TODAY -

The brown king & his kingdom

AK Sophia *

Mongrel - The brown king & his kingdom



Bruno....he is a survivor. He is one of the best things to happen in my life. There are indeed many ways of gathering wisdom, one's insights can come from anything, from a person, an animal, a chance encounter, a solitary tree, a child on the street. All of these might end up as one of the best teachers.

To cut the speculation short about who he is, Bruno, the mongrel, is a member of the NOLS India, Ranikhet family. NOLS India is my current place of work. Nobody knows how old he is, about what he feels, about what he thinks and what he expects out of life. But nonetheless in all the times that I have known him, he has never learnt the meaning of defeat, he has always conquered and shown me how life should be lived.

I met Bruno for the first time in the August 2010. He was one of the most dignified dogs that I have ever met. A dog of regal bearing, a coat of dark brown, seemed like glossy silk to me, ears so pointed that I felt he could hear every small murmur, every heartbeat of mine.

A pool of liquid brown eyes that makes you want to drown in them, he was in fact the one of the most beautiful dog I ever met in my life. Most importantly he never begged for food, he demanded it.

In the beginning, it was only his beauty that impressed me. He failed to score on any other account. He never barked, he kept on banging himself against all possible things, banging against the walls, missing a step, falling on me, getting stuck in doors, falling down steps. I started to wonder if Bruno could do anything right.

In my mind, I thought "What a stupid dog. What use is he anyways, he never barks, can't even take care of himself, what good is he as a watch dog, what fools are we to still watch out for him".

But my skeptical opinion slowly had a turn around. Without any effort on my part, Bruno's stories started filtering into my life. And it was only when I dug deeper, only when I knew the stories that made Bruno, that I realized I was the fool, the stupid one!!! Life does have a way of putting you in place and I am glad that it was Bruno who firmly put me in place.

He was the only dog, known to me, who suffered from epilepsy. It was heartbreaking to see him during one of his fits. It took him quite a while to get his fits but he was always recovered to good health. When all this while I thought he was stupid for falling all over the place, he was in fact blind in one eye.

And here I was, with all my eyes open making more mistakes than Bruno. Blindly following somebody in the name of love, happy being a foot mat for everybody, being taken for granted by friends, worked to death by my office…where was I heading for??? I did not have a clue.

There are tales, almost like a mythical story of how Bruno survived a leopard attack. I look at him and wonder if that is true, because the way he behaves suggests otherwise. He is so nonchalant about so many things, he does not care if somebody has stepped on his toes, if he has been insulted, if he has never barked or been thrown out of his territory. He is just born happy and accepts everything that life has thrown him with a spring in his step (though it might be more of a limp at times).

He is always game for a run in the lawn just next to my office. Despite his blindness he climbs each and every step with me, following me faithfully. And when he reaches the top, he stumbles and falls. Then he gets up and runs to me, wagging his tail. It seems as if nothing could defeat him and I just look and ponder about how much it would have affected me if I was in his place.

Challenges don't daunt him, he meets them full on. He has survived a hit by a speeding vehicle while he was out on a walk, survived a leopard attack, and very recently survived a monitor lizard attack. It took him months to heal but the moment he was healthy, he came straight to my office, scratched on my screen door. I took one look at him and I knew he was back to normal, wanting to be fed and petted.

A lot of things depend on the choices that we make in life. Despite his limitation, Bruno chose to be happy and make the best of what he had.

I learned numerous lessons from Bruno. I learned to make my choices in life and be optimistic about it. I learned to practice perseverance. I learned never to give in to the dark. There are always dark, empty spaces in one's life but the challenge is to channelize them into light.

Light, where life meets hope and where hope meets love. I learnt to have confidence in myself. The world around changes but if you believe in yourself, the world around does not have a choice but to bend to your will.

Most of all, I learnt to be happy.
That's what Bruno taught me.


* AK Sophia wrote this article for Hueieyen Lanpao (English Edition)
This article was posted on February 24, 2012.



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