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Posts Tagged ‘Golden retriever’

Having reached ahead of me, Brody stood on an un-parked spot as if to reserve the spot for me. I got off the vehicle with my pawed friend in tight leash. Grimacing about the agonies of containing my mad canine especially when passing or stopping by an eatery, I walked with Brody till the front of the cafe.

He turned around and asked what he could order for me. I told him – “Just a strong hot Flat White, no sugar would be great. Thanks”. Brody went in to order while I found a table for 2 and settled down Molaga who started eyeing the cafe and back at me, begging with his pitiful ‘Poor Me’ whine and soulful eyes. I was just deciding whether to treat Molaga or not when Brody came with a packet of Biscotti and settled onto his chair.

Molaga on his best behaviour

And of course one can guess who Molaga’s new best friend would be. The traitorous mutt! He sat erect in his most well-behaved posture in front of Brody as if to say -“Hi! I’m a good dog on my best behaviour. So I deserve a treat!!!” Brody asked if it was OK for him to give the Biscotti to Molaga. And I just nodded my acquiescence. He smoothed Molaga’s golden head while the mutt munched and grunted on his treat relishing it every bit. Brody asked what his name was -?

I replied saying that his name was ‘Molaga’ meaning ‘Chilli’ in my mother tongue Tamil. He found that amusing and repeated the word ‘Molaga’. Molaga looked up as if we both were nuts to keep calling out his name while he was very much there. He turned around to look at me, as if to say -“Duh…”

After a few awkward moments of silence, both Brody and I broke into speech at almost the same time. I asked – “So are you from around here…” and he came with -“So do you like living in Auckland?”. And I told him I’ll answer first and replied that “Yeah. I do like Auckland. It’s a melting pot. Love meeting people from different walks of life! It’s been great so far. Knock on wood!”. He leant back and said “In reply to your question, yes actually. I have lived here pretty much my whole life. Best thing about this particular suburb is one gets the best of the country and city life”. I nodded and lapsed into silence.

View of Auckland

I observed him quietly sitting across me. There was something about him. He seemed to be on edge yet I could sense an inner struggle in him to act normal and relaxed. Up close, I sized him up concluding he probably would be about 5’10 – 5’11, toned & athletic looking, nice features with chestnut-brown hair and bright hazel eyes. A boy next door type.

He moved his chair forward a bit, and leant his elbows on the table joining his hands as if in prayer. He said -“About what happened just now, I am not like this…you know!!” I shook my head and replied – “Hey look, let’s just put that behind us and go our own ways. It’s no Biggie! You did buy me coffee to make up right?”

He started replying -“But you don’t deserve….

“Here’s the lady’s Flat White and the Gentleman’s Caramel Latte. Enjoy your coffee”, said the waitress smiling nervously hedging around Molaga. If only she knew Molaga up close. He was such a marshmallow once he gets to know someone.

“As I was saying, I shouldn’t have turned on you when all you were doing was try to help”. He took a deep breath and exhaled, looked up at me and said -“I had one of my panic attacks. I normally get them when there is lightning and thunder”.

My expression softened with understanding and said ‘Oh! I understand.” I was unsure if I could ask the next question and wondered if it would get too personal. But I went ahead anyway, -“So do you take any counselling and do you try to avoid wet weather outings?” For a moment he looked mortified and as if he was not going to answer it then he shrugged saying -“Tried both, been there, done that. What else can I say?”

I thought to myself, ‘Well that was short’. But didn’t answer any of my questions that were running at the back of my mind. ‘What made an adult like him be scared of thunder and lightning’. I mused to myself – ‘Perhaps a bad experience in childhood!!!’.

After we both took a few swigs of coffee, he straightened his spine as if to gather some strength. He spoke in a demurred voice -“I hate thunder and lightning, coz my dad died on one such night. And I get these attacks because it reminds me of that night…..images of a heavy downpour, flashing lightning and the horrendous sound of cracking thunder….fills my ears”. I didn’t want to interrupt him looking at him lost in painful memories, his eyes losing a bit of the brightness it had earlier.

Fear of lightning and thunder

 

He looked up with a drooping sad smile and pulled himself together saying – “Look at me telling my life’s story to a complete stranger”. I thought to myself that some of his behaviour at least made some sense. And my hand reached out to him on its own to comfort his palm, I squeezed his hand gently as if to reassure him.

He seemed embarrassed by his opening up to me the way he did and his cheeks flushed a bright tomato red. He withdrew his hand from mine.

I told him, “This is perfectly fine. Did you know it helps if you actually talk about your issues”.  He nodded accepting I was right but I knew in my heart that he didn’t buy that philosophy one bit.

 

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Molaga at the beach

It was a pleasant cool late afternoon. Molaga* and I went for a walk. I usually take him to a nearby park for a stroll. Since he was in his best behaviour during the past week, I decided to take him down a bit further to one of the paw-friendly regional parks with splendid beaches in the north.

Molaga saw that this was a new place, and he started acting in a frenzied manner as if he hadn’t been let out in ages. So as a result, the moment I popped the car door open, the mutt flew past me like a bullet chasing the poor sea gulls and pigeons that were peacefully pecking away at the ground. I called out to him and told him to calm down. But he just won’t pipe down until he had run off the excess energy he had today. I didn’t have the heart to hook him on the leash and let him have fun and sniff around. I followed him around.  We approached a cute little wooden bridge that stood over a beautiful little creek. And I pointed to it and told Molaga, to see how cute this place was. And suddenly his ears perked up and he took off. I chased after my golden retriever yelling out – ‘Molaga!!! Molaga!!!! Come here, right now!!!”. The naughty young mutt ran past the bridge and tried slithering through a rabbit hole. And I just barely managed to grab his collar before he got away again. I dropped to the ground on my knees to catch my breath. Something white and dirty caught my eye at the edge of the rabbit hole. I bent over and peered into the underground tunnel. And I saw that there was a dirty white coloured bundle that Molaga was trying to pry out of the ground. I put my hand out and pushed his nose out-of-the-way. He was miffed by it but put up with me. “Ever curious”! I thought myself. I pulled the bundle out. Its was knotted up at the top. I struggled to undo the knot. While my hands were working away at the knots, I looked around at my surroundings, while Molaga patiently watched me with ever-growing irritability as to when I will get it over with.

On my right ahead, was a thicket of trees and a clearing with glimmering black sands leading its way to the pristine blue beach. On my left were more walkways, barbeque bench tops and burners. I look around for people, but there was not much sign of activity. This particular area looked as if no one had visited here in ages. And it was as though this place held a secret.

After a bit of struggle, I finally open the bundle. In lay a crumpled piece of paper covering a fist sized volcanic rock. I dust the paper and spread it out on the ground.  Long cursive hand writing was scrawled across the paper. It read –

“Sands, rocks, seas and shores,
Together they make, a mystery for four,
The glowworms breath shows you the light,
Damp and safe the walls of might,
Protecting the stories and legends of,
War heroes of the Aborigines tribe,
You seek a weapon, a weapon of worth,
A weapon the cave holds worth the fight,
Try very hard, try you might,
Glory be theirs, for those who seek and find,
Returns to the owner he who threw it to flight,
And return home with victory like the weapon’s might!”
– 18.04.1994
 

My mind immediately thought, this is just the sort of thing Enid Blyton would write for her mystery lovers. I read the piece of poetry over and over again. Trying to think what on hell’s hole this weapon might be. I turned the paper over to check for further clues. And it read on the other side -“Happy Birthday Son! Your present awaits you! That is, if you manage to crack its location! Haha!” My first thought was what a cheeky dad this guy must have been.

And the second thing I thought was -“Wow! What a cool way to say Happy Birthday to their child”. And a melancholy thought struck me just about the same time. That “I” opened this bundle. And the child never got to open his dad’s present. The thought saddened me. Molaga of course thought that I was upset with him as I had suddenly gone quiet all of a sudden. He started licking me all over my face saying sorry and that he will behave. And I thought, -“As if”!

I decided on the spot, that although this father’s gift didn’t reach his son, at least I can try to make it some other little boy’s day! Yes. I resolved to crack this puzzle.

It was getting late and decided to come back here again. I made cross marks on few trees leading up to my secret rabbit hole on my way back home in case more clues lay nearby.

Much more of the story coming up. Stay tuned!

*Molaga means ‘Chilli’ in the Tamil language


 

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