decision in my entire life.
We signed a few, quick papers, paid the money and gave a quick visit to your parents’ cage. I’m so sorry you weren’t able to meet them, but I swear to you, they were the most beautiful creatures I’ve ever seen to date. But of course, you have the genes of beauty all in you – your parents and grandparents all champions of dog shows. No wonder the way you sway reminds everyone of a cat-walk.
And then they passed you on into my arms. The moment I’ll never forget.
I remember our car ride back home, and how hot your body was, how scared you seemed to be. We got you back home, and gave you that carpet, the food bowls and the toy. All you did was walk to the sofa, and try to hide behind it.
What were you back then, Nicky thali?
But yes, that shower Dad gave you seemed to do it. You seemed to feel so much more comfortable. And the next day after that? The same thing. With every passing day, you became a deeper part into the family.
But I’m not going to lie. The first 3 months after we got you home were probably my biggest regrets. Nicky, I was so scared of you! I’d run away from you, remember? I’d get all those lectures from Daddy asking me why I even wanted a dog in the first place. Why was I scared of a little, naïve, dumb dog like you, I will never know. I think it was the teething stage. Because hey, that’s actually slightly scary.
But I’m glad that didn’t last too long. The fear passed away with time, and you began to become a part of me.
We moved houses and you had to move from living inside the house to outside, because of the marble. I don’t know how you got used to the change, but I’m so proud of you for doing so.
It’s been 4 years since the change. But the change seemed to change tracks for a while. I’d see you less often, you weren’t there to watch television with us intently when grandma was watching her lame Telugu serials, you wouldn’t run into dad’s room because of the cooler air temperature – it was different.
And hey Nicky? I mean this from the bottom of my absolute heart. I’m sorry if along the way, I’ve seemed to come off as loving you less. I know there have been so many times when I felt too lazy to walk you around, or not sit out because of the mosquitoes. But I hope you know how much I wish I translated the same love to you. Biggest regret.
It’s true. I really wish you’d understand how much you mean to me. I really wish I could time-travel and have a re-start. But I know I can’t. But if I could, I would’ve made sure I cut that time on Facebook or watching television, by spending a full hour with you, instead of a rushed 15 minute walk. Because you deserve it baby girl, you really do.
Words cannot describe how much you mean to me and how much you’ve taught me, you little monster.
The way you wag your tail and come running to me everyday after school. The way your face lights up and you run all around in circles when we’re about to take you for that brisk 15 minute walk. The way you look deep into my eyes when I spend those rare, long stretches to just sit next to you – you put your paws and half your body on me, scared that I might leave or sometimes, even when you’re really sleepy, you make sure you don’t close your eyes completely, because I might leave just about again.
My little baby, you’re the kind of person I want to be one day. Strong, patient, forgiving, smart, beautifully majestic both inside and out and someone who loves more than her heart can contain.
Nicky, again, I’m so sorry I haven’t been there the way I promised to be there for you. I have about 6 months left here in India, before I leave to college. I promise to you there will be a change. I’ll fight for it, if it doesn’t happen. I’ll make sure I spend more time with you, I’ll make sure we have future days you can come into the house (we can figure out your marble problem later), I’ll make sure I’ll be able to show you how much you really mean to me kanna.
And after I leave too, I’ll make sure Sai takes on the same responsibility. Because we all love you the same.
It’s just, along the way, we’ve forgotten the things that really matter the most, and got lost in our own, other words of play and tension. We forgot that there’s the 5th member of our family, waiting for us to give her a little pat.
Nicky, you’re the best thing that’s ever happened to me. Don’t you ever think you’re different from the rest of family; you’re a part of us.
I love you so much, thanks for everything Nicky.
Watching you grow from the tiny, little 2-month puppy you were to the fierce, and strong girl you are today, was a privilege.
Happy 6th birthday little sister <3