She came into our lives just when I was about to start college. I came to know right before boarding the train to Delhi for a college entrance exam. I was ecstatic. She would probably be like a younger sibling. It was just that I was going away for studies and would not get to spend time with her. That was the catch. Since she was the only one at home with my parents, she soon assumed that they were exclusively for her. Everyone else was just a guest in her scheme of things till my brother moved back in. That was perhaps her first insight into having to share with someone. I was still away and for the first few years she at times gave me signals that she didn’t like me around my parents too much! The memory of those expressions still makes me smile. Its only when she moved to Delhi with them that she began to accept me as a part of “her“family.
She was extremely intelligent, sophisticated and quite amusing. 10 p.m was bed time for her though like a responsible family member she would get up at midnight and stroll into each room to check on all of us. She never missed the morning greeting. She always peeped through the door seeking permission to enter the room if the door wasn’t completely ajar instead of barging in. She was fond of home-made cakes and would wait patiently to be served right from the time the ingredients were being mixed. She loved to be with people and whenever we all sat together she would want to be in the midst of the group so that she could listen to everyone. She did not like being left out of any fun activity and when Mom and Dad played rummy, the moment the sound of shuffling cards reached her ears, she would rush in lest she miss out on a deal. She disliked climbing stairs if the apartment elevator stopped working and would prefer going into one of the flats on every floor instead of climbing further. During a car ride, she would sit in the middle of the back seat and peep in between the two front seats instead of enjoying the view outside through the window. Her innocent thinking that if she covered her face and couldn’t see others then no one could see her too and her guilty look when she knew she had done something unacceptable always made her get away with it. The list of her amusing antics can go on and on.
Beneath her aggressive demeanor was a world of warmth and her eyes were the most expressive ones I have seen. She loved having guests over and would get upset when someone was leaving. Even the sight of luggage being packed made her gloomy. She was very popular amidst all our relatives and was often a subject of conversation. She moved across cities with my parents, adapting to each new place without complaining. She was always Daddy’s girl but I think deep down she had a soft corner for my mom. Dad might have had to call twice but one call from Mom and she would come rushing in.
Over the years, the youthful enthusiasm subdued and she started behaving more like a grandma. She did not like being disturbed with the daily banter and preferred her quiet nap in the warmth of the winter sunshine. But one thing that could always elicit an excited response from her was the aroma of any curry being cooked and even though she appeared to not be bothered, she would continue to steal glances wondering how long it would take to get prepared.
Jojo, our pet Labrador passed away peacefully last week after 13 years of a healthy and happy life. May God bless her soul. She gave us immense love and happiness and will always remain a special one…