Thursday, August 13, 2009

Four Little Paws

I am writing after a nearly four-month long hiatus. I was having one of those angry conversations with God once again. Certain events in these months had made me feel extremely restless. Living in this city had started to choke my innards as violently as the exhibition of violence outside—extreme levels of cruelty, silent suffering and pain!! I was feeling very, very angry and helpless.

Angry, because I couldn’t turn a blind eye to the brutality all around (I often asked, are all planets equally violent.... If not, WHY AM I HERE?). And helpless that I couldn’t do anything to make a perceptible difference. Even the choices that I had made in my life seemed so meaningless before the mounting violent choices of others!! I tried to write but no words would come out except for an overpowering sense of felt bitterness. “I can’t take it anymore!!!!” My innards screamed. All I could see around me was an overwhelming lump of mass made of material that looked just like humans but with brains that can think of nothing but “I”, “me”, and “mine”! Compassion, love, and empathy sadly limited within “I”, “me”, and “mine”!

More than three months passed, and in this time I went on a road trip to Coorg and another to Shirdi, watched Harry Potter, few other movies—old and new, the reality shows on television, wondered about different things but didn’t write about any! The trip to Shirdi was significant. Sai Baba of Shirdi holds an extremely special place in my existence. He is my guardian angel, and someone who shows me the path from the other side. I was in Shirdi for the first time for a long awaited darshan. “Why is the earth so cruel?” I asked Him too. “And if I have to feel sad every day witnessing the cruel acts of my fellow humans, how do I live....”

A few weeks back I received a mail from someone called Achala Pani and the contents were such that I went to meet her immediately. Very soon I was introduced to her world of street pups, street dogs, and abandoned breed dogs. I learnt how she along with some volunteers work on a project called Let’s Live Together, how they pick up abandoned pups and injured pups and foster them till they find the pups a loving adopted home. I learnt of stories with happy endings, of how little pups found loving human homes. I felt answers to my angry questions beginning to come....

Then I met Four Little Paws. I met her at Achala’s. She was squatting at the far corner of the room, a little hesitant and looking steadily at me with her little black-pearl like eyes. All of a few inches high and with specks of white and rust in her otherwise black body, she made a perfect case to fall in love with her. She had been found a week back in a gutter all alone—no mother—no body to look after her—thin, weary, and sick. A volunteer had brought her to Achala’s home. Little Paws was initially terrified of human touch but very soon her flawless little soul recognized a “secure” touch.

I met Little Paws when she was already seven days in a secure healing environment. She was only 1.5 months old and I was deeply touched by the innocence in her that had seemingly made her put behind the traumatic first few weeks of her life. She enjoyed chewing my fingers with her pointed little teeth and it was a blessed sight to see her hold a biscuit between her two front paws and munch on it like a squirrel.

I was sad to leave the company of Little Paws when it was time to say goodbye. Within a week I was informed that she had been adopted. Another message from God. “Now calm down,” God said. Hmmmmm.... “But I want more. I want more!” I said.

“You will have more.” God said.

I dedicate this post to Four Little Paws and Achala. They got me to create something out of the felt bitterness. They showed me the face of goodness from the highest echelons of the spirit. I wonder what Little Paws is called in her new home. I will hold her close in my memory as those four little paws that chewed my fingers and while at it, made me despair less.

Photographs: Courtesy Achala Pani

8 comments:

Munchmany said...

Perfect post to end a hiatus. And all the best to Little Paws!

Although the world is in the grip of violence, humanity will always triumph. Thats the very reason we still survive.

Good post, Ambrosia! And yeah, welcome back!!!

KD said...

Did you compose this poem on your header? Four little paws is sweet. But you know - street dogs have resilience too. Like I think - Kalu - or all those dogs in Jamshedpur. They were healthy and well fed by neighborhood and I think they liked living in the wild too!

A Curved Line said...

yeah KD it sounds just like Ambroisa should have written it. Crazy AD what did the humans do this time to get you so mad. Oooooooooo if i could i would have brought four paws home myself.

ambrosia said...

Munchmany – Thanks, thanks! Good point made, although its too much to see cycles of violence over and over again.

KD – I have been thinking what I would like to do with my set of broom and potions.... so the verses were easy to come by. There is no doubt that street dogs have resilience and thank God for it! And it would be an ideal situation if the neighborhood where the dogs live feel responsible toward the ecosystem. Unfortunately such things are not common. A volunteer for the project related how he found a pup as small as Little Paws outside his home with its throat half slit.... on investigation it was found that a 50-year old man in the neighborhood had stoned the pup. The pup was still breathing and is at the hospital at present. Little Paws had been found sick in a gutter. So are we to say that because stray dogs have resilience, we leave them to recover on their own. That’s not being human, right.

In big cities like this one, danger lurks at every corner for these stray animals. They have no control over their birth and due to cruel human beings, you never know when a diktat for mass murder of stray animals is declared! So, efforts are on by animal rights activists to sterilize the adult dogs and rehabilitate the pups.

Another BIG reason for finding human homes for street pups is to curb the growing menace of people who breed foreign breeds only to make money for themselves. The dogs are bred in extremely poor conditions, and are kept under bondage till the time they are useful for these people. After that the dogs are left to languish on the streets. We often find breed dogs roaming on the streets — now living as street dogs. There are many dog lovers in this country and people who really love dogs know that there is no difference between the love that can be shared between them and a breed dog and them and a street dog. An effort is being made to make more and more dog lovers realize this and bring home Indian dogs!

Curved Line – If what I have written above is not enough I have more. I have only just started. There are many like Little Paws you can bring home.

Vaishali said...

Hi Ambrosia, Thank you for your lovely words on my blog, and thank you for raising awareness about street dogs in India through your blog. It tears my heart each time I am in India when I see how people treat street dogs, and the problems they have to put up with because of the country's rapid growth, but it is also heartening there are people like you who're spreading the word.
I left a longish answer for you on the `Why am I a vegan post' about your milk question-- I won't repeat it here, but do check it out.

Gwenola said...

I think it is a very good idea that you started writing again in your blog. You write beautifully, your articles are very interesting, and I love the design and colours - you have done a great job!! It will be a pleasure to come here regularly and read what you write!

ambrosia said...

Vaishali - Thanks for the visit! My pleasure!! Your articles are eye openers! May our tribe increase!!

Gwenola - Thanks a ton for coming and for your words and that you liked the design! As always, your insights mean a lot!

Gurooji said...

Now I feel guilty for owning a pedigree :(