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Spoorthi animals issue public hq

  1. 1. I S S U E 5 INSIDE: Be Human, Be Humane by Tauseef Ahmed Dollar Diplomacy by Prof. AVK Murthy The Charms of London by Fazeela Mollick We Are Animals After All (JungleNagar) by Aman Arora Our Favourite Animals: From the Spoorthi Team SEPTEMBER-OCTOBER 2013
  2. 2. 04 Cover Story: Be Human, Be Humane Tauseef Ahmed 06 Specials: Dollar Diplomacy Prof. AVK Murthy 08 Extras: 51 Funny Facts About Animals Arijit Biswas 10 Topping the Troops: Walt Disney Aman Arora 11 Achievers: Lone Ranger Raghav Gautam 13 Invincibles: Uttarakhand and the Ani mals Raghav Gautam 14 From the Spoorthi Team: Our Favourite Animal 15 Fulfilling Art: Delhi Safari- Ride With Caution Raghav Gautam 17 Modern Day Fables: Junglernagar We Are Animals After All Aman Arora 19 Youth and Spirituality: Finding the Right Flow Pranjal Malav 20 Musical Healing: Music As A Profession Sameer Havaldar 21 Memorable Journeys: The Charms of London Fazeela Mollick 23 From Across Two Oceans: Being and Healing With Horses Fazeela Mollick 25 Ageless Verses: Hope Lives Neelanjan Mitra 26 Just A Tale: Kites Raghav Gautam 27 People Next Door: A Vivacious MomosWaala Purnank Kaul 29 Picture Power 31 Guest Column: No Fretting, Wonderful Petting Ananya Bhatia 33 Burning Question Editor: Fazeela Mollick Sub-editor: Aman Arora Content Management: Tauseef Ahmed Design and layout: Raghav Gautam Inputs: Neeraj Upadhyay CoverPhotoby:FerranPestaña TakenonAugust22,2007 Titled:HeurayJordidespuésdelalluvia Translation:HeuraandJordiAfterRain BackCoverPhoto:RaghavGautam TheFinerAspectsofLife LoneRanger:MainArticleSource: http://www.openthemagazine.com/article/true-life/ how-i-became-india-s-only-wildlife-taxidermist http:// www.indianexpress.com/news/state-s-first-taxidermy- centre-to-open-today/523441/ 51FactsAboutAnimalsSources Blog of Fun Facts Sweet Facts UttarakhandandtheAnimals-AnimalOrganizations PFA Website Humane Society International Website Wildlife SOS Website Help Animals India Website Friedicoes Seca FB AWBI Website www. mag.com what’s inside credits
  3. 3. www. mag.com from the editor’s desk 3 We can judge the heart of a man by his treatment of animals. – Immanuel Kant Many years ago I read an article about a seeing eye (guide) dog and his blind owner. I was moved to tears by the dog’s dedication, love, attention and the protection it provided for its owner. Even though these dogs are trained to do this type of work, from my observations, it seems that dogs have a natural affinity for human beings. Dogs will follow strangers, wagging their tails and even want to play if they’re given the chance. For our survival and to maintain the balance in nature, we must ensure that we treat our fellow creatures in much the same way as these dogs treat their owners, with kindness and with love. There’s a story I heard of a person of ill repute who gave water to a thirsty dog and because of her kind act, she was granted a place in heaven. This story illustrates that whatever our position in life, we are all capable of pausing and offering help to a suffering animal. We should spend some time considering the contributions these creatures make to our lives. On mornings, the first thing we may hear is the chirping of birds, waking us up to another day of possibilities. Watching while a cat cleans itself, or simply observing its slow and easy gait can be relaxing. Having one around the house will also keep away vermin! Some animals provide us with that wholesome food – milk. The fruits and vegetables we consume are in some part due to the toil of farm animals. From the bee we get honey, a liquid that’s said to be healthier than sugar. The antics of some animals make us laugh and others grace our eyes with their beauty. In this edition of Spoorthi, the cover story, Be Human, Be Humane, presents a realistic view of the existing conditions between humans and animals. In the guest column, you’ll read about a fun event for dogs and their owners. The section on Achievers features India’s only practising taxidermist. You’ll have fun reading Dollar Diplomacy and in the section From the Spoorthi Team you’ll find out about our favourite creatures. Remember, animals have rights too!
  4. 4. be human, be humane Tauseef Ahmed Man has always been fond of games and sports from the beginning of time. For the people of the Stone Age hunting was more than a sport, it was a way of life. Since they did not know how to grow vegetables and ce- reals, they were totally dependent on hunting to satisfy their basic needs. For these people the animals served a two-fold purpose, they provided food, and their dried skins and fur were used to make warm clothing and bedding. But human beings have evolved and animals are no longer hunted for food, unfortunately, they’re hunted for sport, for illegal trade and slaughtered for their body parts. Animals are also captured and even reared for their fur for use in the fashion in- dustry. Although animal rights activists have railed against the use of animal fur in cloth- ing, some famous fashion houses still contin- ue to manufacture garments using real fur. Nowadays, there are many games and sports available for man’s entertainment, as onlookers or participants; there is no need to injure and kill other creatures for the sake of enjoyment or for clothing. Fur- thermore, the advancement in computer technology has created a new category of games for those who are so inclined. Fash- ion designers can also use synthetic fur in their collections instead of being accom- plices in the killing of animals for their fur. There is no reason why human beings today should persist in their cruelty towards other living creatures, yet they continue to do so for their pleasure, comfort and material gain. It seems that this general attitude of many humans towards animals has not improved much over the years, and their greed has ac- celerated the extinction of some species. For primitive man their survival depended on hunting animals but that need is no longer present. Nowadays, humans hunt animals for their gratification, uncaring how their actions are a detriment to the environment. It is such a cruel act to kill animals for en- tertainment. Those who have seen the fa- mous bullfights in Spain would understand the heinousness of that “sport” and how the animals suffer. The poor bull is at the mer- cy of uncaring human beings. It is weak- ened at first by a stab to the neck by the picador, then the frightened creature, now mad with pain, is taunted by the matador who eventually through his “consummate skill”, kills the bull. Then there is the cir- cus where animals are trained to perform acts that are not natural to them, and their owner/trainers sometimes use cruel meth- ods to get the animals to do their bidding. Animals in their natural surroundings ap- pear more relaxed and carefree. I can nev- er forget my excitement at spotting a tiger in the jungles of Ranthambore. The pride with which the tiger walked, seeming- ly oblivious that it was being watched by humans, as if saying, “Yes, I am the boss here”. It was a truly awesome moment. But the same tiger in the zoo or in the circus “If we believe we can hurt another living being without hurting ourselves, we are wrong.” (Raymond Moody) www. mag.com cover story 4
  5. 5. under his master may be an altogether dif- ferent animal. There is no justifiable reason for taking away the freedom of animals. A few months after my visit to Ranthambo- re, I read in the newspaper that the tiger I saw there had gone missing and it was feared that poachers might be responsible for its disappearance. The news saddened me, and the memory of seeing that tiger walking in freedom replayed in my mind. There have been complaints that animals leave their natural habitat and enter towns and villages on the periphery of the jungle or forest and in so doing present a threat to peo- ple and livestock. But humans are the ones who are to be blamed for this. We are the ones who are infiltrating their living spaces, cutting down and destroying trees and other vegetation thus making it difficult for them to survive. Therefore they have no option but to encroach on human territory in search of food. This poses a risk but it’s a consequence of man’s inhumanity to these creatures. Wanton killing of elephants for their tusks stilloccurs.Manyvaluableproductsaremade from the elephants’ tusks and these expen- sive items adorn the homes of the rich. Lions and tigers fall prey to hunters’ guns and their skins are sold for display on the walls and floors of the houses of wealthy persons who are willing to pay a huge price to show off their extraordinary acquisitions. All this has lead to many species declining at an alarming rate. Some have become rare and some have become extinct over a period of time. Added to this is the illegal trade in wildlife and exot- ic pet trade, a global billion-dollar industry that is considered second only to the drug trade. Animals, birds, reptiles and mam- mals that are caught or hunted sometimes die en route to their destination. All endan- gered species of animals and even plants are under attack from these human predators. Governments must take stronger measures by enacting and enforcing laws to eradicate cruelty to animals and they must cooperate in stifling the illegal wildlife trade. Although many countries and private organizations worldwide are working hard to protect ani- mals and their rights, there is still a long way to go. Hunting without valid permission must be considered as a criminal offence and should be heavily penalized. We have to understand that once any animal species disappears, the ecological system will get disturbed and the loss may be irreparable. Throughout the world, many NGOs and private citizens are working assiduously to raise awareness for the protection and sur- vival of the creatures that inhabit this planet with us. It is our duty to support their ef- forts in any way we can, by donations, by volunteering or by simply treating the ani- mals around us with kindness and mercy. www. mag.com cover story 5
  6. 6. dollar diplomacy Professor AVK Murthy I have a friend – Dollar. It is a different matter that he walks on four legs and has a tail. Again it is another matter whether he has taken me as his friend or not. But this much is clear – he certainly does not consider me his non-friend. True, whenever I greet him or wave at him he just ignores me, but he does not jump at me either, the way he does whenever he sees a monkey. Of late I have noticed a major change though. When I pass by he gives me a half-open eye treatment, which is to acknowledge that he has seen me and my presence is tolerated. Dollar belongs to the Colonel. The funny thing is the Colonel thinks that he owns Dollar. In actual fact it’s the other way around and only two of us are aware of it. I stumbled upon this fact through my keen Dollar-watching, but kept quiet as the Colonel is my boss, and Dollar himself who, because he is a great diplomat, also keeps quiet about it. And this leads me to the principles of Dollar Diplomacy. Through my prolonged Dollar observation over a period of two years I have come to realize that Dollar has set patterns of behaviour, which rarely vary and hence are very predictable except when he chooses not to be predictable. I would call these his set laws or norms or rather, The Dozen Laws of Dollar Diplomacy. And here I present to you Dollar’s Laws. 1. Principle of Dollar Stability Dollar at rest would remain stable unless forced to react by some outside force - such as a box of Gulab jamun being opened or the sight of a nearby monkey. 2. Maxim of Hidden Persuasion: Dollar knows that if he keeps staring intently at the refrigerator long enough, someone will come and take out something good to eat. 3. Principle of Dollar Obstruction: Dollar would lie on the floor in such a position as to obstruct the maximum amount of human traffic. 4. Principle of Dollar Interest: Dollar’s interest level would vary in inverse proportion to the amount of effort a human expends in trying to interest Dollar. 5. First Law of Energy Conservation: Dollar knows that energy can neither be created nor destroyed and will therefore use as little energy as possible. 6. Second Law of Energy Conservation: Dollar also knows that energy can be conserved only by a lot of napping. 7. Principle of Dollar Stretching: Dollar would always stretch to a distance proportion to the nap just taken. 8. Principle of Dollar Extension: Dollar can make his body long enough to reach just about any tabletop or container that has anything remotely interesting on it. www. mag.com specials 6
  7. 7. Dollar 9. Principle of Dollar Comfort: Dollar would always seek and takeover the most comfortable spot in any given room. 10. Dollar at rest: Dollar would share a sofa or bed with people whenever feasible and would do so in a position as much uncomfortable to the person concerned and as comfortable to Dollar as possible. 11. Law of Replacement: Dollar’s desire to scratch drapery, furniture or carpet is directly proportional to the cost of the item. 12 Composite Dollar: Dollar is composed of Matter + Anti-Matter + It doesn’t Matter. www. mag.com specials 7
  8. 8. 51 funny facts about animals Arijit Biswas Some animals are cute and cuddly, some are ferocious and hostile, some are loyal and gentle, others are territorial and protective of their young, some are big and some are tiny but whatever their traits, every animal is unique. There is much we know about their appearance and behaviour but there are many unusual facts that may not be common knowledge. Here are 51 little known but interesting facts about animals: 1. Polar bears are left-handed. 2. Hens produce larger eggs as they grow older. 3. Gorillas can catch human colds and other illnesses. 4. In a day, an elephant can drink 80 gallons of water. 5. If you keep a goldfish in a dark room, it will eventually turn white. 6. Dairy cows can produce 20 to 35 gallons of saliva a day. 7. A duck’s quack doesn’t echo, and no one knows why. 8. Owls swallow their prey whole because they have no teeth. After approximately 12 hours they cough up the feathers, bones, and fur in a shape of a football pellet. 9. Sharks have survived on earth for about 400 million years. 10. A starfish can turn its stomach inside out. 11. Penguins can jump as high as 6 feet in the air. 12. Pigs have no sweat glands, which is why they stay in water or mud to keep cool. 13. There are more pigs than humans in Denmark. 14. Cows do not have any upper front teeth. Instead they have a thick pad on the top jaw. 15. Great White sharks have about 3,000 teeth. 16. Hummingbirds are not only the smallest birds but are also the only birds that can fly backwards. 17. Polar bears have been known to swim more than 60 miles without resting. 18. Female and male black bears cannot tolerate being around each other except when they breed. 19. Unlike a frog a toad cannot jump. 20. Snake venom is ninety percent protein. 21. The King cobra has enough venom in its bite that it can kill up to 13 adults. 22. Snailseatwitharaspingmouthcalled a “radula,” which has thousands of teeth. 23. Mice will nurse babies that are not In a day, an elephant can drink 80 gallons of water. www. mag.com extras 8
  9. 9. their own. 24. The fastest bird in the world is the peregrine falcon, which can reach speeds in excess of two hundred miles per hour. 25. The blue whale is the loudest animal on the earth. Its whistle can reach up to 188 decibels. 26. A house cat spends 70 percent of its time sleeping. 27. Sheep can survive for up to 2 weeks buried in snowdrifts. 28. A goldfish has a memory span of 3 seconds. 29. The candlefish is so oily that it was once burned for fuel. 30. It only takes a male horse 14 seconds to copulate. 31. Pigeons can see ultraviolet lights. 32. An ostrich’s eye is bigger than its brain. 33. Elephants are the only animals that can’t jump. 34. Tigers have striped skin, not just striped fur. 35. The slowest mammal on earth is the tree sloth. It only moves at a speed of 6 feet (1.83 meters) per minute. 36. The only 2 kinds of animals that can see behind themselves without turning their heads are rabbits and parrots 37. An octopus will eat its own arms if it gets really hungry. 38. The world smallest mammal is the bumblebee bat of Thailand, weighing less than a penny. 39. Dolphins sleep with one eye open. 40. A jellyfish is 95 percent water. 41. When a horned toad is angry, it can squirt blood from its eyes. 42. Cats do not have a collarbone, so they can fit through any opening the size of their head. 43. Dolphins can swim and sleep at the same time. 44. The bullfrog is the only animal that never sleeps. 45. Snakes can see through their eyelids. 46. An adult blue whale’s heart beats around 6 times per minute. 47. A rat can fall from a 5 story house without injury. 48. The octopus’s testicles are located in its head. 49. Dolphins are the only other animals besides humans that get pleasure out of sex and have sex for reasons other than reproduction. 50. The Basenji is the only dog that does not bark. 51. Cats and dogs can lick their own elbows but humans cannot. (Aha, I bet you just tried this!) www. mag.com extras A goldfish has a memory span of 3 seconds. 9
  10. 10. walt disney Aman Arora “It all started with a dream and a mouse.” The story of Walt Disney teaches us that if we have imagination, barriers don’t exist. If you can dream it, you can do it and he preached four Cs to turn our dreams into reality - Curiosity, Confidence, Courage and Consistency.WaltDisney,alivelyman,aman who loved what he did, still lives among us through his cartoons and movies. He loved drawing and had the courage and confidence to transform his passion into something that brought joy to many all over the world. He was inspired to spread happiness and for this purpose he created a parallel world where there was only happiness. Walt taught us to be ambitious and pursue our dreams with courage. Mickey and friends, Snow White and The Seven dwarfs, Alice in Wonderland, Cinderella, Peter Pan and the list of iconic Disney characters will remain forever popular. Walt Disney never stopped creating and up until he passed on, consistently added to his legendary status as animator extraordinaire, film producer and entrepreneur. A Walt Disney Stamp www. mag.com topping the troops 10
  11. 11. lone ranger Raghav Gautam At 28, as a working veterinarian and an assistant professor at Bombay Veterinary College, Dr. Santosh Gaikwad visited the Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Vastu Sangrahalaya formerly The Prince of Wales Museum in Colaba, Mumbai, and was amazed at the display in the Natural History Section. There he saw stuffed animals of all types looking quite lifelike. On inquiry, he found out from the museum staff that the animals were made to look this way through the process called taxidermy. The term was unfamiliar to him so Dr Gaikwad searched the internet for an explanation of the word. What he discovered intrigued him and immediately he became interested in everything about the art of taxidermy. That was about 11 years ago. At that time taxidermy was not offered as a course in any university in India and the taxidermists he encountered were all retired, and no longer practising. Furthermore, they were only bird taxidermists and for Dr Gaikwad, that was not enough. Nevertheless, he learned what he could from them and began practising on birds. He also made frequent visits to the museum in Colaba to understand the process, and to observe the minor details and subtleties of the art. After working hours, Dr. Gaikwad began teaching himself taxidermy. As a professional vet, he didn’t have any shortage of dead birds on which to practice since many birds came to the hospital sick and injured and despite treatment, they died. But soon he began taking the dead birds home and storing them in the freezer. His wife was not all pleased with this arrangement because she was afraid the birds may contaminate their food. But he took precautions that this would not happen, and so got his way. Taxidermy is a very delicate art and Dr. Gaikwad, through patience, perserverance and mistakes, eventually became proficient in his new chosen profession. His journey speaks of immense courage and determination, for when he gave up his job for a hobby that became his passion, he didn’t receive much support from his colleagues and friends. Since India didn’t have any practising taxidermists, Dr. Gaikwad thought that by continuing this act of preserving these dead animals, it will be his contribution to ensuring that they were not forgotten. And museum visitors, students in particular, will be assured of seeing rare animals of varying species presented in a lifelike form. www. mag.com achievers 11
  12. 12. In 2006, he approached Maharashtra Forest Department to allow him to practise his art to preserve those animals that died. In 2008, when he was given that permission, he became India’s lone practising taxidermist. In 2009, Mumbai’s Sanjay Gandhi National Park built a special taxidermy centre for him. Over the years, he has preserved the head of an elephant (and he hopes to do a full sized elephant one day - a challenging task for him), a rare Siberian tiger (the last Siberian Tiger of India, from Nainital Zoo), a rare Indian narrow headed soft-shelled turtle, leopards, snakes and many other animals. Taxidermy as an art requires knowledge of three fields: anatomy, sculpture and painting. As a veterinarian Dr. Gaikwad had already studied the first, and was a capable artist and painter. However, to become more proficient he practised painting by befriending young painters from JJ School of Art. He also visited sculpting artists during Ganesh Chaturthi festival preparations to learn sculpting in detail. The biggest hurdle for someone interested in this field remains the lack of a structured course in Indian universities. But Dr. Gaikwad proved that if a person wishes to pursue taxidermy this need not be a deterrent. One can be self- taught, and with the guidance and experience of others, follow in the footsteps of India’s lone taxidermist. Dr. Gaikwad with India’s Last Siberian Tiger (Copyrights TV9 Gujarat) www. mag.com achievers 12
  13. 13. uttarakhand and the animals Raghav Gautam The Uttarakhand floods ravaged lives and property. Across the world people expressed their concern about the disaster and the number of people missing. In the aftermath, governments and organizations received blame for poor action, and rescue workers and the military were praised for their brilliant rescue operations. However, the media paid little notice and hardly reported on the condition of animals affected by the floods. Mulesandhorsesarethemodeoftransportation for tourists and pilgrims on the 10km uphill stretch en route from Gaurikund to the holy site of Kedarnath. There were about 12,000 mules working in the area when tragedy struck (4,500 is the permissible limit!). While uninjured animals with their owners were moved to safety, many animals that were injured and ill were left stranded. Few organizations respond when events such as the Uttarakhand disaster occur. But People for Animal Welfare (PFA), headed by Maneka Gandhi, is one organization that became involvedinrescuingandlookingaftertheinjured animals. In association with Humane Society International, they formed a 9-member team consisting of one equine specialist veterinarian, two para-vets, one disaster management specialist, one Alpine specialist, among other experts, to visit Gaurikund and other places. These animal rescue personnel carried basic vaccines and antibiotics for the animals and themselves, very little food (lack of space) and some SIM cards. Apart from saving mules and horses and other livestock and domestic animals, PFA contributed in raising the Government’s awareness and urging them to send fodder for the stranded animals. Wildlife SOS, parent NGO of Bannerghatta Bear Rescue Center (BBRC) and Friendicoes Seca a Delhi based NGO were involved in the rescue of a mule from a rocky stream bed in Sonaprayag. Equine specialist Akhilesh of Friendicoes SECA, who also led the operation, explained that they tranquilized the mule and had it airlifted by helicopter then taken to the shelter. Just one example of a successful rescue. Help Animals India and AWBI are two other organizations that assisted in the rescue and care of the stranded animals. Government efforts at rescuing the animals may also have been hastened by reports of mule owners announcing a fast until death. Although the situation isn’t good even now, at least efforts have been made by various organizations, people have raised their voices in protest, and the Government has taken notice. Here are the links for the organizations named in this article. www. mag.com invincibles 13
  14. 14. our favourite animal Fishes Fishes always held a fascination for me. I remember in my childhood, when like any other child I would resist having a haircut, the aquarium in the barbershop would help to take my focus away from the hair cutting activity. I used to wonder what fishes thought while swimming, and especially about being kept in a glass container. Someday just out of curiosity, I would like to own two or three fishes in an aquarium and thereby try to figure out whether having them as pets is a good idea or not. Aman Arora Fishes Fishes always held a fascination for me. I remember in my childhood, when like any other child I would resist having a haircut, the aquarium in the barbershop would help to take my focus away from the hair cutting activity. I used to wonder what fishes thought while swimming, and especially about being kept in a glass container. Someday just out of curiosity, I would like to own two or three fishes in an aquarium and thereby try to figure out whether having them as pets is a good idea or not. Aman Arora Farfalle (Butterflies) As a child I loved chasing butterflies, but with no intention of catching them. These pretty, coloured insects charmed me with their ceaseless fluttering, resting for a second or two on one flower and then darting off to taste the nectar of another. It made me exceedingly happy to watch their lively play among the flowers. But in my country, over the past years, due to environmental changes or fewer gardens, butterflies have become scarce. So now, when a butterfly graces my outdoor space with its beauty, I gasp with delight and with quiet breath I stay still, only following it with my eyes and letting it illu- minate my soul with its presence. Fazeela Mollick Farfalle (Butterflies) As a child I loved chasing butterflies, but with no intention of catching them. These pretty, coloured insects charmed me with their ceaseless fluttering, resting for a second or two on one flower and then darting off to taste the nectar of another. It made me exceedingly happy to watch their lively play among the flowers. But in my country, over the past years, due to environmental changes or fewer gardens, butterflies have become scarce. So now, when a butterfly graces my outdoor space with its beauty, I gasp with delight and with quiet breath I stay still, only following it with my eyes and letting it illu- minate my soul with its presence. Fazeela Mollick Rabbits There are some things in life that make us smile. Although they don’t belong to us, we want to create a world for them in our own world. The sweet, little, white furry car- rot-lovers make me feel the same. I just wish I could have a small garden where there are two rabbits playing together and spreading smiles in my world. It’ll be like a mini natural habitat for them. I don’t plan to obstruct them. I don’t plan to restrict their movements because they are best when free to roam, uninhibited, in a space of their own. Raghav Gautam Rabbits There are some things in life that make us smile. Although they don’t belong to us, we want to create a world for them in our own world. The sweet, little, white furry car- rot-lovers make me feel the same. I just wish I could have a small garden where there are two rabbits playing together and spreading smiles in my world. It’ll be like a mini natural habitat for them. I don’t plan to obstruct them. I don’t plan to restrict their movements because they are best when free to roam, uninhibited, in a space of their own. Raghav Gautam Dolphins I have always had this dream of swimming with dolphins. Ever since I was a child, I had a fascination for these big creatures. I was amazed that even though they are of such a big size, they are such calm creatures. They are very loving by nature, and through their interaction with human beings over the years, both dolphins and humans have learned much from each other. Dolphins are often regarded as one of earth’s most intelli- gent animals. They are very receptive and can learn and adapt very quickly. Though it’s not yet proven and the research is still ongoing, it’s been said that dolphins help in curing mild depression. One day, hopefully, I’ll be swimming with these creatures somewhere in the islands of the Caribbean. Tauseef Ahmed Dolphins I have always had this dream of swimming with dolphins. Ever since I was a child, I had a fascination for these big creatures. I was amazed that even though they are of such a big size, they are such calm creatures. They are very loving by nature, and through their interaction with human beings over the years, both dolphins and humans have learned much from each other. Dolphins are often regarded as one of earth’s most intelli- gent animals. They are very receptive and can learn and adapt very quickly. Though it’s not yet proven and the research is still ongoing, it’s been said that dolphins help in curing mild depression. One day, hopefully, I’ll be swimming with these creatures somewhere in the islands of the Caribbean. Tauseef Ahmed www. mag.com from the spoorthi team 14
  15. 15. delhi safari: ride with caution Raghav Gautam Nikhil Advani has an interesting history with films like Kal Ho Na Ho, which was hugely appreciated, and then three big flops, Chandni Chowk to China, Patiala House, and Salaam-e-Ishq. This time, he went 3D - both the animated 3D and the stereoscopic 3D. The film was shortlisted among the best Animated films, for the 2012 Hollywood Oscars which is a huge achievement for an animated film from India. The English ver- sion was among the top 21 animated films for the same year. The storyline is a familiar concept, people are afraid of being killed by terrorist at- tacks. Just one difference, the people are animals; the terrorists are humans burning their homes, killing them, disturbing their natural habitat. The animals appeal to the Government to take action. The film has combined both realistic and cartoon animation. The cartoonish effect is well done and adds a little bit of innocence to the work. The characterization is superb, including the voices used for dubbing. The main characters are: The Leopard Family: A beautiful family probably inspired by true life; it is made in India to suit India. The voices are Sunil Shetty, Urmila Mantodkar, and Swini Khara. The father leopard, voiced by Sunil Shetty, is impressive in his short stay, espe- cially since he is not known for this kind of dialogue delivery. Delhi Safari was touted as Urmila Mantodkar’s comeback film of sorts. Good luck to her, she did the dubbing with poise. Swini Khara, I do not know who this kid is, but he did a terrific job. His voice is so cute and innocent with a lot of truth and conviction. For me, he was the best charac- ter in the Leopard family. There was a slight problem with the lip- sync. I guess it has to do with the shape of a leopard’s mouth and to alter the shape may not have been wise. In addition, the Begum’s model had a lump in front of the body, perhaps to show the model was a fe- male, but that could have been done anoth- er way. The Bear: Dubbed by Boman Irani in his own distinctive style, using Hinglish, and lots of attitude. It is a brilliant dubbing, giv- ing a distinct identity to the character. No real complaints with anything in its charac- terization, or any other work related to the 3D animation. The body language and the postures were especially good. The Parrot: Akshaye Khanna delivered an awesome performance. The 3D work was good. However there was a problem with the concept. In many scenes the parrot could have flown away in a different di- rection sometimes to avoid the bees and sometimes to avoid the company of other animals that he despised. Anyway, for most of the film, he is shown to be averse to animals. I did not understand why in the whole film he was walking more than www. mag.com fulfilling art 15
  16. 16. flying. Is a parrot not a bird? The climax scene stands out where Alex the Parrot gives a heart-warming speech in a comic style. The Monkey: 3D work here was good; the energy that a monkey will usually reflect is brilliantly shown. I was impressed with Govinda as the voice of the monkey, Bajran- gi. Even after seeing the trailers, I could not have imagined Bajrangi having any other voice. This was the best character in the film for me because the energy of the character and the voice-over artist matched to perfection. The accent he used was brilliant. The Sets and Miscellaneous Cast: The sets were good for the most part like a cartoon, but some places they were giving a 2D look, to explain in easy terms - the look was a little flatter - especially some trees. Being a stereoscopic 3D, it made them worse. Some scenes, on the other hand, looked brilliant such as the scene where a bulldozer is used in the destruction of the jungle. The desert scenes and the Rajasthani swans were incredible and I enjoyed the scene with the tortoise. The music by Shankar-Ehsan-Loy (S-E-L) was situational, and has little appeal for listeners in general. Usually with S-E-L, the songs can be appreciated whether you watch the film or not; but that is not the case here. Probably a couple of songs can be used by animal rights activists. The “choreography” on a few of the songs was fascinating, such as the one where the bat is describing the way to Delhi. This was done using 2D animation style and probably also paper cut animation. The song filmed at Kutch is worthy of a special mention, and the “choreography” is also brilliantly exe- cuted. Stereoscopy is good, and it had to be. The reason being the film was totally animat- ed, and nowadays it is easy to set up stereo cameras and manoeuvre them. In live-ac- tion films this is not the case. Finally, I will say Delhi Safari is the best 3D animated film to come out of India, and a film we can all be proud of. In addition, we can listen to the plea of the animals as conveyed through this film. Imagine the trauma you’ll feel if someone burns your home and you have to build a new one! A Still from the Film: Destruction of the Jungle. www. mag.com fulfilling art 16
  17. 17. volume 03: we are animals after all Aman Arora After winning the annual elections the first thing on the agenda for Titu the tiger and his party was to find a better name for their leader. Titu was a seriously funny name, too undignified for the king of Junglenagar. When this news flashed on Jungle TV, Deeku Cheeku, the mixed offspring of father deer and mother cheetah who helped Titu in winning the elections, bent his head in remorse. “Bunch of jokers all these politicians.” Meanwhile, in Sector 2 Junglenagar, Hulku the horse, after receiving foreign education from a university in Forest City, far across two oceans, returned to Junglenagar. He received a mixed welcome. While most were happy that he was returning after four years havingachievedhisgoal,hisowncommunity rejected him for not joining the army and for choosing an inappropriate career. “A horse becoming a software engineer? That is the utmost disgrace for our community!” declared the elders. As tradition dictated, the male horses had to join the army. The females were there to look pretty and spend time gossiping but they were allowed to study medicine and sociology. They were also expected to perform community services like helping others in need, fetching water from the river (when the Municipal cooperation of Junglenagar did not cooperate) and other such jobs. Hulku, however, was more interested in science than serving in the army, and so when he was 9 years he ran away from home to fulfill his dream. After completing his studies he got a job with techno-giant Macrohard. While he was away, Hulku’s father had died in a war. His elderly mother and other family members greeted Hulku with love and pride on his return. After a few days he met Harriet, the love of his life since childhood. She was working as a nurse in a private hospital. Hulku visited her there. She looked perfect; her aura still attracted him, her smile was beautiful. But when Harriet spotted Hulku her smile vanished and she turned away from him. Hulku understood her reaction. He had run away without informing her. He also understood that it would now take him more time to win her attention than when they were young. He approached Harriet and said “Aren’t you happy to see the hot stallion back in the Jungle?” “Happy is not the word I was thinking.” “Then what is it? Horny?” “That’s what you males do, of all species! I read in the Humans special of an online magazine, that men have only two emotions, hungry and horny.” “And what is this pretty mare in front of me feeling?” “To get away from you.” www. mag.com modern day fables: Junglenagar 17
  18. 18. “Why am I a problem? We were such good friends. I am sorry for running away so hurriedly, but it was important.” “What was important? Becoming a software engineer and disgracing your family? Do you know what comments they had to hear? Your poor old mother! The community has branded you as a traitor, and a coward.” “They do not matter to me. What do you think about me?” “What you do you think that I think? You were the leanest and weakest horse at school, came last at races and bunked gym classes for stupid reasons. I still love you, and I didn’t expect you to run away like that.” “I am not weak. I am just less athletic, which is why I chose a career where I didn’t have to do physical fitness.” “It is not about being athletic. There are horseswithoneleginjuredorbackproblems, but they serve in the army because they have the courage to fight!” “I have courage to fight too, but I do not believe in wars. I always told you that I was against them. Wars just bring the opposite of peace.” “You are just giving excuses because you do not have the courage to join the army. You, mister, are a coward!” She then left him, heartbroken. He was sad notbecauseshehadturnedaway,butbecause she did not understand him and did not respect his ambitions. He kept walking in her direction, thinking about how to convince her. Suddenly, he got an ALERT on his S4. It was an application designed to detect the presence of humans. The only reason why humans invaded Sector 2, Junglenagar was to catch hold of horses, not to kill them, but to domesticate them, which was worse than killing. He had heard several stories over the years about how humans ill-treated horses, working them more than what they could stand and not feeding them enough. He switched the mode of the application to “advanced” and found out that humans were coming from the direction in which he and Harriet were going, and Harriet was a mile ahead of him! He ran to protect her, but it was too late. The humans had captured Harriet in their net, and before he could do anything, they shot her in the legs to make sure she didn’t run away. Hulku helplessly watched this hostility unfolding before him. There was no time to think, he had to act quickly. He galloped towards the four humans as swiftly as he could and with all the strength he could muster. They were so scared that they started to run. The one with the rifle shot at him, but he and his rifle were soon separated. In the face of Hulku’s fierce attack, they ran away. Harriet lay there, unconscious, injured and traumatised after the incident. Hulku was himself in pain. A bullet had hit him in the neck. Despite the excruciating pain, he managed to carry Harriet to the hospital 6 miles away. When Harriet regained consciousness, she found herself in the hospital stable. As soon as her mind allowed her to remember what happened, she signaled the hospital staff to bring Hulku in to see her. She struggled to thank him. Hulku looked at her, smiled and said, “Courage is not about fighting wars, but courage is in saving others. I would not have been a good army horse because I didn’t want to be one. I wanted to be a software engineer and I am good at that. I don’t know why we have these stupid traditions in Junglenagar - each animal must have a pre-decided goal, a blue print for his whole life. We should have the freedom to choose our path. After all, we are not humans, we are animals.” Harriet smiled at Hulku and they hugged. At last peace was restored between them. www. mag.com modern day fables: Junglenagar 18
  19. 19. finding the right flow Pranjal Malav Most of you have probably read this beautiful sto- ry, but if you haven’t, I’d like to share it with you. Once there was a group of monks passing a road after it had stopped raining. A beautiful young girl was standing at the side of the road and didn’t cross because there was a pothole full of mud and she was scared that her dress would get spoiled. So one of the eldest and the most respected monks picked her up in his arms and put her on the other side of the pothole. One of the youngest monks, who was quite rigid about his principles, was astonished to see this act and couldn’t sleep that night. Next day when they reached the monastery he went to the Master and told him what a horrible thing the elder monk had done and asked the Master to act upon it. The Master replied with utmost calmness “He picked that girl up and took her across but you, my dear student, have been carrying her with yourself in your mind and even brought her here.” Having only beliefs and principles will not make us holy and spiritual, these must combine with good thoughts and intentions followed by action. The only thing stopping us from flowing calmly in the beauti- ful river of joy and harmony of spirit is our negative thoughts and the worries regarding the consequenc- es. We waste too much time wondering about what other people think, so much so that we start to judge ourselves based on the opinions of others, which disrupts the whole process of spiritual elevation. In one of my previous articles, I wrote that the invisible shackles are evident everywhere, but underestimat- ing their power to bind us is unwise. If we let them, they’ll chain us to the worries of life forever. We must break those shackles by creating a positive aura for ourselves. We must welcome change and not get accustomed to our comfort zone; we must break free from it and a blissful life will be ours. Of course, you ask me, if it were all so easy then why are some people not able to absorb any positivity at all. I just have one answer. Their souls are young and they have a lot to learn, wisdom comes with age, whether it’s of the mind or the soul. Our mind continuously struggles with unresolved issues and the most important time when it deals with them is when we sleep, via dreams. If your Chi gets acti- vated you can have nightmares and dreams so vivid and real you might think you’re going crazy. But it’s just a way of resolving issues, not just of this life, but previous lives too as we have all gathered our share of traumatic experiences that we were unable to resolve in our previous lives. The mind starts accepting the flow of the universe and slowly the resistance be- comes futile and ceases. Then you might not think twice before climbing a mountain, or swimming in the sea or maybe playing an instrument because the mind wants to have a feeling of satisfaction, to progress, to be able to show its miraculous potential. It’s all about doing one different thing (positive and satisfactory) every day to enrich our mind. The only thing permanent is change so why not accept it and let our souls be at peace? I greatly admire these pro- found lines by Swami Vivekananda. “The will is not free – it is a phenomenon bound by cause and effect – but there is behind the will which is free.” What he means is for you to discover! If you’ve al- ready discovered and experienced that freedom then you’re at peace. www. mag.com youth and spirituality 19
  20. 20. music as a profession Sameer Havaldar During my college days my Professor used to tell me, “Sameer,therewasatimewhenpeopleaskedaquestion to primary school teachers and journalists who were married. I know you are a teacher (or journalist), but what do you do for your livelihood?” Those were the times when these were not well-paid jobs and for many, this is still the case. In fact, teaching and journalism were not even considered as professions. Music falls into the same category. Musicians are still asked, “What do you do for your livelihood?” Furthermore, they are constantly told that singing or playing an instrument does not fill their stomach, that they should get a proper job and that they should at least think of their family’s welfare. Why do such questions and concerns arise? Mostprofessionalorfulltimemusiciansarecompletely focused on their music. Their routine consists of practicing (riyaaz) in their homes; participating in public concerts; hosting bhaitaks at their homes for a select audience; making recordings and going on concert tours. For people who regularly attend the bhaitaks, it may appear that the musicians spend most of their time at home, so it is quite natural for them to assume that musicians are not earning much income. But in the musical profession practice is a necessity and to become the best at what they do, musicians must constantly practise. Spending time at home in hours of practice shows dedication and commitment to their art. In the IPL there is a competition called the Super Sixes. The batsman who hits the furthest six will get Rs. 2lakh. However, the 6 hit during that competition doesn’t have the same significance as it does in the context of a match. A single run in a crunch situation in a match has more value than a Super Six. Still, that one huge hit for 6 earns the batsman more money than the match fee. In the classical music fraternity, many maestros, with a few exceptions, didn’t even know that it was possible to receive a good fee for their “Super 6” performances. Times have changed. Now music is regarded as a full time profession. One can sing, play an instrument, compose music/songs and earn a good income for those efforts. Music has also found a way to reach many people. There were times when a classical music concert will go on for 6 - 7 hours. It was reduced to 3 - 4 hours. Now it has been reduced even further to 1 1/2 – 2 hours. It is even less than a T20 match! Previously, audiences were treated only classical music, folk music and natya sangeet. Now, at concerts, one can listen to many genres of music - devotional, folk, classical, patriotic, light music, ghazals, instrumental and so on. Among the Western-style forms of music there is classical, rock music, jazz, pop, heavy metal, death metal, and progressive (musical genres that are open- minded enough to include new sounds). Then there’s the melding of music called fusion, a musical process that merges 2 or more genres, or musical rhythms from different countries. Artistes around the world also perform with each other to create and present a unique harmony and rhythm - a musical fusion. These days there are many opportunities to learn, explore and develop one’s musical talent. In the music industry there are many options to interest and attract any musician and/or performer. Music is no longer a hobby, an activity that takes second place after a day job. There are lots of youngsters who believe a career in music is serious business. Furthermore, music inspires movement, and evokes moods and emotions including joy, and spreading joy through music is a service to mankind. As William Congreve, the English playwright, said, “Music has charms to soothe a savage breast.” www. mag.com musical healing 20
  21. 21. the charms of london Fazeela Mollick A 10-hour flight had taken its toll on me. I could hardly keep my eyes open as the monuments and buildings of the city of London swept past me. I was sitting atop a double-decker bus on a fine summer’s day only a couple hours after landing at Heathrow Airport. I felt my husband’s hand shaking me excitedly at intervals, and calling out the names of the sites, but to no avail, my spirit was willing but my eyes were not cooperating. But the next day, after a good night’s rest, I was ready for London and all that it promised. Since that episode, which occurred on my first visit, I’ve made several short and long trips to London and my eyes remained open for all activities! Madame Tussaud’s wax museum and the adjacent Planetarium, London Bridge, The Tower of Lon- don where many famous beheadings took place and where the Royal Jewels are housed, the British Museum and the British Library, the Museum of Natural History with its stunning Dinosaur gallery and the Trocadero entertainment centre are only a few of the attractions I experienced in London. As a book lover, I could not resist the well-known book paradise called Foyles founded in 1903 and situated in Charing Cross Road. Overwhelmed and confused, that’s how I felt on entering this shop where books spilled out from every bit of space. There were limitless choices and too little space in my suitcase, so I left Foyles with fewer books than I wished to purchase. Britain is known for its roses. The climate produces roses as large as cabbages! And what better place to view an extensive variety of roses and other flow- ering plants and shrubs than at the Royal Horticul- tural Society’s Chelsea Flower Show, an event that’s held in late May every year. The entrance fee is a bit expensive but fortunately, on the last day of the show, there was an offer of half price on tickets. My daughter and I had a wonderful time looking at the floral exhibits, especially the one from Trinidad that won a Gold medal for best in its category. When we’d exhausted our round of exhibits, which includ- ed show gardens, we had tea and sandwiches, seated on the lawn of the Chelsea Hospital grounds where the show is held. It’s impossible to visit London without attendia play at a theatre in London’s West End. Among the plays I’ve seen is The Mousetrap by mystery writer, Agatha Christie staged at St Martin’s Theatre. This play is in its 61st year and is the longest running show of any kind. More recently, at the Prince of Wales theatre I saw the stage musical Mamma Mia! which is based on the songs of the popular Swedish group, ABBA. What a memorable evening that was! A man seated next to me said he saw it 5 times. the Garden Café at the Victoria and Albert Museum www. mag.com memorable journeys 21
  22. 22. Most people hardly moved a muscle for the entire performance, but I could not help tapping my feet, and dancing in my seat as I heard the familiar music and lyrics. After the performance ended and the actors took their final bow, they invited the audi- ence to sing 3 songs with them. Everyone stood up and joined in, clapping and singing together with the cast. I left the theatre with the happy strains of Dancing Queen in my ear. Like any big metropolis, food is readily available and there are restaurants to suit every pocket and taste. The typical British dish of fish and chips is served with salt and vinegar and is not for the palate accustomed to well-seasoned food, but tourists will have it at least once, as I did. For a healthy sand- wich, a fresh salad, a fruit juice or a warm beverage at a reasonable price, the Prêt à Manger chain offers choice and quick service. It was in London that I first tasted authentic Indian cuisine. Not at the famous Veeraswamy on Regent’s Street – the United Kingdome’s oldest Indian restaurant - but at a small restaurant in Central London, the name of which I cannot remember. Since that time I’ve been a fan of biryani, pulao, Vindaloo and other curries, papad, chutneys, naan, lassi, kulfi, rasgula, in fact, Indian food on the whole! At Masala Lounge, a restaurant in Winchmore Hill, the Vindaloo I ordered was the hottest I’ve ever eaten. Beads of perspiration broke out on my forehead and nose, and my tongue burned but I persevered. Kulfi for dessert was most welcome! Even at museums the hungry visitor can buy food. After a 3-hour tour, I was happy to sit in the Garden Café in the inner courtyard of the Victoria and Al- bert Museum and lunch on a tuna sandwich, a pack of healthy potato crisps (that’s the British term for potato chips) and a cup of hot tea. The cool summer air, little children frolicking in the wading pool, the flowers and shrubs that adorned the area all made for a very relaxing lunch. Getting about London is easy. Londoners often complain about the Underground Train System – the Tube - but I’ve found that it’s never failed me. The Tube map is uncomplicated and once you know your destination, the journey can be worked out quickly. Other modes of transport are buses and trams and these run frequently and on time. And then there are the iconic Black Taxis that ply the streets of this great city, only to be used if you have lots of GBP (pound sterling) to spare! Walking is an option that I favour when I’m in Lon- don. It allows me the leisure to browse bookshops, sit in parks, gaze at the shop windows, be amidst the colour and energy of the crowds, and hear the blend of voices, accents and languages. Stories have played out in front my eyes –families unable to decide if they should go left or right, lovers holding hands, uncaring where their steps may lead, and friends laughing, talking, saying hello and goodbye. And there’s the pleasure of walking along Carnaby Street, a pedestrian street in Soho – no cars allowed. This street was a major part of the London scene of the 60s. Today, famous fashion designers have shops there, and independent boutiques market their unique styles. It’s on Carnaby Street that the movie character Austin Powers had his flat, and in the film Bend it like Beckham, Jess and Jules shop for foot- ball boots at the famous store, Soccer Scene, located at the end of the street. The BBC World Service has a segment named “Lon- don Calling”. It’s precisely how I felt while writing this piece. And I would like to heed the summons soon, very soon. In this pic there’s a view of Soccer Scene to the right www. mag.com memorable journeys 22
  23. 23. being and healing with horses Fazeela Mollick Up close horses are not intimidating but quite gen- tle animals. They are patient creatures and when treated kindly will be responsive and cooperate with their riders. My second encounter with horses took place one hot, sunny afternoon while on vacation in Tobago. The owner of a black beauty of a mare named Kalakunjin gave me some cat food to feed her. It was a strange feeling, having an animal eat from my hand. I felt her teeth and her tongue as she very eagerly gobbled up the food I held out to her. Kalakunjin is one of 6 horses in the herd owned by Veronika Danzer La Fortune and her husband, Lennon. Veronika, a German equestrian, together with Len- non, a Trinidadian, founded the non-profit organi- zation “Healing with Horses”. These horses are the means by which the organization fulfills its mission, that of “Creating an integrated, inspiring space for differently abled children where they are em- braced and empowered to realize their full potential through therapeutic interactions” Veronika explained that the children bond with the horses quite easily. They are encouraged to touch, talk to, ride and look after the horses. Through their interaction with the horses and fostered by the guidance of the La Fortunes, the children’s self-es- teem and confidence improves. They begin to believe in themselves and their abilities. The Foun- dation has its home in the seaside village of Buccoo and throughout the village Veronika and Lennon are well known for the work they do with the chil- dren who live there. When I met Veronika, the first thing that struck me was her smiling face and her kind and welcoming demeanour. And as she introduced the horses, her love for these animals shone on her face. I observed Lennon as he welcomed two little girls, ages 4 and 6 who appeared to be regulars at the stables during their vacation, and knew the horses and which ones they wanted to ride. He attended to their needs, ensuring they were safely outfitted for their ride and helped them to mount their horses. He treated the little girls like a father would his daughters. These two exceptional persons have combined their talents to provide children between the ages of 6-12 “from different backgrounds, with varying physical abilities and of different nationalities” a place for “therapy and creative play”. And every day, there are after-school activities for the children from Buc- coo Village and surrounding areas. These activities include arts and crafts, music, dance, yoga, nature walks and gardening, sports and the therapeutic benefits of being with horses. Jennifer and her daughter Princess Julie www. mag.com from across two oceans 23
  24. 24. Veronika and Lennon also offer the public through their website http://www.being-with-horses.com/ the opportunity to book time for a swim/ride, a trail ride, swimming (on horseback), or riding lessons and more. Two members of my family booked a swim/ride for that sunny afternoon and the rest of us followed on foot to the beach where we cooled ourselves in the waters of Buccoo Bay until the session ended. I was impressed that the horses were not burdened with heavy saddles, and there were no bits in their mouths. They are ridden bareback, with bare feet, (riders are asked to remove their shoes) and bit-less bridles are used. Before the ride began, Veronika introduced the guests to the horses, related their stories, and how they came to be at the stables. The guests were then invited to each choose their horse. She advised them that they should speak to their horse in gentle, quiet tones and to move and sway with the motion of their horse. And finally to get the horse on the way, say to him or her, “Walk on!” Here are some brief descriptions of the herd taken from the HWH Foundation’s website http://heal- ing-with-horses.com/ Jennifer: The first horse in HWH’s stable is a sensi- tive and calm chestnut mare from Speyside, Tobago who lived in a rainforest. She is mother to Princess Julie. Princess Julie: Born on the grounds of the HWH, Princess Julie is the youngest member of the herd. Julie loves to nibble on leftovers and is nicknamed Vacuum Cleaner. Her favourite place is the beach. Kalakunji: A black beauty and the only horse of her kind in Tobago. Her name means black secret gar- den. Kalakunji is everyone’s favourite mare and she walks with pride and confidence. Mr Divo: He loves to flirt and show off. He’s the tallest of the herd and an amazing swimmer. His nickname is Mr Handsome. Shawari: His name means “The Protector. He’s the bravest and the leader of the herd. He is brother to Kalakunji. Shawari loves to dance in the rain and his girlfriend is Jennifer. Zimbu: A gentle and loving big white horse, Zimbu is from Brazil and is named after a small island off the coast of Brazil. If your footsteps happen to take you to Tobago, please take the opportunity to contact the Founda- tion and see the work they’re doing, and if you have time, book a ride with Veronika and Lennon. Leaving the stables for a swim/ride. www. mag.com from across two oceans 24
  25. 25. hope lives Neelanjan Mitra Honour for those Who have success and fame, Claim time as coach And life a successful game. Masters of destiny, They call themselves to be. “Nothing is beyond control, If a man tries it to be.” The world sings their glory, And drinks to their name. Subjects are written To follow these paths of fame. Lost in such glorious sky, Remain thousand eclipsed stars. The world has forgotten them, No one ever bids them goodbye. Their effort was no less Than thousands who glitter, Still they faced the hardest life, A taste we call bitter. Today they sit in a corner Amidst the clouded ocean of despair, Men pass them as someone insignificant And call them dejected mares. Only a little boy Out of their dreams, Visits them at dawn. Listens to their screams. Surprised, distracted, They ask him his name “Who are you?” “Why have you come?” Answers the little one, To faces full of shame. “I am with everyone, And hope is my name.” www. mag.com ageless verses 25
  26. 26. kites Raghav Gautam July 30th 2008 An excited 10-year old goes up to the terrace with his father who had bought him a kite. He is overjoyed. “Papa I will fly the kite naa?” “Yes,you wil.”’ “I like to see kites floating in the air as if dancing to a tune, will my kite also dance?” ‘”As much as you want.” His father does the preliminary job by launching the kite and flying it so that it reaches the height in the sky where there’s less traffic from the competitor kites. His son doesn’t like fighting, even with the kites. He just wants to let his kite dance as he directs it with his hand. He’s overjoyed, he feels at peace and is enjoying the experience, when another kite suddenly zooms near his kite. His hand feels a release of pressure. ‘”Aibo Kaate!” is heard in the background. The son starts to cry. He didn’t want any violence up there in sky. And now he’d lost his precious Tri-color kite. “Can you teach me how to cut all those flying kites?” “I can just buy another one for you.” “No, it will be destroyed again unless I try to remove those who come in my way!” “You will learn that with time, son.” July 30th 2008 An excited 10-year old goes up to the terrace with his father who had bought him a kite. He is overjoyed. “Papa I will fly the kite naa?” “Yes,you wil.”’ “I like to see kites floating in the air as if dancing to a tune, will my kite also dance?” ‘”As much as you want.” His father does the preliminary job by launching the kite and flying it so that it reaches the height in the sky where there’s less traffic from the competitor kites. His son doesn’t like fighting, even with the kites. He just wants to let his kite dance as he directs it with his hand. He’s overjoyed, he feels at peace and is enjoying the experience, when another kite suddenly zooms near his kite. His hand feels a release of pressure. ‘”Aibo Kaate!” is heard in the background. The son starts to cry. He didn’t want any violence up there in sky. And now he’d lost his precious Tri-color kite. “Can you teach me how to cut all those flying kites?” “I can just buy another one for you.” “No, it will be destroyed again unless I try to remove those who come in my way!” “You will learn that with time, son.” www. mag.com Just a tale 26
  27. 27. a vivacious momos waala Purnank Kaul A Vivacious Momos-wala After an exhausting class or on a low budget date with your girlfriend, making a stop at a “momos point” to grab a plate of your favorite momos seems like a perfect choice. At almost every corner, the scene will be the same. There will be a North Eastern guy (not Nepalese or Chinese) with a funky hairstyle standing in the stall multi-tasking like a pro, spreading mayonnaise on momos and simultaneously serving a plate to a starving customer. Talented! But how often do we look beyond that delicious plate of momos and spare a thought for the one who made them? Vishal Pardan, a gregarious teenage boy, who sets up his stall of momos every day in a secluded corner of Subhash Nagar earns enough to keep a shelter above his head; sufficient food in his stomach and water to wash it down. In a candid conversation with him I learned his sad story, only slightly masked behind that over-joyous face. “I don’t know when I was born but I think I am 14,” he innocently replied when asked about his birth year. In a culture where birthdays are lavishly celebrated; where teenagers spend thousands on their “special day”, how strange and painful it is to meet someone who has no knowledge of the date and year of his birth. Born in the enchanting surroundings of Darjeeling, Vishal’s life was not always about making and selling momos. “My parents left me; I have never seen their faces. I had a brother but he ran away in search of work. He too left me behind.” Then he added, “The only support was my naani (grandmother) but she died few months back due to gutkha.” She was possibly a victim of oral cancer. (Isn’t there anyone who takes government advertisements and campaigns seriously?) He continued, “Initially, I used to work in a circus.Idon’tknowhowIlandeduptherebut people working in that circus told me that I was sold to that company.” The moment he uttered, “sold” I shivered and the dark reality of human trafficking and child labour left me speechless. “I ran away from there and came to Siliguri and worked as a waiter in a hotel. I think I was 10 years old then.” I was curious how he ended up in Delhi after the circus. But there was more to come. “I went home after some time, to stay with my naani. But I had no money and naani was too old to work. For months, we failed to pay our rent. So, they threw us out.” His voice became feeble but he kept on talking. “There was a time when I used to sleep on footpaths and nobody gave me a single rupee. For a meal, I used to eat salt and red chilies with some water. That was the time when my naani died.” The pain of losing the only person you had in your life, at such a tender age, is beyond the capability of mere words to explain so I will not even dare to try. “I had to do something to get money. So, like many others, I too used to pick up the empty bullet shells on the streets left by Army www. mag.com people next door 27
  28. 28. soldiers, and sell them to shopkeepers.” He successfully stunned me again. Little did he know that this desperate act to earn money and feed himself could have had brought him more trouble. “I have got a childhood friend from my village; he is now the only person who I can call my own. Once we went together to Gangtok in search of work. We used to babysit at some places. But he didn’t like it so he went to Delhi and I was stuck there alone. Few months later he asked me to come to Delhi and work with him.” It seemed like his story was getting on track. “I joined him in Delhi and started working for a family who runs momos-centers at different places. Till date, they are the only set of good people that I came across.” As his story approached the end there was calmness and more stability in his speech. When asked about his future plans, unlike some of us, he was quite clear, “I get 2500 every month for my work. It’s not much.” Then he added. “After I have collected enough, I will purchase land and do farming there.” Lastly, when I asked if he missed his village or not, he softly answered, “I want to go home but I don’t know where it really is.” www. mag.com people next door 28
  29. 29. Photos by Gaurav Karve Contact: karveagaurav@gmail.com www. mag.com picture Power 29
  30. 30. Photos: a,f: Abdullah Mohammed b,c,d: Fazeela Mollick (fmollick@Gmail.com) e: Bimal Thongam (bimalphotography@gmail. com) aa b c www. mag.com picture Power 30
  31. 31. no fretting, wonderful petting Ananya Bhatia Have you and your dog ever felt the need to unwind? To chill out? Well then, show your dog some love, pamper www. mag.com Any way you take it, comfort has four legs. It could be a chair, a bed, a couch, and for some, even a dog. The way your dog squeals and jumps on you when he hears the creak of the door that’s opened ever so slightly, that is comfort. The way your dog would understand your unspoken emotions like no other living being, not even a family member, that is comfort. But then again, he is family. Dog lovers who are reading this would definitely understand what I’m talking about . Have you and your dog ever felt the need to unwind? To chill out? Well then, show your dog some love, pamper him with a Dogs’ Day Out. This event “Dogs’ Day Out” is usually held on Sundays so that both the owners and their dogs are in the mood to loosen up and have some fun! The venue, changed often, is usually a farmhouse, a lake or an open field/area where your dog can run about unfettered and without restrictions. It is usually a day of activities galore. Onapersonalnote,IhavefoundDDO(Dogs’ Day Out) unnerving and super-exciting. Unnerving because my dog is usually not friendly at all, and once he starts running about, I’m never sure to how to stop him and I suffer this weird paranoia that he won’t return. Super-exciting because it is fun to see so many dogs “interacting” with each other and playing and having a jolly good time. It is a photographer’s paradise and if you have the urge to do wildlife photography, well, this is the closest to “wildlife” photography you can get without working for Discovery channel or getting yourself killed in your search for wildlife, for that matter. By wild, I mean wild, because at DDO usually a quiet and unfriendly dog like mine can be playful and joyous. Exciting games await both owners and their dogs , like jumping on the rung of the ladder and hide and seek (owner hiding in a basket, calling out to his dog to search for him. The dogs are 99% successful in finding their family!). Swimming is another pleasureable activity for your dog to participate in (I didn’t know that dogs have natural swimming instincts). Watching your dog splashing water all around, racing around with other dogs is the most fun of all; this is probably what makes everyone return to this event, time and again. It’s a happy event, filled with laughter and fun. A wonderful initiative by the founder of Dogs’ Day Out, Mr. Anubhav Saxena, DDO makes you forget your own troubles for a while and just revel in a free and happy atmosphere. A regular member of the DDO club, Mr. Yugank Sachdeva tells us, “It is uncanny how my dog always has the habit of wriggling himself after coming out of the pool so bad that with him I am also drenched. By the time we reach home, we are so exhausted that no one can tell the difference who swam and who didn’t but it’s so wonderful that I won’t miss it for the world. Most importantly, all that exercise does wonders for Cheers who is now six and otherwise super lazy.” (sic) guest column 31
  32. 32. The venues for DDOs are usually a long distance away from the city but if you are lucky, you will always find someone to car pool with you; it’s a great way for you and your dog to make new friends. There is something for everyone at DDO. Simply like the Facebook page for Dogs’ Day Out and wait for updates; coordinate with other members and voila, you could experience a day straight out of a Heavy Pettings’ Episode. As they say, it’s a dog’s world out there but in my opinion their world is better than ours to say the least. As J.K. Rowling says, “Happiness can be found in the times of darkness if only one remembers to turn on the light.” Give it a try, you might never want to go back to your regular Sunday plans ever again. Also, your dog would definitely give you a woof of appreciation for it! There is s o m e t h i n g for everyone at DDO. Simply like the Facebook page for Dogs’ Day Out and wait for updates; c o o r d i n a t e with other members and voila, you could experience a day straight out of a Heavy Pettings’ Episode. www. mag.com guest column 32
  33. 33. Is it justified to use animals for research and testing in the medical field? Yes, I believe it is justified to use animals for research and testing for 2 reasons: 1. We do not have a way to replace them with a machine. 2. If it is about sacrificing a rat or a human, I would prefer a rat. At the same time I will agree that the licenses / permissions for use of animals should be given very cautiously. Attempts have been made to stop the use of animals for experiments by high school graduates (1997-1998) however for advanced research we should use animals. It is a necessary evil; it must be done but we can show respect. In one word, no! It is not even possible to gauge the harassment animals undergo during these tests. Maybe science can measure physical reactions but the mental reactions are beyond comprehension. When “tried and tested” drugs react and give frightening side effects to hu- mans, it’s hard to even think of the amount of pain caused to those who can’t even express themselves. I’m against it. I’m suffering things doctors don’t understand even with FDA approved drugs. Clinical trials are bad. And what makes it even worse for animals is that they can’t express their pain. I think yes it is justified. There are certain rules we need to follow, certain protocols are there. The medical ethics committee has discussed this issue over and over again, but it turns out we don’t have a choice. The Ethics Committee has laid out some rules that prevent irrational use of animals for research purposes. We must follow them. I wish there was an alternative but for the study of viruses animal inoculation techniques are essential, it’s for the good of humanity. This is another form of animal cruelty, totally unjustified and unwarranted. Maybe they should do testing on willing humans and criminals! Shekhar Singh Arun Kumar Rebika Nongmaithem Karthik Kambalimat Jon Mahabir Just as every creature is born only at the will of nature, every creature should die only at the will of nature. No creature is born, or dies against the will of nature. How then do we justify this will of nature when we find scientists using these innocent animals for experiments in medical research? No doubt scientists have made many big discoveries which have helped in curing many deadly diseases like cancer etc., but is it really worth it if we save one creature by killing another innocent creature? Isn’t it like saving my child but killing someone’s innocent child? Besides, botanical science has already identified many medicinal plants as well as the medicinal values in them. It will be more humane, I believe, if scientists can use medicinal plants in their research, and let the life and death of innocent animals be left to the ‘Will of Nature ‘. www. mag.com burning question 33

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