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A Creature’s Comfort:
his was not the first time Darius Colabewala had come to me waving an SOS. Many a time it was something to do with the “unofficial, four-legged security personnel” residing outside Godrej Bhavan — there are always a couple of stray dogs who take up residence outside our attractive building — at other times it was strays in trouble in his neighbourhood.
One morning, when I saw Darius on the 6th floor wearing an unusually gloomy look on his otherwise cheerful face, my immediate reaction was: “Darius, please, I have enough problems with my dog and cats at home.” But seeing his sad expression deepen, I knew I had to relent. It turned out that Darius had come across a cow in distress in the vicinity — she seemed to be pregnant, he surmised, and was probably having a problem giving birth. A neighbourhood watchman had told him that the cow had been lying in the same spot for three days, and had not eaten or drunk anything during that time. Darius, I could see, felt the concern a human mother feels for her under-the-weather child. I promised him I would call the animal hospital. The proper procedure, I later learnt, was to first call the area police station because, in the case of animals such as cattle, very often when the ambulance arrives, so does the owner, who creates a problem! The Azad Maidan Police acted with unexpected swiftness and immediately contacted the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, thus giving them the green signal to act.
Meanwhile, on site, a host of well-wishers geared up for action: our Security in-charge, English-speaking Mr. More as he is affectionately referred to, informed our gardener William, who immediately rushed to the scene with a bucket of water; Darius offered the cow some loaves of bread, which she devoured hungrily. Moments later, miraculously, she stood up on all fours. By this time, numerous bystanders had gathered to watch the spectacle and all attempts to put a noose round the creature’s neck for safe-keeping until the ambulance arrived had to be delayed until she parked herself near a bowl of fresh green salad — i.e. the greenery bordering Godrej Bhavan. Our colleague, Rumi Majoo, rushed to get a bunch of bananas to satisfy “Mrs. Cow’s” hunger and divert her attention from William’s carefully tended plants.
One could see that “ Mrs. Cow” was in intense pain — a huge unhealthy gash was clearly visible at her rear end. Somehow, she seemed to sense the good intentions of those around her and willingly accepted the assistance offered. When the ambulance eventually arrived, she climbed the ramp to enter the vehicle, as docile as a lamb.
Did we in some way make up for the anguish caused to the innocent animal as a result of being abandoned by her owner? Did she realise that what was being done for her was in her own interest? Was her cooperation her way of saying “thank you” to Darius?
Darius certainly deserves a big Thank You from all of us. He inspired us to give a little of ourselves to one of God’s creatures, so revered in our country but, ironically, so helpless when in trouble.