Varda sat there with a blank look. The frame above the fireplace held the photo of a handsome man with a strongly built canine by his side. The man in the frame was the first living being she fell in love with. She recalled the first time when he had held her as a child against his chest, while she was just a few months from turning one. She recalled the warmth of his hand over her tiny head. His touch had healed her insecurities and fears. They were to become the best father daughter duo soon!
She even reminisced the moments when he would take her out for those long drives with the cool winds of that tiny hill station caressing her long tresses. She loved it when he made her favorite Chicken sausages on Sundays. The long walks, the cool beats that played on the audio during long drives, running along the rugged forest trails during Spring, the musicals that played on the old gramophone at night, she missed them all. And, she missed him terribly. Especially, the mere physical presence…….
………………………………………………………………..4 years ago………………………………………………………………..
Varda was barely 5 months old when Wilson, a 50 year old widower had adopted her. Rather, he had rescued her. The feisty little hybrid Indie faced her first brush with death when she ran wildly towards the other end of the road chasing a beautiful polka dotted butterfly, oblivious to the peering headlights and the blaring horn that was heading her way. The butterfly disappeared into the mist. But, it was just too late for Varda to comprehend that she was hit and almost run over on her leg by the speeding car. She shrieked in pain and, winced for three hours till her eyes began to droop and, her voice had become weak. But the pain did not last. Perhaps, the pain went numb as her eyes were closing. She probably had visions of polka dotted butterflies and, yellow and black striped bees that was later followed by an excruciating pain. She opened her eyes gently and peered into that empathy filled face of the man she was going to know as her master soon! And then, her eyes closed again although she heard a lot of noises for a very long time. After an hour that seemed like ages, she opened her eyes again to find herself on a table and, a pair of hands with a needle. The world went blank after that.
A few days passed by. Varda drifted in and out of consciousness. She heard some muffled voices intermittently. “The medicines are doing their job. Her foot will heal. It is surprising that she survived such an accident! And Wilson, your faith is like a rock! When I looked at her mangled lower body, I had given up on treating this malnourished pup! Your faith actually got me through, here! That said, she will take a few more months to heal completely.”, said Dr. Sharma.
And what the silver haired man said after etched into her memory for a lifetime – “Common Sharma, In my time, I have seen the best fall and, the mediocre rise like phoenix. Somehow, her heartbeat assured me that she is a fighter! Had Shirley been here, she would have been on cloud nine…..” (Silence)
See, she is listening! sharp girl…..Varda!”
Sharma swayed his head from left to right with a grin – “right! After the storm, Varda eh?”
It would take three more months for the Varda to realize how her life was about to be filled with sunshine after that stormy night!
Wilson had been married to Shirley for about 30 years. They were the perfect couple who had raised good children and, discovered a deeper love for each other with age. However, his plans to globetrott and, spend his post retirement life completely with his soulmate came to a deafening halt when Shirley suddenly passed away in her sleep one fine day. The void hit him so hard that grief now became a part of him. After retiring as a Colonel from the Indian Army and post, Shirley’s untimely demise, he went away from the crowd to lead a quiet life in the serenely calm hills of Kalimpong. His children had studied well and, were settled abroad. They would visit him once a year and at times, he would go and live with them for a few months. However, Shirley’s absence could not be filled even while his children and grandchildren admired and loved him unconditionally. He was still an affectionate parent and a grandparent. But, he kept his aloofness at times, intact. And after 10 long years of grief, that late evening walk brought in a change in his life, a change he never imagined. Varda, the storm had arrived in his life with her agenda of ‘butterflies and bees’!
Over the period of four years, they were together, they became the perfect master canine pair. Varda was a quick learner, given her strong genes from the great Indian Mastiff. Besides, having been born a stray, her adaptability to environments was amazing. She learned the tricks of fetching and hunting with the retired veteran. She loved running through the forest trails while the old man would yell – “Go girl, go! Run with the wind”. She even helped as a runner and fetcher when they went for long treks and expeditions wherein, Wislon would set up tents at night. They went fishing together in the small lake nearby on Sundays. After all, swimming was Varda’s favorite sport!
From a flustered and scared pup, Varda transformed slowly and steadily into a fiercely loyal and, an extremely vigilant canine. Wilson’s children fell madly in love with Varda’s charm when they visited their father. And, so did their children and, so did the children in the neighborhood. Life was good until….the fateful night of 11th April.
They had gone for a long drive as usual, which was always a part of their daily drill. Somewhere in between those bouts of joyful barking and laughter, somewhere in the middle of those mindless banter of how the world had gone from bad to worse, the incessant talker and the good listener missed the board of – Work in Progress, while they drove on, into a route towards the unfinished bridge covered in mist, that would later seal their fate.
When the hit happened, Wilson and Varda had looked into the face of death for the first and last time when the jeep hit the boulder and, tumbled into the river. That moment was too deep and too short and yet, too loud. And then, everything was calm. Deafeningly calm.
Varda looked up at the frame again. It had been four days since her master departed. And yet, she could not accept that he was gone! Although the short four golden years of her life felt like a a drop in the ocean of uncertainties she faced in the first few months of her life, that precious drop of assurance also made her believe in the fact, that there was enough sunshine in the world for everyone.
As she looked up, she saw the crowd paying respects to her master. It was then, she saw Marissa – Wilson’s granddaughter place a small toy near the frame and say – “Will miss you too, Varda”.
Suddenly, there was a blinding light at the door. Varda saw the familiar face and, barked with joy! None heard her barking. But, he did. And, she took the joyful leap into his outstretched arms as he said, pointing towards the sky – “Come girl, I know a forest out there…with so many butterflies and bees…..and we have a lot of exploring to do….”
————————————————–Butterflies and Bees———————————————————
P.S: The above post is my humble attempt at writing fiction.