Sunday, December 12, 2010

Towards Hope and Change

Hindustan Times asked me to write for a column on the second anniversary of the 26/11 attacks. This appeared in the HT edition of 28 November, 2010.
Little did I know as I was vaccinating stray dogs around Nariman House on November 22, 2008, that it would go through such mayhem four days later. In fact, little did I know of Nariman House at all.

A year later, I went in when it was opened to the public, to pay my respects. I was pained to see the walls riddled with hundreds of bullet holes; ‘live’ television images of a petrified nanny bravely clutching baby Moshe flashed in my mind. How could she have had the courage to do what she did? But there were stories of such bravery across Mumbai during the attacks.

Some of these heroes lived to tell their tales; sadly, many did not. They left behind families and friends whose pain could be sensed by others, but not entirely. The survivors, too I’m sure, were forever changed by the trauma of those horrifying nights.

What could the common man do to show that he cared? We turned out in large numbers at Gateway of India on December 3, 2008, a week after the attacks began.I was one of nearly a lakh people who congregated there to express their rage and demand changes.
In the crowd were youngsters and senior citizens, college students and office-goers, homemakers, celebrities and everyday Mumbaiites, people from far and near, children, even some toddlers… it was democracy at its most vibrant.

The protest was vocal and yet peaceful, with candlelight vigils and placards huge and small honouring the memory of those lost. Signature campaigns and T-shirts made their declarations; there were spontaneous renditions of the national anthem.

Two years on, sceptics might ask if it was enough — all the meetings, functions and prayers. I think it was a good start. Every meeting and memorial is not just a tribute to those we lost but also a push for political change, maintaining pressure on the powers that be. Just like the RTI, a single Act, changed how the average citizen interacted with the government.

I think it was due to all the citizen-led movements that there have been at least some improvements — like us getting a more proactive home minister at the Centre, new bulletproof vests for our policemen, modern weaponry and security equipment, a more mobile NSG, better disaster management cells, a more secure coastline, Force One commandos, armoured vehicles and so many more metal detectors.

Of course, the ultimate vindication will probably come only when we see a fast-tracked judgment against the perpetrator(s) as per India’s legal and constitutional framework.

Thursday, December 02, 2010

WSD - Lucky Dogs Of Mumbai - Calendar 2011

The Welfare of Stray Dogs calendar 2011 celebrates the many individuals and families who have opened their homes and their hearts to street dogs.

These wonderful people have understood the significance of adopting a loving animal from WSD rather than buying one from dubious breeders. In some cases, the families wanted to buy a ‘pedigree dog’ but found true love when they met one of our kennel dogs.  These dogs of the Indian Pariah breed are hardy, intelligent, good-looking, affectionate, and make instinctive watchdogs.

The WSD Adoption programme was started in 1994 to promote the adoption of street dogs and abandoned pets. WSD behaviorally assesses each dog and matches his/her temperament with that of the prospective owner. We also screen the owner to ensure that the dog goes into a responsible and committed home.

All the dogs featured in the calendar - although once living the hard life – are now the embodiment of ‘happily ever after’ stories in their new homes.  In spite of being adopted as adults, they have adjusted beautifully to their new surroundings, shattering the myth that only pups make great pets.

We hope that these success stories will result in many more such beautiful bonds.

The calendars are available at the following places for Rs 150. All photos taken by Rohan Mukerjee.


South Mumbai
Colaba and Kala Ghoda

Rhythm House : 40, K. Dubash Marg (Rampart Row), Kala Ghoda, Mumbai 400023. Tel: 4322 2727
Dr Padam’s Clinic: Ground Floor, Mohini Mansion, Opposite Strand Cinema, Colaba, Mumbai – 400 005 Tel : 22834842
Greenfields : Army Navy Building ( back entrance), Behind Westside, Kala Ghoda, Mumbai – 23. Tel : 65157507
WSD Office: C/o Mr F. Broacha, 2nd Flr, Yeshwant Chambers, B.Bharucha Marg, Near Fab India, Kala Ghoda, Mumbai – 23 Tel : 64222838

Valhalla : Eros Theatre Building, 42 Maharshi Karve Road,, Churchgate, Mumbai 400020  Tel :  67353535
Dr Leena Dalal’s Clinic :Green Fields, Opposite Oval Maidan, Churchgate, Mumbai – 21 Tel: 66153497 

Kemps Corner and Warden Road
Celebrations :  Cymroza Art Gallery, Warden Road, Mumbai  Tel :32953043      
Ibrahim’s Pet Shop : Kemps Corner, Mumbai – Tel: 23806278

Pawfect : Shop no AS 10, Forjett Street, Anand Nagar building , Tardeo, Mumbai. Tel : 64463129 
Dr Tina Rustomji’s Clinic :Gamadia Polyclinic, Gamadia Colony, Tardeo – Mumbai - 34 Tel: 23519105

Central Mumbai
Blue Frog : Mathuradas Mills Compound, NM Joshi Marg, Lower Parel, Opposite Kamala Mills Compound, Entrance From Tulsi Pipe Rd  Mumbai, Maharashtra 400013 Tel : 40332300
Dr Makrand Chavan’s Clinic : Shop No 1, Matoshree Tower, Kohinoor Mills Lane, Shivaji Park, Dadar – Mumbai- 28 Tel: 24380756

Western Suburbs
Paws and Furs : Shop No 3, Kailash,156, Waterfield Road, Bandra, Mumbai. Tel: 66990858
Tailwaggers : 16th Road, Behind Hawaian Shack, Bandra, Mumbai. Tel: 9820127572          

Dawgz : B4, Snowhite CHS, Ground Floor,  18th Road, Opposite Fabindia on Khar Danda Road, Khar (W), Mumbai. Tel  26056810

Vile Parle
Pet Range : Shop No 4, Saroj Building, Opposite Grasshopper Restaurant, Near Nanavati Hospital, Vile Parle, Mumbai 400 056.

Dogaholics : Shop No 6, Garden View, Shastri Nagar, Lokhandwala , Andheri(W) – Mumbai. Tel : 9819004010

Eastern Suburbs
Dr Deepa Katiyal’s clinic : Ghatla Village Rd, Opp.Ratna Supermarket, Chembur 8, Pushpanjali Co-op Housing Soc.Ltd, Mumbai, Maharashtra 400071. Tel : 25503887
  Anokhi, 6, Russel Street, Kolkata - 700 071
 Earthcare Books, 10, Middleton Street , Kolkata - 700 071 

(Please telephone the respective outlet for their timings and availability)