Dolly Koghar writes a memoir of doggy love.
There’s a dog pathetically moaning from a house horizontally across my bedroom, haunting me with memories of my beloved Snoopy. He’s definitely in a place reserved for dogs in heaven, for their love without expectation and for listening without judgment. There’s nothing you can do that can make them dislike you; literally nothing.
A dog was the last thing in my plans when we shifted back to Thailand in 2006 because, although Thailand is my country of birth, it wasn’t a homecoming! But I made the stupid mistake of taking my very young grandchildren to a beagle farm, and of course, came home with a puppy in my arms. Since he was a beagle, naming him Snoopy seemed apt; although he never became philosophical or tutored us in life like his famous namesake, created by Charles M. Schultz. Nevertheless, the amount of undulating love and warmth he gave made the transition that much more bearable.
Till then, I’d lived here collectively for only 14 years; my early childhood years and my early teens when I joined school here. My first stint abroad was when at nine I was packed off to a boarding school first in Darjeeling, then in Mussoorie. When China invaded the Indian border along the Himalayan range where the convents were situated, I came back here and finished high school at the Ekamai International School (EIS). Within a month of graduation, I was married and whizzed off to the ‘land of the rising sun,’ Japan, where I was like a fish in quicksand, with not a word of Japanese in my vocabulary, and the country without a single signboard in English.
Eventually, I picked up the language and the nuances and went about my life, bringing up four children, and building and moving homes many times over in Kobe itself, since we were in real-estate. I’ve also lived at length in far off continents and countries, while opening new frontiers and offices in cities like L.A. and Seoul. Despite all this moving and shuffling, it never occurred to me in my wildest dreams that I was heading for my biggest adventure to date.
After the Kansai quake of 1995, hubby dear had me pack-up, lock-stock, and shift to Bangalore. It was like a nightmare happening in real time, which I won’t get into right now, because the beginning alone would be of War and Peace proportions! But simply put, India is a planet far removed from someone from Thailand, and then from a precise and orderly country like Japan! To add onto the chaos and teeming humans that is India, Bangalore in ’95 wasn’t a Hindi-speaking state!
But we humans are strange creatures because when it came time to leave, I’d fallen in love with that place and everything that it was infamous or badnam (bad-name) for. It’s truly ‘God’s own country;’ chaotic, with a rhythm of its own, where miraculously cars don’t collide with each other or mow down the cows, the stray dogs and the beggars. The country has managed to race past the world despite being home to a quarter of the world’s populace, totally diverse in culture, language, cuisine and the gods worshipped.
Here is my ode to dear Snoopy who nuzzled up to me when I was blue, and licked the tears off my face when I was scared and floundering; his unwaning adulation enabled me to find my feet in Bangkok once again. I’ll never forget him bumping around the house totally blind, but undaunted, after a malignant tumor was found in his one eye and I took the drastic decision to gouge it out, and within a year, his remaining eye. Soon after, the four elements started disintegrating and we were forced to place him in a small hospital on Rama III for 24/7 care. The last we met, pus was seeping from every pore, and he could barely lift his head, but he came forward on his wobbly legs and through his sealed shut eyes, boundless love oozed! That’s my Snoopy!