As my cab jerked to a halt, amidst the chockablock traffic of New Delhi, I could hear my cab driver utter in consternation, “Logon ko chalne ki jagah nai, ye kaha se bachenge?” (Where people do not have place to walk, how can these survive?”). Looking outside the window, I saw a black puppy lying in a pool of mud with blood oozing out of its right thighs. It was still breathing, but too weak to even raise its head.
Nobody seemed to have noticed the pain of this little puppy. On the other side of the road, on an elevated pavement, stood two brown puppies, helplessly watching their sibling in distress. They ran up and down near the edge of the pavement, staring at the puppy, with their ears up in attention. The cacophony of honking vehicles and argumentative humans could not distract them.
Soon, a shining black beauty darted towards the puppy from the other side of the road. The light drizzle added a sheen to her coat, and her daring leaps and unwavering focus on her task could put a commando to shame. Guided by the whimpering of the little creature, she rushed to the puppy and started pulling it, sometimes by its ears, sometimes by its neck, and sometimes by its legs. Three stray dogs also joined in, pushing and pulling from each end. They managed to drag him some distance through the gaps between the cars and buses.
Watching their plight, two rag pickers rushed in, held the half-conscious bundle of bones in their arms, and ran towards the pavement, where the two little puppies eagerly waited. Soon, the group encircled him to lick his wounds. The body that had looked lifeless a few moments earlier, was now shivering, and responding to the care of its kin. A long trail of traffic moving at snail pace gave me the luxury to witness the accomplishment of this rescue mission.
None of these creatures bothered to check the breed that was fighting for its life. Nobody inquired about its whereabouts, its caste, creed and religion. They saw a friend in trouble, barged into the scene from nowhere, rescued him, and celebrated the moment with utmost love, care and elation. And the only compassionate humans had been those who were least educated and nourished. Those staring out from the luxury of their air-conditioned cars and buses, were unmoving, like stones. We all had the power to be humane, but we chose otherwise.
The traffic signal turned green, accelerators were pressed and the race to grab that extra space ahead of our neighbours resumed. Only this time, a few cars adjacent to the pavements, slowed down. They carefully steered past to ensure that the angels of faith, celebrating their collective victory over death, were not disturbed.
- Sunil Kumar, Delhi
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