Life is beautiful, or at least, it is supposed to be. We’re incredibly lucky that God chose to bless our souls with a human form. We’re living a comfortable life, being educated, building plans for a great future, investing our time an vigour into ‘creation’ – creating things, inventions, innovations promising to make our life even better. We have the power of controlling our minds that make us ‘intelligent’. We can talk, create, build homes, and build lives. We have the power to do almost ANYTHING!
As a human being, you have ‘greater’ powers than other creatures; why don’t you try to make life better for them too, other than just your own? God didn’t put us here on this planet to meddle with his creations. We’re supposed to live, to use those resources carefully and make living an enjoyable experience, for us and all other living beings. (Don’t get me wrong, I’m not asking you to abandon cities and start living in the middle of a forest on wild fruits and leaves!)
Think about it, aren’t you only concerned about YOUR family, YOUR business, YOUR job, YOUR habits and also, YOUR choices? Do you even care how it is affecting others? However rigorously you may shake your head from side to side, showing those big bulging eyes, I know you don’t. Even if you do, there is some motive; you will be getting something out of it, wont you? Only a few great souls like the beloved Mother Teresa can provide selfless love.
And it isn’t only about humans. A situation that arose recently in our colony made me think about what people’s priorities actually are. Everyone wants to stay in their comfortable cocoons, troubling to get out only to shoo away something that’s troubling them.
It had been THREE days since the street dog (a bitch) had been stuck underground. Weird, you say? Well, there was this small hole recently dug at the side of the ramp* of a neighbor’s house. This dog was about to give birth and had gone inside this seemingly ‘safe’ shelter. That’s because another dog, from another lane, had killed all her babies previously; kyunki ye patli si hai and wo moti and strong, as the littlest kids tell me. Clearly, tragedies aren’t only prevalent in our lives. These creatures suffer tragically and endure all the pain in their strong strides. It doesn’t mean they don’t have feelings. Have you ever noticed a tear in a dog’s eye? You should, you’ll start loving life more.
Anyway, the poor dog had gone deep inside and while coming out with the pups, one of its legs got stuck in the mesh of underground pipes! It wasn’t able to come out at all, and it was SO deep, no one could even see (except with a flashlight). A day passed, people gave pitying looks to the rock solid ramp, some staring, as if they had x-rays fixed in their retinas, to see or wonder what the dog’s condition would be. I saw the kids being the most affected. They stood in shock, listening to the wails, trying to figure out a way to help. The second day, someone called the MCD (Municipal Corporation of Delhi) and as it is expected in a funny city like Delhi, we got a huge, magnanimous Fire Ambulance instead. The fire truck came, saw the situation and said, “Ye hamara kaam nahin hai, MCD ko bulao” (this is not our job, call the MCD) or wait for two days, it might come out on its own; and went away! With nothing to do, the people went and slid back into their comfortable homes, while the dog with the pups was stuck inside with a painful leg, in a stifling, watery hole, without food or water, wailing loudly. Night came and the wailing stopped. One could hear people murmuring, “now they’ll have to break open the ramp anyway to get the smell and the dead dogs out, poor people, kharcha aa jaega inka toh” (they’ll have to pay for the expense). Heck, doesn’t anyone care at all? You felt bad because the owners of the home would have to pay, not because a life (and probably four more) had to end in such an inhuman manner? But wait, why would you, those creatures aren’t human, right? For heavens’ sake, didn’t you see its companion, sniffing all around frantically, wailing, and probably trying to call her? Why was it running around looking under cars or in the staircases? It isn’t just you, who has a life. Respect other lives; anything can happen with you too. I felt terrible. Even though I was always against my brother and dad feeding them with milk and bread occasionally, since they were always running around our gate, I felt a deep sadness seeing the poor companion. I wished I could have helped.
The next day I returned home from college, and to my delight and satisfaction, I heard the dog’s wailing! It was alive! Not wanting to miss this chance, I immediately set out, trying to talk with the home owners who wanted the dog out. They were compassionate people, thankfully and ensured their full support. The chowkidars were called in and asked to break open a part of the ramp, a little away from where it was stuck. An opening created, the people peeked in and saw the stuck dog in defensive mode, trying to struggle to keep her babies close. A dog in distress doesn’t know you’re trying to help; and angry and dissatisfied as it was, it was dangerous at that moment. We decided to call an animal shelter, which could free the dogs and take them for treatment. They came, made another opening, in the course of which one of the two guys got bitten by the dog. Angry and agitated with the situation, they went away after tying close the dog’s mouth, so it wouldn’t bite.
In the meanwhile, people started complaining about the racket that was being created by the dogs and the thump-thump of the hammers against cement. They wanted the dog out so that they could sleep in peace. At last, a middle-aged woman, who had been helping with the process the whole time, called her husband from work to help. He came within half an hour and with a few tricks, made a comfortable way to slice the pipe, without the danger of the dog biting. There was this man in Reebok and Dockers, sawing away at the pipe in the heat, to save an animal’s life. Wasn’t it amazing?
Finally, after whole six hours since the process started, the dog was free. Some people fed it with milk and went away satisfied. Some others didn’t bother; they continued living in their cocoons, trying to make more money probably. It was both a happy and sad moment for me. I felt extremely self-satisfied and happy. Hey, we prevented a small universe from being broken. The dog was alive, and so were its babies. But what hurt was the attitude of the residents, who didn’t really care. After all, it’s only a street dog, they say. I wanted to ask them, what if it was (God forbid) a little kid? People would have gone gaga over the issue and the kid would have been back with his doting mommy within half an hour!
The world isn’t just about you. Learn to love, show sympathy and extend a helping hand. The intense satisfaction and pleasure you experience would be much more than what you get sitting home watching the stupid TV. You are a ‘greater’ creature, show and prove it too. Help others. Love life. Live life.
*ramp- a slope usually made of cement in front of a house.