It was the worst season of the year when the biting cold of the place hits the stray animals and the homeless the hardest. The region around the capital city of the country sees a weather that alternately fluctuates between the prolonged beastly summers and the chilling winters. Extreme climate does accelerate the snuffing out of lives especially of the marginalized who often perish fighting the odds against an Un sheltering sky.

Amit has been living in one of the satellite towns bordering the capital for decades. The colony he lived was peopled from diverse background- business, office goers and the elderly 'retirees.' A number of stray dogs too dwelled in the same locality. In the past decade or thereabouts Amit has observed that residents in his locality didn't exhibit much compassion for the poor animals. Just a handful of them were kind to these animals. Most of them were rather enthusiastic about upkeep and promotion of their glorious heritage and dissemination of nationalism for those living in the neighborhood. Amit has often wondered as to how it was possible to instill greater virtues like selflessness and nationalist fervor in individuals (macro goal) when they lack empathy for the less privileged (micro achievable target). Strange are the ways of the world. In his years of living around Delhi, Amit has seen hundreds of people sleeping under the open sky during the harsh winters near the Inter State Bus Transport depot.

There are times when the stray population witnesses a steep rise. And at other times some of them fall prey and succumb to dog catchers or even poisoned by evil men to stop their swelling numbers or they fight with neighboring ones that result in a fatal wound which led to a thinning of their ilk. There have been rare occasions when some of the stray dogs have growled at small children mostly of maids left carelessly unattended. This would give some of the non-dog lovers of the neighborhood to voice concern to Amit since he was one of the few who regularly fed the strays. 

News came today that Laltu one of strays that Amit cared for has passed away. A few months back, 'Bosco' a dog that Amit loved was similarly taken to a dog hospital owing to treatment for maggots that appeared in his tail had to depart from this world. Some days back when Amit heard that Laltu was taken for treatment in the same hospital where Bosco has expired a few months back he had developed a 'sinking' feeling that he would never see her again.  When living beings perish under improper medical care Amit wondered as to how much we have really become developed in the real sense of the term.

The passing away of some of his affectionate ones leave Amit saddened.  They remain as memories embedded in his mind. Mankind has not yet succeeded to relive his past. Amit however cannot allow inaction to take over his morose condition. Newborn make way for those that have gone into the unknown. The struggle to feed the hungry animals outdoors who have come to depend on his morsel continues on a daily basis. The playfulness and never-say-die spirits of these pariah amidst their adversities and neglect provides a beacon to hope to Amit to wage on the battle as long as his limbs give support towards his mobility.


More by :  Subhajit Ghosh

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