Shankara …that was his name . No one knew how he got this particular name.
‘Shankara ‘is one of many names of Lord Shiva. Lord Shankara is one amongst the holy trimurthis (or the trinity), viz. Brahma , Vishnu ,Maheshwara.
Maheshawara , was one of his other names .
All of god’s creations have to follow a natural cycle of life and death.
It is believed that Lord Shankara was the god ordained for the natural death, decay and disintegration of all mortal creations.
Shankara was himself a destroyer .Shankara was huge , fierce looking , had a golden brown, almost tawny sun kissed complexion.He carried himself in a self-assured regal manner which came from the knowledge of his strength .And he loved a good fight !
He lived next door to us those days.His handler was an ageing lonely man who poured all his love in moulding what was to become shankara himself.
Shankara was a simple being, his needs were simple and his only weakness was good food.But shankara was no Gourmand, he preferred simple home cooked meals and the old man obliged Shankara happily with the best that the old man could muster with his meagre resources.
Time , my friends , as they say , waits for no one.
Lord Shankara , our celestial destroyer had deemed that the old man’s stay on this earth had come to an end. Gods show us their intentions through their actions , though the reasons behind them are mysteries forever lost to us mortal beings.
With his handler gone , Shankara was orphaned , yet again .
Shankara found himself abandoned with no place to call home.
Shankara was fiercely independent.He did not want charity.
He knew that the good times had come to an end.
He had to fend for himself.Feed himself .Take care of himself.
He had never bothered to do these before, so he barely survived.
He lost weight , became weak.
His survival could be attributed to his feral instincts if nothing else.
Things seemed bleak for shankara.
We , as neighbours , took pity on the poor soul and brought him under our wing.
We accepted him unconditionally , but it was he who had a tough time adjusting to our house.For one , he had to deal with three temperamental females at home.He had to bend to the rules of the house.HE had to learn to compromise.
Having three beautiful females in the house brought in new challenges for shankara.
‘Beautiful ‘ usually meant there would be potential suitors all around , all the time .
We live in a time where a man’s worth is measured by his brawn and sheer brute strenght..In an misguided attempt to impress these ladies , these suitors would pick on shankara, in an attempt to prove their superiority.So shankara would have to fight, with these suitors , not because he wanted to , but because they wanted to .
Therefore Shankara would fight. Fight for survival rather than for superiority.
In his innumerable fights , Shankara realized damning truth.
He too was ageing !
Gone were the days when shankara was the alpha male , the top cat , the big kahuna.These days he was just another ageing ‘has been’ , with only an innate will to survive that every rational living being possesses.
Shankara had a new enemy.A young upstart who thought he had seen it all.He was big and strong.In fact , he was the biggest thing that we had seen for a long time .This rowdy ruffian was called Prince , ironically for his regal bearing or for the lack of it.
In many ways , Prince reminded shankara of himself:The cockiness, the self assuredness, the fatalistic self confidence…he could be a worthy successor shankara would have thought.
Prince made it a point to show shankara who’s the boss.He made it a point to pick fight with him.
Shankara was now an old, toothless, weak being , but smart and world weary.He set his ego aside and went the pacifist’s way , ignoring Prince, or turning down fights , even when Prince was breathing down Shankara’s neck.
He survived Prince, in fact outlived him.He had seen many Princes in his time , and he was sure he would see more.
‘Time and tide wait for none‘; Shankara might not have known this proverb for he was simple being , but he knew the inevitability of his eventual disintegration.
He had made peace with with life long ago , when he had lost the only person who had loved him in this world.
These days , he lived or rather existed.
I had to leave the house for sometime , so I bid him farewell.Little did I know that would be the last I would see of him.
I was told that Shankara passed away yesterday , peacefully in his sleep.
It was so unlike a cat for shankara to come home to die …perhaps , he had found a true home after all.
To me , Shankara was more than just a house cat.He was family .
I loved him.We all loved him.
But when told of his death , I couldn’t muster up a single tear .
Did I really love him ?
I guess I write this to make peace with myself ,as I try to forgive myself , for not grieving at his death.But that was when it happened.
I felt a long forgotten feeling of choking sensation around my neck , the almost unfamiliar welling of tears , the blocking of my nostrils.
No ! My first instinct as a man was …Be a man , don’t cry , don’t cry , Be a man …but the heart had its own way ,it won , and a single defiant tear managed to squeeze out of the corner of my eye.
Though I wiped my tear off quickly , almost embarrassed of myself , secretly , I was happy because I knew that somewhere inside me Shankara lives on forever.