|Photo Credit- To rightful Creator, I found it in google|
My fondness with dogs and other creature is a family heirloom that is encoded in my genes. The bag I carry to my university always has small packs of biscuits in it, I carry it thinking of possible what if situations- a long face, beady eyed creature comes wagging its tail at me? Or a hungry little puppy rolls at my legs, I choose to be prepared. Often at times those biscuits have even saved starving humans too after six hours of non-stop classes. Occasionally I have eye contacts with another species, the feline, they and I, we were match made in hell. They lock their eyes on mine and so do I on the marble eyes which they proudly flaunt when they are climbing up walls, running after birds or hiding behind the bush, we have our moments of mutual recognition and respect. The goats and the cows to seem to have found a spot in my heart, many a times I have chased them out of the garden with sticks for eating up the plants and flowers, but alas I crumble into pieces when they stare at me with absolute concentration. If we draw a borderline to this fondness its equivalent to love.
That doesn’t mean I am a vegetarian who fights for animal rights. I love chicken and eggs and I am not giving up on them anytime soon. When I go to stinking chicken market with my father, I do feel bad for the white birds caged in the webbed bamboo basket, but that feeling of ‘bad’ passes away when I see a plate of delicious methi chicken or rezala or chicken curry. To me at that moment the white chicken existed to feed me and that’s the end of its story. Today when my friends and I we decided to sip black coffee in the pseudo-Japanese inspired restaurant, we consciously asked for crispy baby corn but the food god made sure we ate crispy chicken instead. Hence being vegetarian is off my charts yet my love for creatures is growing higher, now days I have started conversing with crows too.
Almost every night I feed stray dogs, it’s a habit for last four years now. When I was in home I used to feed my leftover food and extra rice cooked, to the creatures who strolled outside my home. Sometimes I fed five dogs at times one tiny puppy, various nights a big ox came and ate up everything I left for dogs on the culvert, sometimes I kept whistling in cold January night but none of the nincompoops came and my cheeks burned. When last year I moved into my PG, I had the big dilemma about putting the large amount of leftover food to good use. I dislike wastage of food. It’s a point of priority for me to see them in good place. This tendency of mine might have resulted in helping ants store more food in winter, birds flying past my window searching bread crumbs and rats rolling in my dustbin etc. & etc. So a year back my left over food found itself providing energy to one creature.
It was white and brown starving creature, its ribs were sticking out and its legs were weak. It had no name, like he really cared about a name in his condition. But none the less it got named by my ex-roommate. Surprisingly the same name has stuck to any dog that comes to eat at night be it a male or female. If the number of dogs is more than one we just add a lonely ‘s’ behind the name, hence Chintu becomes Chintus. Now a days I have half a dozen of Chintus and my biggest headache is that quantity of my leftover food is that of one steel tiffin box. Dividing between two or three Chintus is fine but dividing between six a battle.
Every night I have to make sure each Chintu is at three arm’s length from others or else the stronger of the lot tries to eat up weaker’s share. That’s when I get to see the phrase ‘Dog eat Dog World’ come to life. Most nights I stand between them to end up yelling and hissing like a snake in heat so that each cadet remains at its position. Ironically or unfortunately, I have no idea which word I should use here, I can’t stop overflow of common curious thoughts watching my children fight.
The strays have a reason to fight, most of the day they are starving and it’s in their blood, call of instinct that guides them to snatch others food. The story of ‘Greedy Dog’ always surfaces in my head. The human rules of courtesy and sharing don’t apply to them and it should not apply on them. The huge monkeys that hang from wild unnamed trees near and at my university have much knowledge of sharing, yet they too do fight for food. Everyone wants to survive and I see nothing wrong in that. But I can’t stop myself comparing the dogs to humans.
This comparison doesn’t come because of reading too much into Dalit Literature, I have always attached animal qualities to human and same has been done to me. My upturn nose has equaled me to a pig, my loyalty towards my friends and at times yelling nature is like that of a master and dog’s or my teeth have been compared to that of rabbits sadly rabbits have better symmetry. I always think my elder sister is the combination of serpent from Bible and Cheshire Cat while my dearest brother-in-law is the weed smoking Caterpillar. This imagination of mine extends to infinite planes and I have never ending list.
When I see my stray children fighting I realize we all are doing the same. Before we are given our share of food we are patient and eagerly waiting, once we are given our share of food we are busy trying to snatch others plate. In this moment of scaring the immediate weaker of all, the strongest dog becomes a fool. He leaves his share of food to gobble up others share but fails to realize the Beta of the group swiftly eats up his own share and empties Alpha’s share as well while the Alpha is busy threatening the weak. This is a very childish and animalistic and simplified version of the present world situation. We thrive on others weakness, we snatch away others opportunities and portion of credit, we are busy plotting others downfall, but we forget while we dwell in the ill-works their is someone else who is going to do the same to us, taking away the big things while we swell on small things.
When I read Dalit Literature, I feel that we humans are capable of all the extremist. We can be really good and we can be cruelest of all. Its funny Good doesn’t have to turn into ‘Goodest’ (I know we have best from good and worst for bad and Kindest counters Cruelest). Our creative agencies have made us unstable creatures who are capable of systematic cruelty and clean evil. Negative capability is high in us which poor Keats had predicted perfectly. We can organize and have been organizing our bad deeds into pouches sprouting at various branches for eras now. We differ from dogs; we are not honest enough to snatch the food out in open. We are more layered, it’s not instinct to live that guides us it’s our desire to be the only one who enjoys all the resources in the small world that guide us.
While my dogs try to be chummy with others share I feel like the Communist God of small things, I try to keep a balance and share the food between six noise makers. I exercise an unseen power only the Provider can do. But there is trouble in my stray paradise as well, once I turn around the brows frown and stick up, the fangs bare up and the voices begin to crackle. Even as the Provider I am afraid of them, I don’t own them I just am the temporary agency that feeds them, they had been surviving before I came, they have lived fine without my interference and they can survive after I leave this place. They take away the power I have on them by making them less hungry and this makes me doubt my position as the god of small things.
|Photo Credit- To rightful Creator, I found it in google|
P.S- I am disturbed by many things presently, Paris Attack, Cow Mania and Political Instability are least of the disturbing elements in the long list of ill elements. I am mostly disturbed by the thought of upcoming Semester Finals!
thanking you to bear with me