Friday, June 09, 2006

Beware of Dogs

As I drove home this morning I saw this house with a signboard “Beware of Dogs”. I wondered why the occupants of the house had to call themselves names. Anyway what does “beware” of dogs mean? Is it that the occupants of the house can bite or that they are rabid, are it a general warning for people on the road, “hey, be sure to stay clear of all dogs on the street!” or is it another signboard which the owner of the house liked and put up; signs like “welcome, this is our home”, “Sweet Home” etc.

I think dogs (the animals) should get together to hold a protest against people who call them names. They should stop traffic, bite anyone - or everyone - who tries to reason with them, scratch government buses and deflate their tyres till they get their due recognition in society. Anyway nobody pays attention nowadays until you burn a few buses, break a few window panes and generally create a nuisance for the larger society. (What a pity!)

Dogs apart… another animal which deserves to be checked out, is the cow and her male counterpart, the bull. Cows hold a special place in Hindu society. Time and again, various organizations (and people) shout their lungs out against the “zulm” that is perpetrated on cows - how cow poachers, for their petty gains, are eliminating what all Hindus feel is sacred.

My personal experience is not quite the same. We have a number of cows and bulls that have chosen to make the area outside our house, their humble abode. Every morning starting 5.30 am, they drift, from all corners of Gurgaon, towards the Promised Land and within no time, they have settled down in the vicinity outside. The tall neem tree, the lush grass and a general sense of peace make them feel at home, I guess!
Then begins the action. Various passersby feed them various things, vegetable and fruit peels, stale rotis , fresh ones, garbage, polybags filled with stale and rotting vegetables and much else. So much for the sacred! I have seen my neighbours run after these cows with sticks. I have seen others using stones to hit these poor bovines. Children throw holi color on them and fast moving trucks and other vehicles hit them and drive away casually…. Nobody seems to care.

Why this apathy for what we profess to hold sacred. My well-educated neighbour has a habit of throwing vegetable peels out of her house. And domestics have been instructed to throw the offending garbage not just outside their house, but some distance away on public land. They want the cows to feed on these but the cows should not do it beside their entrance. I suspect it is because then, somebody (who?) would have to clean the cow dung. The little domestic (too little to be a domestic, but that’s another story for another day) always threw the peels in a polybag. I day I caught hold of the little fellow and asked him why he was throwing the household garbage outside. He answered that this was food for the cow. So I quizzed him again “but how will the cow take it out of the polybag?”
He threw me a look that said what he thought of me. Weird! Later, I requested the lady of the house not to use polybags. She agreed, reluctantly, was not happy with my objection, but result: polybags are not thrown outside any more. HOORAY!

Moral: If you don’t like something in your neighbourhood, please object and talk to the concerned person(s) about it. No raised voices! No fighting!

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