Saturday, 12 June 2010

Creatures in our life

Children were fighting over the front seat in the car, when I wondered aloud as to what was so great about sitting in the front. My 9 year old son, said to his 13 year old sister- "Ya, even in school, Ashwin and I fight over Chandni." My daughter's expression was an incredulous one and her eyes nearly popped out, when he coolly said-"We take turns over her". Soon realizing that this wasn't going well, he confirmed-"Chandni is a horse."

Thank God for that.

I wonder how horse riding in schools came about. Is it something which was taught in schools in the nineteenth century, when riding horses was a skill, one couldn't grow up without. Why do elitist schools still teach this skill? Is it just for fun and sports? Or is it an ecofriendly sport? In that case they should probably have a fleet of bicycles for children to learn on.

After all cycling is an international sport, cycles don't eat, they usually won't cause life threatening injury, and cycling is a skill one can't do without, in today's world.

There is an electric Hero scooty which gets charged in the parking space of our building. It reminds me of all the things which need charging in today's world and how plug points in airports, trains and stations seem to be aware of the need. Hopefully we will soon have solar panels doing the same in parking lots, as well.

Coming back to Chandni, hope she is happy trotting and galloping in the school grounds. Can't say the same about the big bounding Bull dogs and Dovermans I often encounter most disconcertingly in my building, when the lift opens and I am expected to share lift space with a panting, huge canine. I have often wondered how these big animals survive in a 9th floor flat, but it seems I am not alone.

Pets will soon need to be registered here in India and owners will have to prove that they have the minimum required space to keep the pet of their choice. Hurrah and three cheers to that, the canines and I would say. But, implementation of a lot of ambitious plans by the Government, often draws a question mark. It may create another industry for providing fraudulent registrations and licences.

 Pet dogs seem to be very popular in India and pet food too is available in superstores,  but pet owners struggle, if they have to clean up after their pet in the building campus (else where, they needn't bother). In England, pet owners do it as a routine with plastic bags around their hands but here in India people use a no touch technique with makeshift shovels and trashcans, screwed up noses and embarrassed looks.

I wonder whether the pet ruling will include the cattle which roams freely in the green spaces on roadsides, often using the roundabouts, pedestrian crossings and the like to go to the greener grass on the other side.

Cows and bulls do have a free reign in this country. Unlike them, the horses are a tame and obedient lot. There are a lot of horse carts in the town, selling Dusehri mangoes nowadays. Horses are yoked in and have eye guards to make sure they look ahead. They lack the protective pouch on its underside to collect the dung. This contraption is there in the horse carts doing pleasure rounds on England's beaches to ensure the roads remain free of horse dung. There is not much point in introducing that for horse carts here, because the free willed cows and bulls would make the roads dirty anyway.

Yet, like I have always suspected, Indians topped the Greendex National Geographic survey held in 17 countries, for being the most eco friendly consumers. We eat local produce, avoid packaging, use public transport and conserve fresh water. Americans (no surprise) came last.

I have never liked encountering insects while cutting vegetables and have often become the laughing stock of my non medical relatives for screaming the place down while throwing infested capsicums in the air. But, how perceptions change. This time when I encountered insects in the vegetables, I greeted them with glee. Their wriggling was reassuring. It meant that the vegetables were not doused in pesticide and if the worms were alive and kicking- They were probably safe for my children too!

Wishing you an ecofriendly coexistence with all creatures great and small!


Vandana said...

The power of your writing brings Indian memories alive and link up to the new things which we r missing here

Vinay said...

actually Ishi its a good idea to wash Indian veggies with copious amts of water and preferably even steep them in a halogen disinfectant solution before a final rinsing ( I know this is very water intensive and the NNatl geo folks will not be happy), but did you know that sewage farming is the most efficient usage of you know what.

Anonymous said...

Horses provide, both, a mode of transportation and also teach children how to care for another living thing. It is unfortunate that you have to clear up what comes out of their rear ends. Bicycles are also practical but are incapable of returning affection. In the context of India, I can see why the "dung" issue is important. I know that when we were there, we often had to " watch where we stepped".


Vidya said...

Wow! It is nice to know they are teaching (horse-riding) something other than Maths and Science in Indian schools!! I guess, the cows are allowed a free reign in Hindustan, because they are considered sacred in Hindu religion. I am totally with you on the dogs issue. Here, a british granny made the headlines, coz when her house was on fire, she left her grandson behind and rushed her four dogs out to safety!! She only remembered that her grandson was sleeping upstairs in the bedroom, when the firemen asked her if there might be anyone else in the house!!!

Nature Walker said...

Horse riding is being taught in certain ELITIST Preschools, too, in India. And I agree, In India, one thing we do not actively need to learn is coexistence. We have the dadi, dada, chachi, chacha, taau, taai, and a horde of cousins living within the same boundary wall. the quintessential Indian Joint family. And then you have the next door neighbour auntie who becomes you Massi because she is such a good friend of your mother. Or that grand old lady who becomes Mata ji, because she is so full of love to shower on all who visit her nest. There is even the Babuji, who wants to treat each child with the UNCLE chips!
Do you really need HORSES to teach you how to care for another living creature?! In India?!

brightspark said...

Joint families and closed communities teach u everything there is to know about caring for life in general is a simplistic view, but living close together and having to share the limited resources both natural and artificial, actually tests family and secular values. This reminds me of various instances when strangers in Safdarjung Hospital would get together to help a fellow patient who was poor or unsupported.