Unconditional Love Needs no Definition!
“Unconditional Love Needs no Definition!” is one of the outstanding stories of the first biannual International Short Story Contest 2018 written by Swati Mahadevan, DPSIS, Singapore.
Unconditional Love Needs no Definition!
“His big blue eyes and button nose melted my heart. He was a cute bundle of energy. He came to me and started jumping, which drew my attention to him among the litter of ten puppies. I felt an immediate bonding which made me purchase him on spot.” This was the story Uncle David told everyone who asked him about his Husky. Two things which attracted me the most when my family moved into the new apartment complex were the rooftop garden and Shadow. Shadow, true to his name followed Uncle David wherever he went. He was fiercely loyal and loved by everyone in the complex, even by those who were not dog lovers. Uncle David used to take him for walks in the mornings and evenings where he used to greet all neighbours by gently nuzzling them.
I still remember our first meeting when my football fell near Shadow. I was very afraid to go near him, but Uncle David asked me to pick up the ball and told me that Shadow loved playing football. He asked my name and said “Hello, Ben. I am David, and this is Shadow. Shadow, this is our new friend Ben. Don’t scare him away, old boy.” Shadow seemed to relax listening to Uncle David. I was initially hesitant to go near Shadow, but soon I started to look forward to meeting Uncle David and Shadow. Soon the adorable Husky and I became fast friends. During our friendly chat, I told Uncle David that we moved to Chennai because my parents got transferred and asked him about his family. I saw tears in his eyes when he said his wife died of lung cancer ten years back. He was a single parent who brought up his three children who were now living abroad. His three sons and their family wanted his property and not him. Now the only family he has is Shadow who doesnot expect anything from him but is overly protective of him. Once, when Uncle David had mild heart attack, Shadow barked loudly, alerting the neighbours, and they rushed to help and got him admitted to the hospital. I then understood why Uncle David organised a Christmas party every year in our complex for residents. It was because he missed his family a lot and spending time with the residents made him feel a sense of belonging. I was angry at this fast-paced world which revolved around money and left relationships behind. Our parents give us education, love and care, but we leave them behind when they need our love and care. I thought getting old is the worst thing that can happen in life. I became very close to Uncle David and Shadow after listening to his story. I bought him food when he was sick and took Shadow for walks.
It was December 2015 and Chennai witnessed the worst rains in 100 years. Our apartment complex basement was flooded which prevented us from going out. Uncle David helped our neighbours who had not stocked up on food by giving them the milk and groceries he had. Uncle David caught dengue fever 10th December. With great difficulty caused due to floods we still managed to take him to a nearby hospital. But on 12th December 2015, Uncle David passed away in his sleep. I called his children, but they said they will come in 2 days. They came after 2 days, held the funeral and called a lawyer. The lawyer called us to his office and told them that Uncle David had written his property in my name and mentioned that I should take care of Shadow. They started fighting that their father was mad to write his property to a stranger. They even fought with me telling I took advantage of their father’s old age. I couldn’t believe the venomous comments they passed about me. I told the lawyer to write the property in their names, but I will take custody of Shadow. They seemed to be very happy with my decision and told me that I could keep Shadow as it was a burden for them to take care of an old dog. I walked out of lawyer’s office feeling relieved with Shadow walking beside me. We sat on the bench in the rooftop garden where Uncle David used to sit with Shadow. Shadow started barking and had tears in his eyes. I realised that Shadow felt sad for his master and cried whereas his sons, his own flesh and blood had their eyes only on his property. We, humans are lacking in emotions whereas Shadow being a dog is very faithful and full of love. Unconditional love needs no definition!