What is fun for you could spell hell for your pets…

Hindustan Times (Patna) - Live - - Leisure - Sonal Kalra is a se­cret col­lecter of gola bombs. Es­pe­cially those that have pho­tos of WWE wrestlers on them.. Some­day she’ll have a real blast! Mail your feed­back at sonal.kalra@hin­dus­tan­times.com, or face­book.com/sonal.kalra. Fol­low on Twit­ter @sonal

BOOM. A weird, shriek­ing sound fol­lowed the loud bang. I could sud­denly sense his body get­ting stiff with a jerk, and then trem­ble with panic. I looked into his eyes and I could see im­mense, help­less fear. Slowly and meekly, my usu­ally mis­chievous, happy-with-life pet dog slith­ered un­der the bed and curled into a shiv­er­ing ball. I was go­ing to write this week about the de­bate on in­tol­er­ance and the whole ‘to-eat-or-not-to-eat beef ’ con­tro­versy. But you know what, I don’t care any­more. We are happy out­rag­ing and de­bat­ing for hours on which meat to not eat, and which award to not keep, but have barely any con­cern for the in­sen­si­tive way we are lead­ing our lives. Di­wali is round the cor­ner, and I can al­ready see the gleam in the eyes of those who are go­ing to base their level of achieve­ment in life by the noise and smoke they can pro­duce in one evening of fes­tiv­i­ties. But I hope they also see the flicker of fear in the eyes of the poor an­i­mals — pet or stray — each time a noisy cracker goes off, or the sparks from a ball of fire burns the life out of them.

All those who are ready to ex­press out­rage think­ing that I’m against cel­e­bra­tions, please hold your anger horses. I, too, like most of you, have grown up lov­ing and en­joy­ing Di­wali. Yes, in­clud­ing the cer­e­mo­nial burst­ing of crack­ers. But just as you en­joy the ex­pe­ri­ence of go­ing to a restau­rant to have a meal but hate it when some ill-man­nered guests on the next ta­ble are too loud or rude, I hate it when peo­ple for­get their man­ners and com­mon sense while com­ing out to burst crack­ers on Di­wali. In the name of no-holds barred cel­e­bra­tion, what some of us in­dulge in, is unadul­ter­ated dis­re­gard for oth­ers around us, es­pe­cially the poor, hapless an­i­mals. Here’s what I want to sug­gest so that we, as well as they, get to cel­e­brate a calmer Di­wali this year…



FEAR: I’m pretty sure we all stud­ied it in school but those who clearly failed at sci­ence in ad­di­tion to moral sci­ence must know that an­i­mals, es­pe­cially dogs and cats, are sev­eral times more sen­si­tive to sound than hu­man be­ings. So what is ‘loud’ for you and your evil un­cle, is UN­BEAR­ABLE for the dog at home and worse still, the one on the street. They trem­ble and shake un­be­liev­ably with each aaloo or gola or what-the-hell bomb you burst. Try and un­der­stand their fear. Try and live it. If noth­ing else, imag­ine your spouse or child loudly bang­ing the door each time they en­ter or leave the room. Now think that you are pay­ing money to hear a much louder sound, and like a fool, you are also clap­ping and cheer­ing your stu­pid­ity in do­ing so. Yaar crack­ers toh woh bhi hote hain jo at least dekhne mein toh achhe lage when we burn them. At least you get the vis­ual plea­sure. And you don’t have to bear the bur­den of a help­less, silent an­i­mal curs­ing you on the day of your big­gest fes­ti­val.



COM­PAS­SION: TV de­bates mein baad mein chilla lena, first show hu­man­ity by shout­ing at those who de­rive plea­sure in throw­ing burn­ing crack­ers at the poor stray dogs. I mean c’mon, is there any way you can jus­tify that? I find it more of­fen­sive than a lot of things that seem to hurt our senti- ments, taken to­gether. In the midst of get­ting an­gry about haz­aar other things, please get a lit­tle an­gry at peo­ple be­ing heart­less. Vaise, I love the fact that most schools nowa­days teach kids to cel­e­brate Di­wali in an eco-friendly way. Wish they would also fo­cus on the plight of an­i­mals dur­ing fes­ti­vals and give tips to the kids on help­ing the an­i­mals stay safe dur­ing cel­e­bra­tions.


HELP, HELP, HELP: You need not be a part of an NGO to some­times do good deeds in life. One such op­por­tu­nity comes dur­ing Di­wali. When there are un­count­able burn ac­ci­dents that hu­man be­ings get in­volved in dur­ing the fes­tiv­i­ties, you can only imag­ine how those an­i­mals that don’t have the lux­ury of hid­ing un­der a bed must be suf­fer­ing. Aur unki toh jaan bhi itni sasti hai that there are hardly any med­i­cal fa­cil­i­ties to take care of them dur­ing burn emer­gen­cies. If pos­si­ble, give shel­ter to such help­less strays in your com­pound for the evening. Give them food and wa­ter, and if pos­si­ble, a place to sneak un­der when they shud­der at the loud ex­plo­sions. Trust me, whether you’re an an­i­mal lover or not, it’ll give you more sat­is­fac­tion and hap­pi­ness than any other cel­e­bra­tion. And if you are one of those lucky ones who have a pet adding un­con­di­tional joy to your home ev­ery day, take out the time to hold them close when they get scared. Or just give them the com­fort of hid­ing in a cor­ner where they feel safe and pro­tected. And puh­leez, don’t make the mis­take of try­ing to force them to be all brave. They are not like your kids who you some­times end up pun­ish­ing even for con­fid­ing their gen­uine fears in you. Just let them be. It’ll make your Di­wali the blast that it de­serves to be. Pun in­tended.


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