When I started this blog, I was stuck on an appropriate blog description for quite some time. Finally after about 2 months it dawned on me, this blog is about telling stories. Stories about people, about situations, about… well me mostly, but that’s hardly the point!
So today I decided to tell someone else’s story. Today I read an article in the Times of India Delhi edition. On page 6 squeezed in a corner poking out innocuously was an article titled: Leopard rescued. Sounds pretty anti-climactic for the way I built it up doesn’t it? Well as I read the headline that exactly what I thought, Big Deal. Upon closer inspection however a name popped out at me, Dr. Prabhakaran and my jaw dropped. So this particular post features someone I truly admire. Someone I’ve known for the past 4 years, and who has more integrity and guts than most anybody I know, Dr. Prabhakaran.
I have an 12 year old Dalmatian, and for the past 4 years or so we have been taking him to Friendicos SECA near Defence Colony flyover, an animal hospital cum shelter, where Dr. Prabhakaran works along with his amazing team. The team at Friendicos workd tirelessly to rescue and house stray dogs, cats, moneys, pigeons and from what I saw today piglets. During my dog’s 3 surgeries and almost daily checkups that followed each time, i can safely say I have spent A LOT of time at Friendicos over the past 4 years. I’ve seen Dr. Prabhakaran come in at 8:30 in the morning and leave at almost the same time each night. The staff is a different story altogether, from long gruelling days spent trying to calm and treat frightened animals, to many a rabies shots after animal bites and night shifts, not to mention the ambulance service, these people are the real supermen and women of Delhi.
I developed a love for all 4 legged creatures young. My sister is an animal rights fanatic (no there really isent another word for it) and living with her definitely turned me into an animal lover if not fanatic. She was known as the dog lady at Tata institute of Social Sciences from where she did her MSW and her chronicles of animal rescue spread far and wide (I have a bedroom wall dedicated to all the animals she rescued and trust me the wall is full. So when we started taking our beloved Jimmy to Friendicos both of us instantly gravitated towards the staff and myriads of stays there. We spent countless afternoons playing with pubs, dogs, cats and such and even more fretting over some or the other particularly bad accident case that was being treated there.
Through it all I rember seeing Dr. Prabhakaran. Calm, dignified and running. Constantly running from the OT to the OPD to the Shelter. He seemed tireless, the passion he has for animals is unmatched. I lived in a house full of animal activists and I had never seen anyone with his kind of passion and dedication for the cause. Where we screamed at people on the roads, in our compound, in our school/college campuses for showing cruelty to animals and lamented about it to no avail, he said nothing. He silently treated all those animals who were victims to the wrath of man. He patched them up and gave them a better life.
The kind of dedication these people have towards the animals at the shelter is amazing. Last year tragedy struck. A bunch of drunken idiots lost control of their car and crashed over the side of the flyover onto the Friendicos Shelter below. The metal cages broke and the cars fall and none of them were seriously hurt, however Friendicos lost many precious things that day. One innocent little pup lost his life, many other sustained several severe and minor injuries, and the shelter incurred damages amounting up to 20+ Lakhs. The boys got off without paying any damages and apart from another little article that time in Hindustan Times, the incident went off unnoticed. What Friendicos suffered however cannot go unnoticed. Several benefactors flocked in to show support in forms of strong words and quietly drawn cheques, however despite everyone’s best efforts all the damages were not covered.
Despite all this, the men and women of Friendicos, my unsung heroes, Dr. Prabharan, Uma, Karan, Nagendra, Deepak, Ram, and the entire staff of Friendicos, got up dusted themselves off and continued fighting for a cause they have believed in for the past 31 years.
I’m proud to say that I am associated with Friendicos in my own little way and although I am attached to several NGOs, this is one, has its own special place in my heart.
P.S. I wrote this post yesterday Feb 6th and today morning there is another article about the rescued leopard in Times of India on page 3, and this time thankfully the story is much bigger!