The unexpected is usually what brings the unbelievable.’

After a certain age, you come to think that you have experienced all kinds of love and that there is nothing more to discover. That nothing could surprise you anymore. Then suddenly, love finds you, in the most unlikeliest of places and knocks the wind out of you.

I have never been an animal lover and I have never had a pet, in all my growing up years. So there was skepticism when my marriage took me to a household which had a pet dog. I mostly eyed the dog from afar with fear. Two years into marriage, expecting my first child, a ‘surprise’ in the form of a Labrador pup was trust on me. I resisted and baulked at the idea of taking care of it and cribbed all day long. In a matter of four weeks, we found a new home for the pup and I was relieved.
Couple of more years went by, and once again, a ‘surprise’ Labrador pup was brought home. Again, I put up the same show of bickering and annoyance, and this time too the pup was handed over to another family. By now I had made it clear to my co-inhabitants that a pet was definitely not my cup of tea and I do not enjoy surprises like these.

My young children (not-so-young anymore) stubborn as they are; were unwilling to give up on this idea. They were plotting once again, and the innocent me didn’t quite recognise the silent glances and giggles.

On one of those lazy Sunday mornings, I see my brood eating breakfast earlier than usual and getting ready with their father to step out. They coaxed me to reluctantly join them. I sat in the corner of the car not knowing where we were headed to. After 20 minutes, our car drove into a big mansion with a beautiful driveway. I was told it’s a courtesy visit to a colleague’s family.

The lady of the house ushered us in, offering tea and biscuits. During the conversation she started talking about vaccinations given and the diet to be followed. I kept nodding politely not knowing what she was referring to. Suddenly, my son interjected, “Aunty my mum does not know about this. It’s a surprise for her.” The word ‘surprise’ does not bring conjure up very pleasant memories for me.
She smiled, led me to another room and pushed open the door for me to see. I was greeted by six small fur balls running, playing and plopping over one another, and now excitedly rushing towards me. I squealed, eyeing my very loving and kind family for yet another ‘surprise’. They had been planning this for over two weeks and had already picked the white girl with black patches to be our pet. We drove back with this new white bundle propped in my arms .

Once home, I made it amply clear that I was not at all pleased with the current situation. But this time, I could not think of giving her away, because I knew I was in love. I, the no-animal type, was madly in love.
Mia, is what I decided to call her. She is a mix of Cuban Havanese and Lhasa Apso. It’s lost on me as to when I decided to become her mum. I cared for her day and night, cleaned her and let her sleep next to me and adjusted my life and routine around her. Whether it was a visit to my parents, a grocery store or a bank, Mia was my constant companion.

Mia and I have a routine in place; starting with our morning tea. When I work in the kitchen or at my desk, she sits by my leg and I talk to her about what I’m doing. Her responses are usually a ‘I don’t care’ look, or a bark, or a lick.

Mia is fed first, and only then the rest of the family gets their food. She possibly gets more variety to eat than my children. I even hired a help to be with her so that she is not alone when I step out for work. She has seldom been disciplined by me, neither have I taught her any tricks like
‘shake hands’,’ jump’ or ‘roll’. I just let her be. What’s important is that we understand each other very well and communicate perfectly.

She is pampered and spoiled rotten and kissed a zillion times in a day. (I am not at all suggesting that this is the right way to bring up a pooch, though.)
Today, Mia is just her certificate name. She is called Boo Boo girl, Appucha, Sugar, Sodu, Akusoto, Bumbum… the list goes on. And trust me when I say this, she responds to all the sweet names we call her by. 

My children now complain about not being taken care of and loved like Mia. She has taken over my life completely and they are forced to remind me that they are my children too. My Mia is my smile, my solace, my companion — a piece of my heart. I cannot fathom a space without her today.

It is she who helped me see that when we resist life rather than being in the flow of it, we miss out on many significant things. And the most resisted change can be the most beautiful one; bringing in great love and joy.

In poet Al-Farouk’s words:

‘Hey world!
Here is the surprising surprise.
So surprising to surprise you also.
Please forgive me in advance
Please sit on a firm sit
And wait shortly for the surprise.
It’s the surprising surprise.’

Love,
Sindhu

(PS: As I write this, my girl is sauntering near me, waiting to be lifted and kissed once again.)

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