Sunday, February 05, 2012

Lessons From an Animal

We humans are impatient with everything. We want instant solutions to everything- jobs, money, career skills, marriage, health…When something goes wrong, or doesn't work out well, we are frustrated, have a bout of depression, trauma, and what not.

Recently, I learnt a lesson in patience from a neighbor. It was an animal, a female dog. Every year, she gets pregnant and gives birth. The births occur during the winter, and sadly, few pups survive the intense Delhi cold which dips down to 3 degrees Celsius.

Last year, I had seen her with a fresh litter, cuddled under the staircase of a building. People did provide blankets and food, but only one survived. It was too sad to see the tiny pups lying dead, the lone survivor moving over their bodies. The mother was unusually silent, weeping out her sorrow in a corner. She didn't usually allow anyone to pass that way, but that day, she didn't even lift up her head. Perhaps she was angry with us humans for not providing a shelter, for not protecting her pups from the chilling winds.

This year, to atone for that, we did not drive her out when she came for shelter inside our compound. We let her have a portion of the portico, and there were blinds to keep out the wind. Tonight I heard sounds of licking tongues, and moments later low pitched squeals. She was in labor! We watched as she patiently tugged the pups out of her abdomen, one by one. It went on for hours.

She had every reason to give up when her pups died last year, but the instinct of life innate in her made her go on. We humans could take a cue from this when faced with setbacks: Keep on keeping on, there's light at the end of the tunnel.
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