Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Daisy - IV


MD thinks I am making excuses. Only she can think so, with an empire under her feet. I too have a little kingdom, except that it is of a different kind. Also, it comes minus leisure internet hours.

Back to where I left. Its now been more than four months since I have known Daisy. In the meantime, there have been more four-legged additions to the gang: Poppy, Rani, Blackie, Bhootni, and one more who I am yet to name (I seem to wait for the right name). It is difficult to tell whether I have adopted the dogs or the dogs have adopted me. So it is appropriate to say that we have adopted each other. Poppy is one year and something old (so I think) and the darling of the lane. She has other benefactors too. She "pops" up from nowhere and looks as fresh as a flower, always. Hence the name Poppy. I have known Rani for as long as I have known Daisy. She is small and lives in perpectual fear of something. She is like a hermit, looks like she has left everything to the Universe. She looks forlorn and hence the name Rani.

I am inspired by the story of a dog who was admitted to the Blue Cross hospital after she was paralyzed in an accident. She could not sit or stand and took her feeds laying on the ground. She looked a ghastly sight with injuries all over her body. An Australian lady and her two children – volunteers at Blue Cross, fell in love with the dog and started feeding it the best dog foods. The lady told me that the feed was imported from Australia. They named her Princess. Blessed by the grace of the Australian family, Princess put up a fight against all odds and one day to everyone's joy and relief she could sit up. The Australian family took her home.

Do I notice any change in Rani? Yes, now she stands her ground when bullied by other dogs, at least.

Blackie gets her name because she is black all over. She also has jet black eyes that twinkle like little stars. Bhootni is the cutest, the naughtiest, and the most playful of the lot. She is forever hungry (therefore the name) and tries to stick her nose into my bag whenever she gets an opportunity. When I pull her ears, she jumps in delight. She is a funny dog who shadows me everywhere. I have to hide behind the cars and sneak out of her sight when I can do without her company. Also, she is the one who creates the maximum racket. The one that I am yet to name shares characteristics somewhat similar to Rani.

Very recently, I realized that my movements are being watched. After all, why would some one want to spend a substantial amount of her time with dogs? Street dogs at that. It seems that people have decided that it is high time they got it all out from the horse’s mouth.

“I have seen you feeding the dogs. You are doing a great service. Are you a social worker?” a lady observes as she pauses her conversation on the mobile to speak to me.

I put on my brightest smile and say, “Do I need to be a social worker to feed dogs?”

“Uh-oh, no, no, not really”, she says and resuming her conversation starts to walk away.

I do not like the idea of people thinking that they need not get involved in social initiatives, it is someone’s else "job". I wonder if I was rude. If I was, I had tried to disguise it with my smile.

One afternoon from the corner of my eyes, I see a young man eyeing me from across the street. He seems he would break into a smile if I caught his eye. That is what I want to exactly avoid. But he is a determined young man, he crosses the street and demands my attention, “It is a great job you are doing. Would you like to do something for humans too?”

I gape at him. Is it sarcasm? Still, I want to know what I can “do” for humans? He introduces himself as an executive from CRY.... Isn’t every living thing – humans, animals, insects, and plants part of the planet? Did the CRY executive ignore the fact or did he just want to complete his targets? The issue is that even in the social sector a hierarchy exists, decided by the beneficiaries of the initiative. You may laugh at me for my interest in the Donkey Sanctuary. As for me, I am glad someone thought about them.

It is not often that you see people wearing sunglasses after sundown. And you wonder about the ones that you catch. Last week, one day at around 8:30 PM in the evening, I sensed a young man with a John Abraham style haircut and goggles giving me signals that he wants to start a conversation with me. After dilly-dallying a bit, finally he was by my side with a question. “Why are you feeding only one dog?” That day it was only Daisy who was around me.

“Excuse me?” I say.

“Why are you feeding only one dog? There are so many others on the street?” he elaborates.

Gosh! Why don’t people mind their own business, I think to myself. I wish Bhootni was around. I would have liked her to bark at him, if possible bite him. I tell him, “If everybody fed a dog each, your question will not be necessary.”

The guy does the vanishing act. He failed at hooking up a girl. He would probably never know that the girl has lived decades more than him.

Anyways, his question lingers in my mind. I dial New Delhi and consult with MD. “Was my answer appropriate or should I have asked him – How many dogs do you feed?” MD says what I said was fine. I take a second opinion from G, my good colleague. She has an opinion. She says I should have said – “Do you want to be fed too?”