By Vaishali Jain:
Ever since I was chased by a street dog, I have been scared to pass even the smallest of Chihuahuas in my colony.
Ever since my friend was hit above her left eye by a bull, I have been scared of all the members of the subfamily Bovinae. The cows, the buffalos, the yaks and, of course, the bulls.
Ever since my aunt was threatened by a notorious monkey over a bag of mangoes, I have been scared to make my presence felt in any of the langoor-and-monkey territories.
Ever since I saw a cat perform her ninja techniques on a cushion in my cousin’s home, I have been scared of these little devils. Who cares if someone’s cute when they can harm your smooth face within four wonderful seconds?
Ever since four huge pigs threatened people in a neighbouring locality, my visits to the said locality have become zero. No one had to convince me, my instinct to be safe drew me into finding other safe places on the planet.
My solemn wish every time I venture out of my home is to not meet a single dog, bull, pig, or cow on my way. Some wish, that is. On good days, I cross my path with six or seven. On better days, I get to see a serious-looking herd of cows and a pack of barking dogs waiting to test my bravado. Also, this is one of the few times I connect with God.
Ever since I had to cross a pothole filled with a powerful mixture of rainwater, plastics and animal dung, I have been reluctant to set my foot on roads during monsoons.
Ever since there has been a mix of elephant rides, horse carriages, cars, bikes, and buses etc. on the Indian roads, I have become sceptical of such diversity. It’s difficult for the animals to work according to the human wishes. And, of course, who doesn’t know how inconsiderate human drivers can be.
Ever since I have read the statistics of accidents due to animals ‘partying’ on the roads, I have read more such unbelievable statistics. Not really. I did nothing but let out a deep sigh.
I know those who say stray animals create nuisance — whether in the form of diseases, dirt, or accidents. Its true how many times I have seen dead dogs and pigs in the middle of the road and how many times I have witnessed a close call due to random animals in random places. It’s carnage without being the fault of either of the parties involved, mostly. I see more than nuisance here; I see unwarranted deaths; I see lives that can be saved.
Ever since I saw a dog looking at me with pleading eyes and almost-visible ribs, I have tried to carry an extra packet of biscuits to feed the hungry animals on my way. It’s still scary to cross them but with the knowledge that they mean no harm to me just like I don’t mean any harm to them, I try.
Ever since I came to know about the cruelty of a group of kids towards a helpless dog in the locality, I have tried to study the laws regarding the protection of street dogs, and street animals in general.
People need to be explained that they need to respect life. Just because animals cannot speak for themselves does not mean they be tortured or teased. They desire respect just like we do. Animals do not look for potential victims everywhere; they can be as friendly as your childhood buddy. An animal, if ever, harms you will do it to defend itself; the prime reasons being fear, pain, or just plain surprise.
The government needs to take this issue into consideration and make appropriate arrangement for the street animals where these creatures can live a life without being terrified of the two-legged fellow beings. Street is not a suitable home for anyone, unless you consider street-deaths as normal. They should get their homes. It’s been a long time we Indians have been going ahead with the Chalta-Hai attitude. It’s not okay. Especially not okay when it can be changed. They lead miserable lives on the streets suffering extreme climatic conditions and diseases, even more often being chased around by violent civilians and authorities(mostly without even a tiny morsel of bread in their stomachs).
I’ll never advocate slaughter houses to curb their population. But does the safety of a home seem too much to ask for? Animal shelters, zoos, adoption — there are ways to ensure they get a life just like we have.