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The Treaure – Cookie

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My grandmother was my biggest companion. I remember her telling me all kinds of bedtime stories and making me say the ‘Hare Rama Hare Krishna,’ bhajan on repeat until I felt more at peace. I remember her making tiny rice balls, mixed with sambar or rasam and curd and pappadam and feeding them to me. My sister was always too busy with her friends and their ‘adult girl talk,’ which I did not understand till I was about fourteen years old. My parents were at work and I spent time with them only in the evenings when they were back. So my real best friend, my secret keeper, my forever go-to person was my grandmother. I told her everything free of judgement and with a bed of enthusiasm. She was suddenly diagnosed with uterine cancer and I was completely broken. I couldn’t digest it for the longest time, I convinced myself that it was all just a nightmare and I remember trying to slap myself awake from it, but it was my harsh and brutal reality.

It was during this time that my father realised that I was in need of a companion, that I needed someone to be there for me. I vaguely remember him saying, “she needs this, I want to be able to help her.” I wondered what he was talking about, I thought he was having a discussion with mom about my grandmother and her sickness. Little did I know what was in store for me, the very next day. I heard a knock on my bedroom door, in my half asleep, dreary tone I said, “come in.” It was my dad, “I have a surprise for you my little baby, I know how much your grandmother’s suffering must be affecting you and so I thought you should have another companion,” he said. “I don’t want anyone other than grandma, she’s my best friend,” I told dad quite firmly. “It’s something you’ve always yearned for, baby,” he concluded. My thirteen year old brain, for the life of me, could not remember what he was talking about. My half-asleep dazed brain suddenly turned on like a bulb, “was he really talking about that? was he serious?” I had thoughts running through my brain faster than the speed of light. But all I could do was stare at him with hopeful, wide eyes and a sheepish grin, “are you really serious about that?” I asked. “Why don’t I show you how serious I am,” he said and I saw the twinkle in his eye. He opened the door and in came running my new furry companion. A labrador with the most pleading eyes and the cutest puppy face in the world, his golden tail wagging non-stop, one look at him and he looked exactly like the colour of marie biscuit which is my favourite. “Biscuit,” I squealed his name, he turned so fast upon hearing it, almost like a whiplash. I squealed into a series of giggles, he was just too cute for me to comprehend.

I remember carrying him everywhere I went, it was summer vacation and I have never been more happy not to go to school. I remember running down the stairs with him in my hand, so tender and innocent, “grandma, meet biscuit, he’s going to be with me forever, just like you,” I said it all so fast, all in one single breath. “Oh, babygirl, you know I can’t be with you forever, you know one day I will need to leave, but no matter where I go, I know you will always keep me in your heart,” said grandma. “No grandma, I won’t let you go anywhere,” I said with a pout on my lips and tears brimming my eyes. But somewhere in me, I knew that she was right. After a year and a lot of suffering my grandmother passed away. Nothing hurt me more than that, just like she said, she had to go. I took a long time to fully recover from the bitterness of that pain. The only reason I had the strength to be there for her and not break down through her suffering, was Biscuit. Even after her death, my healing power was Biscuit, he was my treasure.

Biscuit and I have shared a whole lot of ups and downs in my life. He would either give the ‘puppy dog eyes,’ no matter how old he got for food or he would come and situate himself on my lap and curl up and sleep on my lap, no matter how big he got. It was time for me to go to college and I was sitting outside on my portico and reminiscing all my beautiful memories with Biscuit. He sat beside me as I was in nostalgia, as usual with him trying hard to fit on my lap. I remember the time he came home. My house was located away from the city, towards the outskirts of the main city. My house is surrounded by forest, except for the two houses opposite mine and Biscuit had designated himself as the guard of all three houses and he executed his duties with perfection that the whole street knew of the dog, Biscuit.

Biscuit’s biggest adventure and biggest fear was always the trip to the vet. He would be the most excited to go to the vet, even though he knew it was to the vet. But, the moment we reached the vet, Biscuit would run and go berserk and become completely unmanageable for me. Another one of Biscuit’s characteristics is that he is a very protective as well as possessive dog. He always hated anybody hugging me, he would jump in between. As long as he was included in the hug, nothing made him more content. He knew he was my best friend and he took advantage of it, most of the time. It is only for him I would sacrifice my sleep, feel sorry and share fruity flavoured ice-creams, give him tiny bits of food like dosa without anyone’s knowledge. Since he was brought home, he has been allowed onto my bed, he’s the only one with whom I cuddle and sleep like a baby. We both loved to snuggle up against one another. It gave us both a peculiar warmth.

But now it was time for me to leave him behind and venture into my college adventures. But I just didn’t know if I would ever be able to be without him. It has always seemed impossible to me. He was seven years old but to me he would always be my baby, my first and most loveable baby, my bestest friend, it was all only Biscuit. “I think your absence is going to take a bad toll on you and Biscuit, you’re both set up for problems. I think we should get Biscuit a companion,” my dad told me this one day. I remembered the time I had to leave Biscuit for two weeks and go for my college interviews and other travels. My parents who I had convinced to stay back and look after him, telling me that he was going through depression and anxiety. After I returned, Biscuit was upset at me for about two days and the doctor had told me how Biscuit’s depression and anxiety had been kickstarted due to the fear of losing me as well as loneliness. He had seen the death of my grandmother at a very young age and so my disappearance for two weeks triggered his memory. “I have spoken to the doctor and he too has backed me about Biscuit needing a companion,” my dad’s words shook me out of memory lane. I too agreed with my dad and mom was always happy to have more pets in the house.

The next morning, as I walked out of my room, I saw my mom and dad looking stunned at something. I wondered what it was. “Biscuit and I went to the store on top of the hill for a walk and there was this labrador puppy someone had abandoned. I was afraid when Biscuit started approaching it, but as he went closer, he eyed the puppy and suddenly started licking him. He took him by his mouth as if it was his baby. He placed the puppy down and started barking at me. When I took the puppy in my hands, Biscuit led the walk back home. It is as if he found the puppy for himself,” my mother hurriedly concluded the story. “I guess we don’t have to look for a companion for him anymore, he’s made his choice,” I stated.

I looked at the puppy and was stunned it was the same as Biscuit, those deep brown eyes, the same overexcited tail wagging so fast and so hard! The same puppy dog look which was too hard to resist, and which almost never got a no from anyone. It was my little Biscuit born again! My little baby Biscuit has found a baby of his own. Now what do I name him? I thought. “Cookie,” I voiced my thoughts out. I got two woofs, one from Biscuit and one from the puppy, I took that as an agreement to the name and since then Biscuit and Cookie, were the two dogs that guarded my locality. Biscuit was always on the lookout for Cookie, he protected Cookie and became Cookie’s brother and father all in one. All Cookie needed was Biscuit. He copied his every move and played with him and teased him. It was extremely entertaining for my parents as well as me. Biscuit always made it a point to sleep above Cookie and eventually through the night, he would end up next to him. Biscuit and Cookie, became a mirror of Biscuit and me, one would not be seen without the other. They were always together. Even after I left mom would always show me Cookie wrapped inside Biscuit’s arms or Biscuit getting tired as he grew older and as he ran more with Cookie.

Three years had passed and I was back home from college. Biscuit was now around eleven years old and Cookie was around three years old. Biscuit had become old and weak and was near closing his eyes and joining my grandmother to become a shining star in my sky. I always believed that my grandmother had become a shining star in the sky and was keeping a look out for me through Biscuit. I always believed that she had left a part of herself in Biscuit which turned him into my most faithful companion like she was. Now, it was time for Biscuit to leave and I was older now and stronger too and yet I wasn’t sure if I could face the inevitable. After a month of spending all my waking and sleeping hours with my two furry best friends, Biscuit left me and Cookie to look out for each other. We dug Biscuit in our backyard, I helped my dad dig his grave and cried my lungs out, with Cookie on my lap. He tried his best to lick away the tears that fell down my eyes, just like my baby Biscuit used to do. For a long time after Biscuit’s departure, Cookie and I would sit in the place he was buried. I would talk to him, while Cookie slept peacefully on the grave. At night, Cookie and I would stare at the sky and I would see two stars, shining brightly and in my head, I had named them grandma and Biscuit. It is during all these times, that I realised that Cookie was the real treasure that Biscuit had found.

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