Monday, 11 March 2013

Delhiites and their dogs

On arrival in Delhi, one of the things that struck me is the sheer abundance of stray dogs. There is a dog at literally every street corner. Back in kenya, stray dogs exist but unless there is a garbage dump somewhere, these dogs are usually emaciated. Not so in Delhi, the dogs here are fat, very fat and ready to have a heart attack any moment. Some of them cannot even walk, they waddle...... sideways. Ever since I spotted these fat dogs, I became intrigued at how they managed to keep such a hefty physique despite being stray dogs. I also noted that the Delhiites are in love with dogs. Despite living in flats that may be cramped, it is not uncommon to see an old man walking 2 or 3 overweight dogs every morning. There is even a lady I see quite often who walks no less that 4 cute dogs everyday. During winter, all the dogs get to wear winter jackets... even the stray ones. This reminds me of a true story.

One of our friends is in a club that has alot of Delhiites. During winter, when the cold was really biting and almost unbearable, the club raised an appeal for money to be donated to buy winter jackets for the stray dogs that congregated at a point near where the club would meet. The members gave generously such that the canines all got a jacket and there was left over cash. So the question was posed, "what do we do with this extra money?' It was proposed that they should look around for a street family that is in need of blankets and donate some.

The conundrum of how the dogs manage to stay so overnourished was finally answered. It had always intrigued me why sometimes I would find food remains(snacks really like biscuits and chevra)on the porch right outside my landlords house and the gate wide open. One day, we found dog poop on our steps on the 2nd floor and I wondered how the dog got there. Our landlord does not own a pet dog. Another day, I went to the grocery store and I witnessed the shop owner tear open some biscuits and pour them out on a receptacle for the canines around his shop to have dinner. Some will even pour out some milk to quench their thirst after the biscuit feast. That was the eye opener for me. The "aha" moment. Since then, I can't help but notice the receptacles outside many homes that seemingly look like trash but may indeed be performing a role every now and then. There was a day when we witnessed a lady who had stopped her car in the middle of the road at the main market, opened the boot, got out a large plastic plate, put it on the tarmac and proceeded to pour out dog biscuits for the stray mutts........incredible.

I am yet to understand what the dogs have to do with Indian culture. There are also many monkeys around Delhi that are quite a nuisance. We have been warned that the monkeys even know how to help themselves to the contents of your fridge if you grant them access to the kitchen. We have also been warned not to feed the monkeys. I don't understand why I can feed the dog but not the monkey. The Delhites also have a thing for feeding birds. There is a place near the main market that is always littered with seeds that someone routinely scatters for the birds. There are also containers of water, just in case the seed goes down the wrong pipe.

Ooops, after writing the above paragraph, I decided to check out wikipedia. Apparently, in Hinduism, it is believed that dogs guard the doors of heaven and hell .... go figure!

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