Divya was finding it hard to breathe. She had been crying so hard for so long now, there was nothing she could do to stop this outpour of hers even if she wanted to. Everytime she passed through that road outside her house she was reminded of those two little pups she had fed, cared for and fought for ever since they were born. How she adored them. How she fought with random strangers on the road for annoying them in the name of cuteness. She had taken it upon herself to be their guardian. Now that they are gone, all she felt was pain. The pain that she felt was not hers. But the pain that she assumed her dear pups were probably going through. “They are kids!”, she cried to her mother. “They know nobody there. They must be so scared. What if they miss me?” she asked. And this last thought of them missing her struck a dagger through her heart. Not just as a verbal expression, but as an actual physical manifestation, she felt pain in her chest like something was stopping her from breathing. Life has always been cruel to the sensitive, for they perceive the emotions around them in overwhelming proportions.
The two orphaned pups had been the reason for her smile for five months now. They were also the reason why she could see the humane side of her not so social neighbours. With their charm, the two pups managed to get themselves fed by six out of the ten families living in the building everyday. It was like the entire building was bringing those pups up after their mother died. Divya could never stop smiling when she saw the two pups having it their way with almost everybody by simply wagging their tails.
Those soft ears that she caressed with so much love each time she saw them, that adorable manner in which the black pup shook hands with her without being taught to do so, the way they would come running after her when they saw her…………… she missed all of it – mostly she just swallowed the pain than letting it out. But today, it was just too hard for her to take. “My babies – I hope they are fine.” she repeated to herself as she cried.
“How are you going to survive in this world if you are going to be so sensitive?”, asked her mother. She had no answer. “Even humans are not given any importance in this country. It is no wonder that they treat dogs like this.” her mother continued.
Divya’s emotional state, however, was a lot more complex than the sorrow of it all. Just as she was crying, the girl felt so much anger inside of her, it wouldn’t be right to call it anger. It was fury. Fury that could make her burn everything there is to ashes. She was infuriated by the world and its ways. She loathed, what she called, the human arrogance.
“What gives them the right to abduct an animal like that and deprive it of its reproductive rights? Is equality only a privilige enjoyed by humans? Why is it so hard for everyone to simply respect? Why can’t they just live with nature?”, she asked her mom. Nobody in the building seemed to raise a hue and cry over the puppies like Divya did, despite all the dearness the residents showed towards the pups. But she also thought that it was one of the residents themselves who must have been responsible for the turn of events.
Mr.Roy was never fond of the pups. He smiled at the pups when Divya was around, but behaved like a barbarian with them when she was not around the pups. Divya was aware of this. An obvious result – she hated him and his wife. This, coupled with the uncertainty over the pups’ return multiplied the anger that sprang from her helplessness, manifold. It was after all a known fact that the people who are in charge of animal birth control never return the animals to their territory as per rules.
She wiped off her tears and finally made up her mind. “If the people here don’t know how to respect life, I shall teach them. I am not leaving this here” , she said and left the room.
At the Animal Birth Control centre, Imran, a 57 year old man was cleaning up the poop left behind by some dogs, when he was told by the vet to put the two new pups in their kennel. They were both unconscious when Imran came in. He handled them gently, one after the other and put them in their kennel. He just stood there, gazing at those two lovely angels, which were both males and he began reminescing an episode in the history of India, back when he was a young man full of dreams and teeming with energy.
Back in 1976, a time when India faced the same problem of over-population as it does today, a young leader in the national political scene, Sanjay Gandhi had come up with the ingenious idea of compulsory sterilisation to tackle the problem of over population. Scores of unwilling men were forced to undergo vasectomy. Learned men called it a blot on democracy. Common man was terrorised about family planning. The entire episode was such an embarrassment that governments ever since then made it a point to ensure that family planning was indeed voluntary.
Imran now had an indignant smile on his lips as he continued to look at those pups with pity. “You are not humans. You are dogs. You don’t count as votes. It is your fate to silently suffer.”, he said to the pups that still lay unconscious.