The returning cycles of rain

| 5 MINUTE READ | An epilogue to ‘A lesson from Lila’.

While Zoe largely kept to herself, Lila had a fan following of humans and canines in the neighbourhood. Through small gestures, Zoe showed an uncharacteristic resentment towards Lila. When we called out to Lila, Zoe would jostle past her and lumber towards us for a pat. Used to a life of modest expectations, Lila adjusted to these small infractions. When Zoe was asleep, Lila would climb onto my thigh with both forepaws so we could rub our foreheads together.

We decided to relocate Lila to my mother’s bungalow in Vadodara. To allow both dogs their own independent turf.

My son Dhruva resisted the idea. It had taken time for her to settle down and he didn’t want her to be disrupted again.

When I booked Lila’s tickets, Dhruva decided to join me to escort her and help her settle into her new home. She spent the train ride climbing onto the edge of the 1st AC coupe window, trying to make sense of a world outside in furious retreat.

Lila seemed to distance herself from me in Vadodara. She preferred not to sleep in my room and curled up beside our security guard Amit’s bench downstairs. Her reception was more muted when I returned home each evening.

Amit walked her six times a day, bathed her and fed her. She shadowed him during his shift, including waiting for him outside the restroom. She spent the rest of her time with my mother. When Amma woke up at 4am, Lila would sneak up to her and sit beside her yoga mat as she went through her morning routine. Perched on Amma’s lap, they would listen to bhajans together. Lying in wait, as Amma worked in her study.

The spring in her step was missing but I knew it would come back. At the end of the first week, Dhruva wanted to take her back to Mumbai with him. I asked him to give her some more time.

One morning I heard a young girl calling out to Lila from our gate. It was my neighbour’s nine-year-old niece Tishtrya visiting from Mumbai. Lila ran towards her and snuggled into the small hands that reached out to her through the gate. Our home was infused with the sobriety of older people. What Lila missed perhaps was the company of another child.

Tishtrya began taking Lila home in the afternoons to play with her and their Terrier Rum. Her mum would send me pictures of them lined up on the floor, sleeping together. Videos of Tishtrya teasing her with treats. Of Rum cowering away in fear from the much smaller Lila, with Tishtrya’s voice in the background playfully cajoling her not to be afraid.

Tishtrya protectively carried her home in her arms each time. Lila now had her own girl gang. After this, the old Lila dance before mealtimes began to return.

I shared these with my wife and children, as the reassuring arc of Lila’s adjustment to her new home. Yet Dhruva struggled with her physical absence from his life. Each time we Zoom called for a math session, he would ask me to take him to Lila. I carried my laptop downstairs and they tried to connect through the pixels on my screen.

It was never my intention to write again about Lila. Until her sudden death in a road accident one Sunday morning.

There is an incoherence in the abruptness of her ending ~ And remorse ~ Felt like movements quietly hurtling against the insides of the body. Collecting around the heart and pushing it against the rib cage.

The reason why Beagles are most often used in lab testing is their trust and loyalty towards humans. What they get exposed to in return, is a slow poisoning that erodes that faith into a tentativeness. It goes no further because they don’t have the gene that seeds distrust or rancour.

Lila’s story was an oscillation between grief and love. She spent the last seven months of her life giving us an opportunity to redeem our humanity. Her vulnerability evoked a mystical affection, her still eyes a fervent devotion. Like a sage presence streaking briefly through our lives. Opening our hearts, occupying its unexplored recesses.

Tishtrya cried inconsolably. A few hours later she sent me an animation filled with tenderness.

Later that day she sent me this other one, of Lila drinking fresh water and Parle-G biscuits in heaven. Sending a message to Rum that they were best friends forever. The warmth with which she was navigating herself through the choppiness of her feelings comforted me.

After all this as dusk approached, she broke down and cried all over again. Her mother wondered if there was ever an easy way to explain death to a child.

I had to wait for ten days to inform my wife and children about Lila. To allow my daughter Shloka’s 10th standard mid-term exams to end. Before she sat for her math paper on the morning after Lila’s passage, we had the following conversation.

Amidst the paternal instinct to protect our children, we miss the organic intuitiveness in their relationship with life.

A fresh bowl of food. A walk in the outdoors. An expression of kindness. This is all Lila ever needed. To transmute fear into joy. In a world bound together by the endlessness of wants, she showed us that the simple things are all that we need.

Even as she waded through the dreamlike quality of her own recent memories with Lila, Tishtrya expressed her empathy for Shloka and Dhruva, whom she had never met except through the shared experience of a broken heart.

Every life ends by turning into a brief memory. Then a great silence.

But love remains. Like an unseen accumulation of hope. I felt it in the corridors of my home. In the returning cycles of the rain. In the quiet acceptance of an irreversible moment. In the fragile footprints, of all my four children.

48 thoughts on “The returning cycles of rain

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  1. Oh no Ananda.. so sorry to read this! Most be so difficult for all of you. My heart goes out to your children and to Tishtrya.. and to Rum. At least it seems like her last few days were filled with happiness and laughter..

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  2. So sorry to hear the sad demise of Lila. She had really left an impact of love in your life.. It will take some time , to come to terms with her absence, but time will help to heal. Keep safe! Cheer’s! Jeany aunty!

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    1. Dear Anand and your entire wonderful family,
      Really sorry to hear about your loss.
      Lila seemed to have made a soul connect with your family.
      It must be extremely painful ..Dogs give us Unconditional love .
      There must have been some Karmic connect with Lila and all of you.

      I guess life and death is not in our hands.But the pain and the void ‘ ‘passing over to the next world’ leaves is devastating.

      It must have been really difficult to explain ‘Death’ to the children and heartwrenching too.

      I can just fathom the pain their little tender hearts must have been exposed to.

      The deep sense of loss which all of you and Prema are feeling must be so so TERRIBLE. May God give all of you strength to bear it. Some Karmic Account Lila’s soul had with your family ,which had to be exhausted.
      I guess this is the only explaination one can think of.

      God bless you all always.
      Loads of love and prayers

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Hi Anand …. I was reading again and again because I was hoping to misunderstood it was Lila, your teacher , that is gone…. I am too touched right now to watch the movies ….I will do tomorrow …. I know exactly what you feel – it feels like somebody put the size of almost a rectangular tissue. box out of your Heart and the feeling that nothing can heal this wound …. but I know one thing will heal it : a new dog ….tell Lila in mind to determine the right moment and the right dog …. only somebody that has left her/ his dog knows the pain and I am so grateful that I could make the experience that unexpectedly a real broken heart can be healed by a new ( sounds strange because it’s not an object but you know how I mean it with my broken English ) doggy …. OPEN YOUR HEART TO SEE WHERE THERE IS A DOGGY SOUL WAITING FOR YOU …….. 🐶
    Warmest warmest regards from Germany to India ….. everything happens for a reason 🙏☘️

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  4. Anand
    So sorry for your loss. Am sure Lila is in a happy place. Hope all four of you find strength to recover from this.
    A really touching narration.
    Take care and hugs.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Sorry that Lila is gone. She continues to live in all your hearts. Hope Shloka , Dhruva and Tishtrya braved this loss well. You are a wonderful writer Anand. So expressive.

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  6. Thank you so much for sharing and being vulnerable. She is a beautiful soul who is spreading unconditional love even now, truly fulfilling her purpose!

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  7. “Like a sage presence streaking briefly through our lives.”– This line says it all.
    Once the grief mellows down to an underlying sadness, and the vacuum of acute loss is filled up with memory, this is what remains – the ‘sage’ness that has been imparted to you from a relationship (however brief) with a totally accepting being with primeval, trusting eyes. It is not just love which wanders through the corridors of your home, but her presence too!

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  8. That’s so sad 😦 RIP Lila ~ I think dogs are sent to us to help us learn unconditional love. They give us so much. Life is one big lesson in humility I think. Bless you

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  9. Beautifully written! Sincere condolences on your loss. RIP Lila!
    Haruki Murakami, the Japanese author puts it succinctly – in life, Pain is inevitable, Suffering is optional!

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  10. Reading that was heart breaking Anand! cant imagine how you must feel.
    Leah showed me the message Shloka sent her as soon as she found out and we both had a big lump in our throats thinking of you all. – me specially the two kids who I occasionally chat with either on zoom or on a call with leah.
    Even your earlier story on Lila was so endearing – this one even more so .
    Can’t imagine how you passed the 10 days without telling them.
    Stay strong in the fact that you all gave Lila a good life of all a beagle needs – a return of trust, love and loyalty!

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  11. Thanks dear Ananda. It was very moving, especially the story of the little girl.

    Dr (Sr) Mudita Menona Sodder RSCJ Sophia College for Women College Community Bhulabhai Desai Road Mumbai 400026 # 9082496737 Landline (022) 23510859 Sophia College (022) 23512642 /23523304 Email ID:

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  12. Lila. what a beautiful face you have!
    kind, peaceful, happy and unconditional love!
    Your face reminds me…….
    “every life ends by turning into a brief memory”
    Then a great silence.
    Realizing, death too is God’s creation.


  13. My grandchildren keep pestering us for a dog but as a Bombay person you would understand how difficult it is to keep a dog in a high rise. Besides once the kids grow we are left holding the baby and parting with them is more than a mere heart break.


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