Tuesday, September 09, 2008
Adieu to Lisa Chow
My world was falling apart. I felt alone in a city I'd moved to and decided to make my home. Disillusioned, lonely, heartbroken, I needed a friend. I returned home every night only to be enveloped by the silent walls of my apartment where my mind screamed for some peace of mind. I needed an escape. And I didn't want to be alone.
Here I was, miles from home, in a new city to be with the man I loved and yet in the aftermath of the relationship, making my way through the carnage of my shattered dreams I craved for somebody to talk to, a shoulder to cry on, somebody to need me, somebody to just be there and break the silence of the looming walls of my fourth floor apartment.
Sometimes animals lend you the support humans fail to give. One sunny afternoon I made my way through Russel Market. I didn't know what I was looking for. Was hoping to find a pet, probably a duckling. Then I saw them; their beady red eyes glowed in the sunlight and three furry creatures turned their curious little noses towards me and captured my heart. Henry Hog, Lisa Chow and Molly Glutton found their way into my heart and into my apartment in Bangalore and turned it into a home. Coming home wasn't so bad after all. I'd fish out my key from my purse and the sound of the door unlocking would send the threesome into a frenzy. Their squeals brought the house alive. I'd watch with amazement carrots, cabbage, tomatoes disappear into their ever hungry stomachs in seconds.
The three guinea pigs became more than just pets..my roommates, my friends, my family, my emotional walking stick. As I watched my world crash and my dreams shatter the threesome made themselves comfortable in their new home. But it was time to move on, and move out and return to Bombay. Time to start a new life. Emotionally drained, I don't think I had the strength to start anew or even the courage to deal with what was happening. My family thought I'd be better off moving back home to Bombay with my pets. They'd help me deal with my pain and keep me engaged. Well....they were right.
Hog, Chow and Glutton flew to Bombay, Indian Airlines, economy class. Happy with a bigger enclosure and the new city they decided to start a family. 4 months after we moved to Bombay, one morning Chow very coyly introduced us to her litter of two. Soon our guinea pig family grew from three to nine.
In the months that followed some friends adopted 4 of the piglets and two continued to live with us even after they grew up and the five pigs provided endless hours of fun and companionship.
Over five years have passed. The pigs grew old and passed on. Lisa Chow, the last of them lived to a ripe old age of five and a half years.
A lot changed over five years and most importantly I changed and with me my life changed. I didn't need an emotional walking stick any more. I was stronger and ready to take on life. I think Lisa Chow waited till she knew in her little-guinea-pig-way that I was strong enough now and she was free to succumb to the hand of time.
I returned from a 3 week vacation to find Chow on her side, a film covering her eyes had blinded her, her little feet had no strength to support her body and still she called out in recognition every time I passed her basket. In our five and a half years together she could recognise me from the sound of my footsteps. The vet recommended some medicines and gave her three days to recover. "Put her to sleep in three days if the medicines don't help and end her suffering; she's lived a full life" he said.
I watched her writhe in pain for 3 days and she very demurely let us feed her medicines(with a dropper), water and food. Her condition was beyond repair and on 5th September just before midnight Chow breathed her last.
This is a final adieu to my guinea pig family. They shared with me the worst and the best years of my life.