On March 22 the Janta curfew was announced which was followed by a nationwide lockdown. It's September now and we still have to keep ourselves under (self) quarantine. It hasn't been easy especially on our mental health.
For someone who is used to working around the clock (7 days a week), it took a while to get my head around what to do next. Work came to a complete halt. Being a party planner everything which was scheduled for April/May was put on hold and eventually cancelled.
Once the lockdown was announced a little voice in my head popped up that said what about the stray animals, the daily wage workers, street vendors etc. So I got on a small mission to feed 20-30 dogs/cows/monkeys daily with fresh homemade rotis and biscuits which by the end of the week led to feeding overs 100 stray animals in and around my neighbourhood.
I also started distributing food packets to rickshaw pullers/street vendors as an evening snack. Eventually, we started distributing 5 kg packets of flour/rice/oil as they had no daily earnings and it was heartbreaking to see them sit idle all day long just to collect enough money for a meal for their family.
For over 120 days every evening around 4.30, the car gets loaded with food for the needy and the strays including water bowls as some lanes don't even have provision for water in this heat. I didn't miss a single day. Some dogs are extremely weak so I take eggs/paneer for them to try to make their health better.
I even provide medication (after consulting with our vet) for those who have skin rashes/wounds/allergies and thankfully I have been successful in curing some of them, in fact, one of them is still getting treated for a leg injury he had in June.
Initially, the dogs would run away when we would try to feed them or wait for us to leave to eat the food but after three weeks of daily trips, I finally gained their trust. They all come running with so much love and excitement when they hear my car or see me walk down, they anxiously wait for 5 pm - it's a priceless feeling and highly therapeutic. All it takes is so little to spread love and kindness in these tough times.
In fact, some of the regular rickshaw pullers wait for their evening food packets to take it back for their kids, they mentioned that it's all they get to take back every day as they have no riders now. But even during this pandemic, they greet me with the biggest smile and sometimes share their problems too. We've all found a little friend in each other.
So what kept me going in these lockdown times was the evening 4.30-7 pm daily run to feed the needy and strays. On low days, it brightened my spirits and on good days made me feel grateful to be able to help in the smallest way possible to heal this world.
It's been almost six months since the pandemic has hit us and now that the lockdown has been lifted with all of us trying to get our lives back to the new normal, I still feed the dogs 3-4 times a week.
I hope to encourage more and more people to come forward and do whatever little they can - let's all 'Help Heal The World'.
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