We had a neighbor called Mr. Sinha who was an animal lover. He began by giving left over food to one stray dog. Soon there were at least seven to ten street dogs of all sizes and ages occupying different corners of his house. Come winter they’d laze around the front verandah and the lawn adjacent to it and in summer they would select the coolest spots including the one with the facility of an air cooler. There would be a few more standing by the gate waiting to get in! Those inside would get the ‘cake’ and those in the ‘waiting list would be satisfied with the ‘crumbs’! The Sinhas had to buy at least four packets of bread to feed their dogs. Milk was no problem since they had three or four cows of which at least two yielded milk at any given point of time in the year. Mrs. Sinha would crib and complain about the house getting dirty and who could blame her considering the kind of the erratic and unreliable domestic help available these days. She was getting on in age and managing a mini zoo was not easy! Moreover, her social life had nearly come to a standstill with most of her friends wary of a visit to their place not knowing whether a bark or bite would welcome them. Finally it seemed that her problem would get solved when Mr. Sinha retired and they shifted from the company quarter to a rented house some four kilometers away.
While shifting to her new home Mrs. Sinha put her foot down and said that the dogs had to be left behind. Mr. Sinha relented albeit half-heartedly. They took the cows and their calves along and left the canines to fend for themselves. They had, however, underestimated their herd of cows for when they were let out to graze the following day, they returned with all ten dogs in tow, merrily wagging their tails!
Needless to say that the Sinhas gladly welcomed them back.
Unfortunately Mrs. Sinha passed away early this year. And it is his mini animal kingdom that helps him to get on with life. I do feel everything that happens to us, including the feeding of leftovers to a stray dog,happens for a purpose.