Archive for June, 2011

Rommel – A Tribute …

Posted on June 10, 2011. Filed under: Personal Stuff, Personalities |


Born Mar 5, 1998. Went to His Maker Jun 3, 2011. 

His Life was Gentle and the Elements so Mixed in Him that Nature might Stand and Say to all the World –

‘Here was Gentleness laced with Strength,

Beauty without Vanity; Grace and Elegance aplenty.

And, above all –  a Heart of Gold!’


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A Prayer and a Regret …

Posted on June 9, 2011. Filed under: Personal Stuff, Personalities |

“Well, as you can imagine, its been a little crappy over here. Our Dear Rommel’s presence is very much missed’.

‘I hope he is OK, where ever He Is ! … Simply put – He Was My Friend.’

‘There’s one thing I regret though — I wish I had spent more time with him.”

It was a cold cold winter - Rommel around Xmas '09

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Just Rommel …

Posted on June 7, 2011. Filed under: Personal Stuff, Personalities, Uncategorized |

This is Rommel as he plays by himself. Just look at those fangs!

And read how safely he used to take Parle’ Gs from the two year old Suhana and Sanjum …

Hi Folks,

We are all very very sad that Rommel has left us.

We are not used to the house without him. We have never closed the door to the garage and the front door area.  The backyard feels empty without him .

I always felt safe and secure with him present. He was so very wise and comforting.

Rommel enjoyed Suhana and Sanjum petting him and giving him Parle – G. He always followed me when I came home with Prasad from the Gurdwara. As you know he loved ‘prasad’ and you used to ask me to make it for him.

I remember going hiking with him. Whenever I got tired, I held his leash and he was pretty good at pulling me up the hill. He was so very strong and lion like.

Reiya used to take him out when she used to cone back from School and he used to get very excited to see her.

Suhana, Sanjum, Reiya and I loved seeing him rolling on the grass in the front lawn. He was such a joy.

He was perfectly fine on Friday, very active and happy to be running around the 4Runner when Shaina and I got home from the Library. He passed away so fast and sudden that he has left us all in total shock.

Reiya is not doing so good. I catch her crying many a time. Shaina and family are here at present but when they leave, it’s going to hit us even more.

I hope you both are taking care of yourselves. Please remember that Rommel will always be in our thoughts and prayers and will always remain a part of us.

May God make his Soul rest in Peace.

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Rommel – Nobility, Gentle and Dignified …

Posted on June 4, 2011. Filed under: Personal Stuff, Personalities |

A four year old Rommel

Tomorrow is Jun 5 and Rommel would have turned 13 yrs 3 months – which is 92 yrs and 9 months in human age. I had wanted him to go on till at least he was 16 but alas, it was not to be! 

 ‘We buried him darkly at the dead of night. No useless coffin enclosed his form. In sheet and shroud we wound him as he lay like a warrior taking his rest. Few and short were the prayers we said, as we steadfastly gazed on him who was dead. We carved not a line, we raised not a stone. We left him alone and prayed that he rest in peace in his home’.

The End for Dear Rommel came on a Friday evening – after we were back from work and with near everyone present. A Merciful God made it peaceable and quick for this truly great Soul.

That evening I reached home and he was, as usual, very excited to see me -indeed a trifle more than usual and he very much tried to climb onto me. I decided to take him for a short walk. We walked slowly and his breathing was heavy but that was because he had a larynx problem.

There was this gradient which he had always taken in his stride but alas not this time. He walked up a bit but after a couple yards just sat down. I tried to pump his chest but it was no use as he rolled over and his eyes became dull.

His doctor had predicted that the end would come this way – that excitement together with his breathing difficulty would strain his heart. The doc had said it would happen on a warm day. Here she was wrong as it was a nice and cool day.

The gallant old gentleman was suffering from a host of ailments. He had suspected cancer and his testis were very enlarged, making walking a chore. He had the prostrate problem and he had this larynx thing.

And then he had muscle atrophy. Indeed it was only the chiropractic guy who had got him up and going. His doctors were just too great. They were as good as they come – as doctors and as lovers of animals. Both these ladies can give the great James Herriot, a run for his money – anytime!

With all these problems it had been an uphill year and he had needed to be taken to the doctor frequently. Still with his massive dominant frame, made bigger with his rich rough hair, his was a formidable presence as he powered forward.

He used to plough in very much like a locomotive from the back yard, into the kitchen and onward to the garage. The two year old twins just loved him calling him ‘Momel’. He was kind understanding personified as he gazed at them. Reiya their seven year sister simply adored him.

Still, the end seemed very very sudden –  enough to  smother the life out of us all!

It was early ’98 and I was 22. i had lost Snowy, a white pom, back in ’93 and I was very keen on taking in a pet. My folks were leaving for Stevens Point, WI and I was strongly warned that under no circumstances was I to get a pet – mainly because they doubted my ability to take adequate care – specially when working and living in the US without help.

No sooner had they left,when I saw this ad re the sale of  Long Haired German Shepherd pups. It was a long way off but having talked to the lady, I set off. There were a number of them but this guy was the most muddy, dirty and wet. More importantly he wound his way towards me.  I picked him up and have never regretted it ever.

Jim Corbett has written about Robin, his spaniel of doubtful pedigree. He has said that he paid a small sum but later all the gold in India could not have made him part with him. Same went for me. I lied to my folks saying I had gotten him for free as the lady was moving and the guy was so adorable and irresistible etc etc.

We named him Rommel, after the legendary German Field Marshal. He shared his name sakes’ decency, dash, chivalry bonded with boundless energy and aggression.

He was an American Kennel Club certified pure bred and I got two certificates giving his particulars. One certificate gave the names of his parents, their parents, their parents – and so on, going back five generations on both his Moms and his Dads side. I doubt if any of us has such details about ourselves and our forebears. Most likely we may not even know the names of our Grand mother’s moms parents?

We framed both these certificates together with photographs of his growing up years. They remain where one and all can never miss them and  enjoy them most  – in the guest bathroom!

He was a really very very handsome chap with huge paws and a solid heavy’sh head, which as a baby he used to drop with a thud once he had sat down. One of his ears took its time to stand up and indeed had me worried for a while.

My dad would take him for walks and frolics in the park and pick up his litter. My Mom, sitting in the living room would shoo him through the back yard into the park for his No 1. He looking at her for approval, would bend his hind legs  and do it!

One day without Mom noticing, he slipped out through the small gate which had been inadvertently left open. We tried our best to find him but no luck. We were very worried. Fortunately very soon we got a call from his hospital telling us where he was as the ladies, who had taken him in had got the hospital No from his collar.

When we went to pick him up, we found him sitting straight upright and thoroughly enjoying being made much of. He was very very comfortable, on a choice sofa, enjoying the gracious hospitality of the two dear ladies.

I again say he was a real handsome creature but he really did not seem to care. People in parks would always stop and admire him and every where but everywhere heads would always be turning to look at him.

He always but always attracted attention and adulation – even from the K -9 Police officers. ‘How pretty!’ … ‘Look at his paws – so big!’ …  ‘What a lovely coat!’ At all leash free parks where we took him, he always had admirers despite his tendency to brow beat most of his species.

Once on a Beach near San Diego, a lady comes to me and observes, “He has such an imperial gait!”

He was my dog and ‘My Mate’ – disdainful and impervious to all temptation, attention, compliments – what ever!

Of his loyalty. He was a year old and we were living alone. There was this guy who I had to take in but dear Romsii never did not cotton onto him where as all others he tolerated. He would bark so angrily that the poor guy would  stand on the sofa for safety. Towards no other did he show such strong antipathy.

Once a friend left a young pit bull with me. This creature, who was also a young one, clinged to me and would just not leave my side. He seemed to want me for himself all the while with poor Rommel left watching. No way! I asked the friend to take away the pit bull because only Rommel and I were for one another.

We were leaving for San Diego in Sep of ’98. We had left this guy in the back yard while we went to say our byes. Some how he crashed through the mesh wired open window and, of all things, waded into the large vessel of melted butter Mom had made for us. He had eaten all he could and then had got himself covered with it and also covered much of the kitchen. Of course cleaning up was some chore – and of course the poor guy had an upset stomach for days!

Next year, I was all alone and he was allowed in my bedroom. In the morning the the poor guy had to nudge me  some half dozen times to make me get up and take him out! How he mus t have controlled himself and suffered!

He had this imperious contentment written all over him and he was so very very rich in body, mind and soul. Never ever have I seen him attack his food with haste or any sign of greed – no matter what was offered him. Rather he would look at his bowl carelessly and on occasion even with disdain and slowly get up and having sniffed it to his satisfaction, would he begin eating in an off hand leisurely fashion.

When offered tit bits he would very daintily, making sure he was not hurting the fingers that were holding it, would he pull the delicacy and enjoy it ever so casually.

Indeed as we grew up together, he would not eat his food till I sat with him. Only then would he begin eating it – slow and with style.

Well into middle age, he always preferred to sit some distance away from me. He never did have any desire to be touched and petted like most of his species. Perhaps this was his manly thing. However as he began to age, he used to draw near – maybe he got comfort from being close to me.

Another thing, when in the back yard, he loved to sit outside the kitchen door – facing inwards by day and outwards by night. This practice was perhaps inherited from past generations and in is blood. It was this need for self preservation and protecting what was his own.

So very alert and sharp was he that he could differentiate the sound of my 4Runner from all and any other vehicle going past. Only on hearing my arrival, would he rush to the gate to welcome me. Till he began to age, I could never ever surprise him despite trying so very many times. He always knew what tricks I was up to.

Our back yard opens to an open patch with a mountain stream running below it. As such ever so often and nearly every day in the spring, deer in numbers would come and nibble the grass in the open patch. Rommel would of course have a field day barking and when set free chasing them all the way up hill. Having failed to catch them, he would sheepishly make his way back. It took him years to learn that they were much too quick for him. Only then did he give up chasing them.

Indeed once he chased them a bit too far and reached a highway miles away from our house. It was a kindly Chinese who saw him, understood that he was lost and slowly and carefully escorted him safely as he made his way back to the house. He did not ever wait for our thanks as he seeing Rommel safe, waved and drove off.

I loved buying toys and small and large size balls for him to play. In deed his exercise consisted of fetching the ball thrown across the open patch in the rear of our backyard. This he would do at first near a dozen times but as the years went by it reduced to a couple times. In the last couple years he found it hard to negotiate the stiff last few yards up to the backyard.

In the back yard when ever Reiya or Mom and Dad when they were here, went to play or sit in the Swing, Romsii would pick a ball or some other toy and bring it to them and ask them to play with him. Sadly the older folk, to their regret, often did not! He never minded and went on playing by himself as he felt energized by their mere presence.

Yet as far as others of his species were concerned, he was a bit of a bully. His gentle demeanor was laid aside and it was his native aggression that was on display. We went to near most dog parks and I would have a hard time preventing him bullying all and sundry.

Where ever we went, and we visited most dog parks in the Bay Area, no matter whereor how far he was, he would always keep me in the corner of his eye. Once when he was way off and with this guy near me, I put my cell  to my ear. In a sudden burst he was with me and ready to attack the guy as he thought we were going to be  at blows.

And once when going up Mission Peak in his young days, he charged straight at a sitting cow at cud. He probably thought that the cow would get up and run. The cow thought that he would stop short and bark away. Both were proved wrong. He did not stop and to his amazement as well as the cow’s, he banged right into her. Much surprised she got up hastily and cantered away with dear Romsii left shaking his head to clear it.

On another instance, this young bull charged right back at him and he ran straight towards me. I thought that now the enraged bull would maybe forget him and get his horns into me as Rommel was coming to me for protection!.

Later, once we were resting in a park for leashed dogs when suddenly Rommel got loose and went straight towards a deadly silent, straining Akita who along with a Pitt bull was pulling and yanking at the leash held by a struggling young lady. But for Rommel’s hairy coat, the Akita would have got his throat. Luckily there was this friend who, with his heavy boot, kicked the Akita in the head as this dangerous chap had eyes only for Rommel. A real narrow shave!

There were some great adventures, loaded with fun, we shared. He was a great physical help too. Once there was this steep slope with loose shail and a deep gorge like drop below and I found my feet slipping but he gave me that extra pull up and that made me reach safety. It was his leash which helped Dad up! This was on the last Sat before the black 9/11!

On many occasions he would yank me or any other, up a steep slope. Once he helped Mom up a stiff, steep gradient by just pulling and yanking her up and forward for the entire hike of a some miles.

There is one memory etched in my memory where this Pointer type, of doubtful pedigree but who was probably the most playful creature I ever laid eyes on bar only dolphins. This chap just taunted, challenged and ran circles around Rommel who tried his utter most just to catch him.

This guy would nonchalantly come near, tease and challenge Rommel and then run circles around Rommel, who would chase fast and furious but to no avail. Each time the heavy Rommel had to brake hard as the chap would suddenly make a right angle turn. At times the little creature would jump right over and across a dumb founded sweating Romsii.

A right playful and tantalizing creature! Unfortunately the owner was quite opposite to his playful pet and did not respond to my friendly overtures. I very much wanted and hoped to befriend him so that the two could enjoy and have fun with repeat performances.

On our visit to Clint Eastwood’s quaint little Carmel by the Sea, we were in a amall street and there was this very very pint sized creature, who just kept challenging and barking at Rommel, who was at least ten times his size.

He was a pretty aggressive pint sized who just wanted to maybe tear apart Rommel, who in  turn would refuse to so much as glance at him but rather ignore him as he looked elsewhere. Such scathing indifference infuriated the tiny creature even more – much to the enjoyment of the large crowd that had gathered around and were enjoying the scene. The crowd cheered on the little gutsy creature and enjoyed the supercilious  Rommel’s indifference.

His sense of direction, intuition or what ever was so sharp that regardless of which direction I took, he would know from miles away re the park where we were headed! He would at once stand up and begin to bark happily!

Initially as a baby he had really not liked the sea and I was upset because maybe I had been abrupt in introducing him to the water. But once he had got the hang of it, he just would not like to leave. Most memories are of a creek which is a leash free dog park where he really revelled. Me too as I could treat him to  a real good hot bath afterwards!

In my Maxima or Jeep or 4Runner, which by the way I got just for him, he went on a host of road trips. Mostly to San Diego and once right upto Denver and back. I hated leaving him in a dog pound on those rare occasions there was no one to take care of him but rather left him with relatives as he hardly needed any looking after bar a small walk morning and evening.

He was with me on my first trip to the Grand Canyon. i would have made the trip down to the bottom and back up much earlier had pets been permitted. They were not and that was my great regret. Thus he was not with us when we did make the trip in Jul 09.

Another of the few trips he missed was to Wyatt Earps’  Tombstone and the rocky Cochise County. He would have really enjoyed but we had an extra passenger and the poor guy was left home.

In the back yard he had a really large collection of toys which he really adored. When ever Reiya would go there to play, he would bring his toys to her and want her to play with him.

Age is age. Note Paul Newman[‘s response in ‘Hombre’ to Richard Boone who swore that he would send him  to Hell — “We all gotta die. The only queston is when?”

For Dear Old Rommel, who was the companion of my manhood years, it was on June 3rd 2011!

I remain grateful to a Merciful Providence that it was not earlier or at another time but rather when we were together with him by my side.

‘Large was his bounty and his Soul sincere. Heaven did a recompense as largely send. He gave to misery all he had – a tear. He gained from Heaven all he wished – a friend. No further seek his merits or draw his frailties from their dread abode. There they alike in trembling hope repose on the bosom of his Father and his God’.

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