‘paatti’( (meaning grandma) was what we findly call her. she has been there ever since we moved into our new home, which was some 14 years ago. she’d just linger there. overtly friendly that she is, she would grab every opportunity to be petted by one of us. once mummy started feeding her, she became a regular. at around 7 in the evening, which was her meal time, she would never fail to present herself.
not surprising that the word ‘bitch'(feminists pardon me, no offense meant here!) has acquired such a nasty connotation. me being a visitor at home, everytime i land up, i’d find her a.pregnant, b.tending to her litter, c.pursued madly by a few of her male companions! from just one, it turned out to be a group of them waiting at our doorstep for dinner and the last time i went home, there were some 6 of them – all family in one way or another.
mom being the kind-hearted soul that she is, would make sure that none of them go hungry, in spite of mild protests from dad. so much so, she would even take the trouble of quarantining a couple of the meeker ones during meal time, just to make sure they get their share of the food.
the neighbours weren’t the happiest lot though. “they keep barking” and “they scare the kids, you shouldn’t be feeding them” were some of the initial protests. mom obviously wouldn’t be interested, and she joyfully continued feeding them, and even spending some quality time with them every evening.
and then one evening, mom calls me and is wailing over the phone. the neighbourhood folks had apparently complained and the municipal councillor was himself there with a band of his men to capture the dogs. if u haven’t witnessed the act of stray dogs being captured, well, u can thank your fate. the dogs are stunned with clubs, noosed and then dragged along to be dumped into the mobile cage. so i believe in the midst of all this chaos, mom apparently opened the gate and let a few of them in. she lost two of them, of course, and the dozens that lived, probably at the mercy of other such good samaritans in the neighbouring streets. the councillor was evidently not happy and even vocalised his dissent in mom’s act of ‘saving’ some of the dogs. he even assured her that they were only being moved into another location and that none of them would be harmed or killed. mom wouldn’t budge. so today, all but 4 of the dogs in the colony have disappeared. temporarily, for i am sure more will appear from elsewhere.
nobody seems to have openly complained or confronted mom, atleast so far. the bunch of 4 of them is back again, every evening at meal time. but the whole incident only throws up a larger question of the so called ‘menace’ of stray dogs.
aren’t they a product of gross human negligence? most of them move into such locations because they can conveniently feed on the garbage we dump in the streets. and where did they come from, in the first place? wasn’t it man who domesticated them? most importantly, does the planet not belong to them too?
in his mad race for a ‘better life’, man seems to be getting more and more intolerant and unaccomodative. i wonder how long the earth might sustain if we go on like this…
PS: apologies for the poor quality of the photo. i cut it out of a newspaper and had it scanned and uploaded, coz i liked the pic so much.