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Wednesday, October 19, 2011

The World Is Hungry: By Pritish Nandy (As Seen In Bombay Times)

Came across a very interesting article today, something very very close to my heart and something that me and my partner also do on a regular basis (though not on such large scale), along with some more people in other places. I don't know about many of you who would regularly be doing this, or would even agree to what is being said here, but if you ARE one of those who can relate to this article, do drop in a comment, would be lovely to know you .....

As seen in the Bombay Times edition of 19th October 2011, Wednesday. Article by Pritish Nandy.

It began one morning years ago. Rina put a bowl of water outside the window for the noisy pigeons that wake us up at the crack of dawn. Soon we had so many birds queued up on our window ledge that the bowls increased. Then Rangita put out some in her bedroom too. Birds of all kinds began to crowd our windows on the 24th floor. So Rina put out some grains. It disappeared quicker than we could put it out. So we put out more. But even that left us feeling guilty; many hungry birds still hung around, waiting. Now we feed them whenever we can.

Feeding the strays on the street came next. It started with Shabby, a beautiful white terrier abandoned by her owners when they left India. She greyed over the years with age and dirt. Living on the street isn't easy, particularly for a home bred pet, but Shabby was brave and we first noticed her because she chased every car that drove by, in the hope her owners would return one day, to take her home. No one came but over the years the strays on the street accepted her as one of their own. We started sharing our dinner with Shabby at night and then found it impossible to ignore her friends. So along with Shabby, came Sadhu, Moti, Puchku, Raja, Dushtu and a few stray cats. One day, the watchmen protecting a patch of land near the income tax colony met Rina and Ishita and requested them to feed four pups that a stray had delivered on the patch. So they also joined our family dinner. Three of the pups died soon after, from snakebite. Only Bhujan survived. Plus we discovered Patch and three legged Langdu from Pedder Road. And there's Pippa, the pretty snail we found in Moti's water pot who came home and settled next to a basil plant.

On her last birthday, the kids gifted Rina snaps of our entire family. These included all of them and the three current ones: Snarling, surly Rani, 11, who I found outside my MP bungalow in Delhi, her head bashed in, brains hanging out; gentle Mowgli, 4, who Rangita brought home half-blind from a film shoot in Ooty, where she was living in the trees among monkeys; and tempestuous Mojo, barely 1, a Lab with hip displasia gifted to us by our neighbours. An entire wall in our living room is dedicated to them and the others who have passed on. Magic, a rescued pom from Crawford Market; Mogambo, an abandoned boxer; Mambo No 5, another stunning boxer, born in Rashtrapati Bhavan; Mystic, rescued from under a car; and Mischief the tomcat who challenged all of them and ruled our home.

When our colleague Bobbie died, Candy and Sydney came home. But we were overbooked and had to give them away to Melissa who runs a shelter in Lonavla. Melissa left her Bandra home and settled in Lonavla, just to look after her many dogs. Even I had 42 rescued dogs once, in an ashram I built in Murbad. It was run by an old Englishman who I also found abandoned near Kemps Corner, begging for his living. But the locals in Murbad made his life miserable and one day he vanished. So now I have given the land to PAWS and Nilesh Bhanage runs his shelter there.

Wherever I look today, I find animal NGOs doing amazing work. Yet there's hunger everywhere. Stray cattle, dogs and cats roam the streets, scrummaging for leftovers. Hungry horses collapse, unable to pull their tongas any more. Monkeys trudge all day long, tied to a rope, begging for alms. Sick, emaciated bullocks pull overburdened carts. Once majestic camels lie sick and dying in Juhu beach. Elephants beg for food outside our temples. It's a sad, pitiful sight. Go to any circus pitched in the city in winter and see those once proud beasts cowering in captivity, just skin and bones, their eyes full of hunger, pain and helplessness. So, next time you throw away food or waste it, think of all those hungry strays all over this city. It's the cheapest thing to give away. Do it. Do it whenever you can.'

Mr. Pritish Nandy, thank you so much for sharing all this. I will forever see you in a different light from now on....

And like I always believe in and say:
"Heal the world we live in
Save it for our children" - MJ

Debolina Raja Gupta