26/11 a date edged out in my memory, so strongly that I fail to erase it and move on. No, I wasn't there at the terror scene, I wasn't affected directly. I, in fact belonged to the group of people who proactively responded to help through a medium I very strongly understood and related to- Blogs. I had given out my mobile number on the blog Mumbai Terror Helpline and within 45 minutes my phone started ringing and it didn't stop for the next 2 days. Worried relatives and friends of those trapped called me, I became a virtual helpline for those who had a ray of hope and for those who knew that there was no hope but still wanted a ear. I called up hospitals and the hotel help lines to give the worried relatives up-to-date information. It wasn't easy. When you go past so much pain, some of it rubs into you too. I was dejected, I wished to scream and cry. But then, when I had a tear drop stuck to my iris, I saw a flash of flickering light on my phone. It was another call from another being in the brink of hopelessness.
There was growing rage within me, and I just wanted to explode. I wanted someone to hear, I wanted to cry aloud and give a vent to my growing frustrations. Where no human could tame my wild emotions that were raging a war and going awry, there were two balls of fur that did the magic.
I knew of Animal Angels, but when I received a comment on by blog about them offering their services, the animal lover in me smiled. It was for my selfish interest, for I knew that I needed to experience the benefits of this kind of therapy myself. I formed a group called "Group Altruism Proactive" GAP, and we organized the first therapy workshop with Animal Angels at National College, Bandra, Mumbai. I have my dog at home who listens to me and responds and licks me. Extremely egoistic and proud about my canine girl Lisa, I refused to believe that there could be anyone more empathetic and loving than her.
At national college, the stars of the day… came a vehicle with a handsome stud Saint Bernard "Onit" and an absolutely sexy lab retriever "Goldie". They were huge and their hearts were huger. They came in the central lawn area and spent time with people around. Their sizes, I thought would scare children. But, one look at Onit and Goldie's eyes and anyone could fall in love. Fear went off. And love prevailed. The kids hugged Onit and Goldie, they lied down the ground using Onit's or Goldie's torso as a pillow. There were some who simply hugged them and said nothing. It was a sight to see. I was overwhelmed. I moved towards Onit and moved my hands over his fur. Onit gave me a lick. And I thought he understood what my deepest feelings were. He then looked at me with a twinkle in his saintly eyes. I instantly broke down. Tears started running down my cheeks and I cleverly camouflaged them with a smile. I then moved to Goldie and the same sequence of events of high voltage drama within repeated itself.
These dogs are blessed. They are more humane than humans. They can feel. They can sense and they can heal your wounds and pain. I know what was special in them, but had not "one" thing that I could point out. They were special. I carried their scents from National College to home. And there was a a smile on my face. As I reached home, I faced another horror. My Labrador Spitz girl Lisa refused to speak to me for she could smell Onit and Goldie on me. How different this girl of mine was… selfish, possessive and sly, but mine. After a few treats she gave up my anger and loved me completely and even more than before, she had to, she knew now she had tough competition, with Goldie and Onit were vying for my attention.
(This is a piece that I wrote for Animal Angels. )