October 23rd, 2018, Bandipur
My dear Boy,
Another year passed by, you are older by a year and I can hope to be wiser now, as older I am already You would have turned 70 today!
I sit here in ‘Ekant’ meaning Solitude and see the setting sun through the shell windows that have been so lovingly made for this space. And here I get time to ponder on things that the loud world out there does not allow to enter our minds, let alone giving the freedom to let thoughts arise from our deepest of fears so that we may confront them.
Many who read this may think is this a letter to a dog? But yes, in full measure! Our loved beings once they have left this physical abode, reside one with the supreme and that makes them understand that was perhaps inexplicable in the confines of their bodies.
Well what am I doing here? Waiting for the lights near your tree to glow after the last rays of the sun have turned their back on this landscape and only to return tomorrow. Those string of lights mark our spot where we spent lovely evenings together and is today your final resting place. My friend has so lovingly made a prayer wheel inspired from the Tibetan prayer wheels and it reads:
King Shaka, the hound who made this land home and us complete…
Guess what, a guest who stayed that day you left us for the eternal hunting grounds, saw the clipping of your resting place on you tube and took time to write to me remembering the day. You left none untouched and still make me believe in the goodness of man.
Well this letter is to tell you what’s going on in your kingdom as a lot has happened which you will be glad to note.
At last they are here, the brides for Jabu. Well we got them from far away Dindigul, which in itself was an exercise. They are from a friend’s litter, but the breeder wasn’t ready to give them singly and in hindsight I know now why. I waited till those two were vaccinated and then planned to drive back all in the comforts of my new car. It was the need to drive you to the vet that was the main reason to fight my way through to get a driver’s license in India and it helped many times that I did drive you that car.
We have named them Thabisa (Delight) and Jameela (the beautiful one) and believe they are aptly named, for the two have stolen my heart just the way you did. Just last week I drove through Adyar in Chennai and I still remember so vividly our first visit to the vet with you who was just a small pup and the day ending with your snout next to me making me instantly a proud father.
Playful they are, both with Thabisa having a deep look at oneself like almost hypnotising and Jameela who was so reserved but on the drive the ice between us broke. We made a pit stop and I cleaned the crate for her and made sure she was next to my legs and today she just wants my lap and is also so demanding that she should be the only one with me.
I know that all to well as you were no different. You wanted me just for yourself and not a minute of separation was acceptable to you when I was home. Even dinner would be served and you would still hang around me and make a distinct sound as if to say: Oh! Relieve me from my duty I need to quickly grab a bite too. And all I would say Go and you would be back after your meal.
On your birthday as I sit here in my ‘Solitude’ the two are here on the sofa making this place not so lonely and reminding me that you, the King just sent in these two to stand in for you and make sure the love that we so have shared becomes bigger and bigger and knows no bounds whatsoever. I hope they after their first heat are loving accepted in our pack. Well I proudly can share that we all did howl at this very spot looking at the Nilgiris in the distance, thus I am hopeful.
It’s dark by now and yes the lights have come on and what do I see Thabisa and Jameela have left and moved to their places to rest for the night and the sofa has now Baby Zulu resting, dozing but still now and then watching what I am up to. She would get up once I decide to go back to our suite. She seems to have taken up your job and is so different and doesn’t leave my side, well not the times she is on her hunt 😊.
Well you may ask why all this arrangement called Ekant? Well if you remember this is the same space with the tent and its deck where we have spent countless evenings and I wasn’t quite sure what would come of that space. You were suddenly taken away from my life leaving me with so many questions to answer I needed space to think, be with myself and be close to you somehow. I did go with this question to my dear friend Nagesh who designed the wheel for you and he was able to understand what was required and so this place came to be. Well now I share the space with your pack and revel in the togetherness and love that is unconditional. What I can’t do is but stop myself from trying to look at those lights at night and the tree at day and now and then seeing a silhouette of you proudly standing with an eye over your shoulder looking at me. And I feel that I have been loved.
For the guests of Dhole’s Den:
This space called Ekant is open on invitation only and I shall gladly spend time with you and tell you stories of how Shaka lived, why there are owls everywhere in Dhole’s Den made from fabric and what is it that makes the hound the best friend of man.
Well you can also experience The Perch a lovely machan that is on the top level of Ekant which has wonderful vistas in store for you from the Nilgiris to Moyar or the landscape of Dhole’s Den. I leave you with some images and videos. Welcome to Dhole’s Den!