Unlike regular days, I woke-up late today (Saturday), at around 8:55 am only to help my wife in her domestic works before she leaves for office. When I went with her till the door to say, ‘bye’, I observed a squab (a baby pigeon) struggling for life on my neighbour’s terrace. We both got shocked, my wife Swati was more than me, yet, she being a medical person had to leave.
I somehow got the hold of this squeaker and started calling for help. I found it had developed fractured in one of its legs. I woke my daughter Anne up and took her help to feed it with water and was able to do so. We decided to take sometime to think of finding ways to help the bird. Then started our efforts to save a life and they were all genuine.
I called some friends, few responded but could not help. Being a journalist, you can not depend or rely on one source. So checked the phone book, found some numbers, they were not working though. In absence of caffeine (in form of coffee which I generally take by 9:30 am.), brain could not give much response to my willingness. However, there were forces helping me to work harder to save the helpless eyes staring at me.
Finally, a help came from a Rajkot based NGO named Animal Helpline. The gentleman on the other hand listened to me patiently and suggested 1962 for medical help. I did and got too. The tele-caller, a woman, registered my complaint, my number (which they anyways had on their dashboard) and the grievances.
Nonetheless, I did not give-up and kept calling people for help. However, none worked.
Finally, against all my assumptions, I received a call from 1962 people, though after 50 minutes. There was a doctor on the other end. I gave my address and they reached (there were two, a doctor and a driver) in an ambulance ( a good big, like 108 ) which grabbed all present’s attention. I was least bothered though as the aim was to get the bird treated. As the doctor was treating, I called Dr. R K Sahu, director of Kankaria/ Kamla Nehru Zoo. He was amazed too and was eager as well to extend his help and he did. He gave me a volunteer’s number, Mohsin Rajpura who runs rehabilitation centre for pegions in Behrampura area.
Mohsin extended his help but by the time he could send his men to pick the bird, it died putting my daughter Anne in shock.
She kept asking me what had happened to it… but I could not say why it died.
Now it was time to bid adieu to the departed soul properly. With a small stick I and my daughter dug a pit of 1 ft, poured salt as suggested by Mohsin, laid the body of the bird and buried it and as my daughter requested we two prayed at that small ‘grave yard’. My son Austin had been to that place repeatedly to see whether the bird’s body had not been in hands of the predators, as he could not help due to his absence.
Why I wrote?
Through this process I faced many problems and troubles today to save a bird, I struggled. Then I thought what would have happened to those medical and para-medicals who did everything they could to save people’s lives during the pandemic? And I realized, if in one pigeon’s baby I got so emotional, how would they have felt dealing with that chaotic circumstances? Don’t you think they deserve respect? Yes, they do.
What is 1962?
1962 is an emergency telephone number which provides veterinary services across states of India-including Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh , Telangana and Tamil Nadu. In Gujarat, the ambulance namely Karuna Animal Ambulance can be called through this number which was launched in 2017 by then chief minister Vijay Rupani. Same service is known as Animal Medical Mobile Ambulance (AMMA) in Tamil Nadu which was launched in 2016 by then chief minister J. Jayalalithaa. In Madhya Pradesh, it is known as Cow Express which was launched by then chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan. (Sources: wikipedia.org)
(Writer, Hemington James is the managing editor of theombudsmanews.com)