By Adarsh Madhavan
Some of us are just pseudo animal (read dogs) lovers (read hypocrites). Like me, for instance.I love animals.And I like chicken.Curry. Roast. Fry. Biriyani.
Shame on you!
Yes, shame on me, but I am with this diet since decades.
And so when someone asks me whether I am an animal lover, I press mute. What animal lover?
I am an animal eater.
Stalls of torture and death
The other day outside a live chicken stall, I stalled…
Such outlets harbour torture and pain. I don’t like to get near them.
But, let them do the ‘dirty’ deed and let me feed the delicious fried. This time not for me though, but for my street doggies.
Lady with lam(b)
And that is where I met this lady. While they tortured and cut, as per my orders, a live chicken into lifeless bloody meat, I went to a nearby corner where a huge, white, half-blind stray lives. He is always there, next to the fish market. I dug out some biscuits and a bun from my bag and placed them near him when suddenly a lady, like an apparition, appeared out of nowhere and said sharply: “It won’t eat that!”
Since I am tense about feeding strays in this town, I heard it wrong. I was startled and thought she meant: don’t feed the dog. No. She said: it won’t eat that. But, the dog woke up and began to hungrily crunch the biscuits, sniffed the bun and went back to sleep.
She was nonplussed. “That is the first time I have seen him do that,” she said, smiling at me. A warm smile. “He is normally very fussy. He eats only meat, chicken, lamb…” And right there she stood and held me captivated for over an hour as she went on and on about her work – I mean I don’t know what work she actually did, but about her fight to feed the lonely, hungry strays. She was holding some plastic bags in one hand and in them were fresh meat waste, which she had brought from somewhere. Not from the ones whom I had ordered the chicken parts, as they seem to have recently turned against her.
This woman had pure love for the streeties. She knew where most of them lay in different parts of the town and reeled out their pet names (which she had given). I have never met anyone like this before. Someone with passion and courage and ready to defy the odds for some voiceless creatures. She spoke about her skirmishes with the law makers and how some of the downright breakers used the former to deny her the right to feed the poor hungry ones. “Some people hate dogs – especially the street ones so much that they will even cut their hand to harm these poor souls,” she said rather dramatically.
A passionate ally
She gave me a dozen tips on how to avoid brushing with the law. “And don’t tell them where you got the waste meat from because then they will go after them and that will stop the supply,” she warned me. A warning that was wasted on me as I have never bought waste meat. Yet, I heard her out because I realised I was not just with a newfound ally, but a passionate one.
She spoke of the two types, the “not-so-clever dog haters who could be fooled into convincing not to hurt the strays” and the “intelligent lot”, the “dangerous” ones, according to her, who “will pretend to be convinced and then sneakingly inflict maximum damage on the poor little ones”.
Typical treatment of women
And then she told me about how difficult it was for a woman to take up a protector’s role of the street dogs. “You get your name rubbed in the dirt. These men treat you like you are easy. They say nasty, double-meaning stuff. You can’t come out unblemished at the end of it all,” she sighed, adding that, “but then I love my dogs like crazy – I can’t even take a sip of water without making sure that they have had something warm in their stomachs.”
Even as we speak…|
I understood what she meant. Imagine as we speak, there were many, woefully tired and worn thin by hunger and fatigue just hurling themselves on the roads, sniffing at something, anything, even a stone where a drop of curry must have fallen on, for comfort.
Twain may never meet
The conversation had to end halfway as we both had to go our ways: I had to go and feed my little numbers, and she had to go and feed her own army strewn around in many street corners.
And perhaps, the twain may never meet.