By Dr. Kuhu Roy

Instead of six in the morning, Maa’s day began usual than earlier, at five-thirty (we have no help, so we do everything on our own). She had a Court hearing today, pertaining to an eight years old animal cruelty case that she had filed. She left home early, although it was biting cold because she wanted to feed some of her children atleast pre-hearing, be home to change and then head for the Court.   

However, she took longer than normal to return home. In such cases, it always meant something was either wrong or she met some good souls on the way, she gets to meet many of them on the way who wish her, bless her, come to speak for a couple of minutes and make her day. But it was the other way round, as an hour and a half later, she returned with blood red and puffy eyes. She stepped inside home, kept the bag aside, removed her mask and burst into tears. I allowed her to collect herself while I had a lump in my throat not knowing what had gone wrong. Two minutes later she spoke, “You do not know him. He had started to come from past one week, on and off with the Bhagam-Bhag group. I hadn’t even named him yet. Not more than a year old maybe. He was the shade exactly that of Chhutki (fawn) and had black lining in his ears, just like Kaniya. The rare few days we met, he bubbled with energy, just like Zenobia. He was shivering in the cold but joyous at the same time at the prospect of food. I got off the auto and began to prepare their bowls. Then, there was a sudden “wack” sound followed by a blood curdling shriek. He was hit, right infront of my eyes. A tempo ran over him.” I clasped my fingers over my mouth in shock. Maa continued, “He ran a few metres, writhed in pain and fell down. I screamed and rushed after him. But he was gone even before I could put water in his mouth. He was waiting for me, for food, for love and he got death instead. Do you remember a similar incident when Laalu was run down infront of me during the lockdown?” “Hmm…” I just could not say anything else as I was choked up. Deeply dented, an hour later she left for the Court for a new battle.

That child went nameless, his food bowl was ready. If you can feel the pain of his untimely and brutal passing and our trauma, all we can do is to request you to drive a little carefully.

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