Games that we play with our furry friends

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I simply must quote myself: a civilized society is primarily defined by its public transport system and by what it does that it does not absolutely have to do, like realizing that animals deserve a decent life as much as we do, and acting upon that realization. We are not bound to take care of our parents when they are old. Some of us do,out of love, and some, out of compulsion, either of a dutiful mind or of a fear of scandal. Animals have not been so fortunate. A dog burned alive is fun. Puppies crushed under vehicles are nuisance to be shoved aside, with a ‘tsk tsk’ if they are lucky, and disposed of when they die after hours of agony. Pouring boiling water over strays is fun too. The recent procession by some persons of note including actress Debasree Roy and Prof. Nabanita Deb Sen in protest against cruelty to animals only goes to show how far we are away from being civilized.

Cruelty to animals is not a novelty: we had the Colosseum, and we still have the Bull Fights. The difference between the Roman Games and the Bull Fights, and burning a dog alive is that the former are still a game where both sides are at risk. And no, this is not a subversive way to condone the killing of bulls by prodding them with several pointed objects first to damage the central nervous system and then heroically spearing them to death. I just wish to point out the difference between the idea of sport however perverted it might be, and the idea of fun.

A very close friend of mine confessed that he used to tie pieces of brick to frogs’ legs and watch them drown when he was a kid. He recounted this with guilt and shame, and explained that he had no idea that the frog would feel pain. For him, it was just an amusing experiment. Coming as he does from an area where there are, on an average, about two murders each month, he did not get to learn much about frogs from whatever was around him.

Something curious: there was this man, carrying his daughter, both watching the complete process of killing, skinning and quartering of chicken, the man all the while holding a conversation with the seller. No one taught me to be squeamish about chicken screaming while they are being trussed up and beheaded. It came naturally. Genetics perhaps. If this little girl grows up to become someone not affected by the real nature of food that we find on our plate while still caring about animals in general, so much the better.

Some people actually do not realize that strays feel pain as much as we do – or that they need medical attention when sick or injured. When you request them to do something like covering up open tanks after work, they sometimes oblige. I am referring to construction workers. However, I still could not convince a long time neighbour to cover his tank while he was promoting his own land. I bought four panels made of slit bamboo and did his job for him. I still had to go every night to put them in place. Sometimes I would find them missing: the workers had been using them. I finally got back three of them after the construction was over. He was not sure what had happened to the fourth one.

Then there are the sadists. A dumb unprotected animal is easy prey. The solution is simple as far as these people are concerned. Before anything else you must put the fear of God into them, or, in this case, the fear of the Law. As it stands, the Prevention of Cruelty Act is, well, laughable. Unless that is amended, no amount of work by lonely crusaders will bear fruit. I would like to think that not a lot of people thought of this before. Those that did somehow did not manage to see it through, as I have not. I am currently working on an alternative version of the Act to present it for review. If you think this might be a worthwhile idea, please do contact me.

To sum up, then, people are indifferent or sadistic, and there are a few lazy ones. And a handful care. There is another category. These people go for breeds. Pets are not family to them, but posessions. Once the pet grows old, IT is set free, in remote and almost uninhabited areas where the poor thing so far provided for dies slowly, without food, fighting off packs of strays. You would not expect them to spare a bread-crumb for the neighborhood stray.

There are quite a few animal lovers out there. I do not include pet lovers who actually love their pets but consider taking in a lost kitten a burden. I am talking about those eccentric individuals who somehow seem to have time to spare to feed the street-dogs or shelter lost kitties in cardboard boxes. They ought to collaborate to make better use of time and resources.

At the same time, the legal aspects must be taken care of, with a formal request to the Chief Minister – or even the President if necessary so that the issue of amendment may be taken seriously. I am not referring to endless virtual signatures in online campaigns. We do not need superior numbers to demand something that is only fair. Even one person is enough. Five are probably better. Fifty applications/ requests from fifty different local unofficial outfits are likely to draw slightly more attention. I repeat: amendments are necessary. People are mostly not saints, and they very often have to be coaxed and forced at the same time. In addition to that, the Police must be instructed to take the Animal Rights Laws seriously. My experience with the Police says this will be more difficult than gettting the amendment done, so we can cross that bridge when we come to it. Also, the indifferent class of people, one may hope, will transform into a slightly less unfeeling lot when animal welfare is in fashion.

In Germany, they have fishing competitions. The hooks are made in such a way as not to hurt the fish. The fish, when caught, is placed in a container that has water in it and the hook taken out. After it has been weighed (in order to decide the winner), it is released back into its habitat. If you are caught manhandling fish that you have caught and are taking home to consume, you will be penalized. Now compare the scene in our fish markets where live fish are kept for sale, gasping for breath, proving to the happy customer that they are indeed fresh. If the seller is benign, he will kill the fish before cutting off the fins. It takes very little to kill a fish, just throwing it on hard ground or beating on its head with a club is enough. If the seller is not inclined to waste his time, then the live fish is scaled, its fins chopped off, the gills ripped out and finally a slit is made where the head joins the body and the guts pulled out. It is not always this gruesome, however. So that the fingers do not get nicked if the fish struggles too much, the seller will sometimes kill it first to protect himself. He does this to protect himself, not so that the fish does not suffer further.

I say let us have our chicken and our fish and what not, let us wear leather jackets and shoes and perhaps even wear fur. Let us kill them all for food or comfort, but please, not torture them for fun. And when we do live up to the dictum of survival of the fittest (read the most cunning and ruthless), let us kill with kindness. Amen to that.


(Published in OPINION, Hindustan Times, Kolkata, November 27, 2008).


Written by kapush

March 12, 2009 at 9:56 am

Posted in Animal Welfare

A Vanishing Essence

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Being a somewhat embittered man fast approaching middle age, it is difficult for me currently to have the Puja Spirit – as they have the Christmas Spirit in the West. Still, even bitterness must have its place (because it is there); one perhaps ought to give vent to it from time to time and on different occasions. And what better occasion than the Pujas: what better context? The essence of Durga Puja is supposed to be the celebration of a cleansing and a new hope. I refrain from using the word regeneration since the killing of evil only shows a new beginning. The only regeneration in this context was by Raktabeeja .


Well, we have our own ideas of cleansing today. We call it culling. We also do it in front of children, and even employ children to do it: to hunt down and wring the neck of a live hen or duck in lieu of money and the obvious fun involved. Many years back, there was a television serial, which showed the events that led to the Partition. One of the ways that the extremist outfits were depicted as employing to toughen their young recruits was to ask them to kill a hen – by chopping its head off with a sharp weapon. Either they had not thought of the more primal (or modern) method of using the bare handed wringing technique or the director/scriptwriter had not.

We also cut down trees for progress and plant saplings. We do many other things, but that is hardly the point. The point is that nobody seems to care. When an ‘Artist’ displayed a live dog as an exhibit and starved him to death, he was invited by a reputed organization to repeat his ‘artistic feat’. Acts being endorsed, carried out and applauded make me wonder if I am the one who should seriously consider changing – for the better, of course. Some years back an advertisement emphasized the value of its product being small and compact. To drive home the point, a young lady was shown shoving books off a shelf like so much rubbish and replacing them with compact disks with a smile on her face that spoke of some supreme achievement. A Television Channel has put up an advertising campaign recently. Huge billboards on roadsides mention incidents and persons in irreverent manner and dubious rhyme and say that none of them is news unless this channel broadcasts it. One such billboard has Rizwanur’s photograph, and his name rhyming with another, with the very same message. An Advertising agency (with real life people who would perhaps like to call themselves artists) created the campaign, and the Channel in question found it appealing.

Which brings my ramblings to the incident last year when a certain Puja was inaugurated by Rizwanur’s mother. She allowed herself to be turned into an exhibit because she is a mother. Every little bit of public exposure helped to bring her that much closer to getting justice. And the Puja Managing Committee must have been beaming with the brainstorming that added such a unique twist to usual celebrations. This is creative thinking today, and Aesthetics.

I have this idea about a civilized society: that it is primarily defined by its public transport system and by what it does that it does not absolutely have to do, like realizing that animals deserve a decent life as much as we do, and acting upon that realization. Fortunately for a lot of people, I am a rather insignificant person, or they would all be uncivilized.

When we were children, the Puja season could always be felt, and smelt. There it was in the air, in the sunlight, in the sky and the lacey clouds and in the green of the trees. It was all pervading, and no matter what one’s station in life, pretty much everyone felt it too deeply. Before the advent of Satellite Television and ‘Promoting’, time moved relatively slowly. It only picked up pace during the early ‘90s. For me, it was as if I lived in a different place altogether, not just time. Perhaps I did. The landscape has changed so much that it is difficult not to believe that that was a different world altogether. I am not exactly waxing nostalgic here: anyone in their mid thirties would know, especially if they grew up in the suburbs. Change, they say, is inevitable. The more things change the more they are supposed to remain the same. I disagree on both counts.

When we were students of Literature, there was this question that demanded a thorough discussion: Why Does Tragedy Please? One of the answers to that question is what might justify this acerbic piece of writing during a time of imminent festivities. Without going into Academics proper, it probably pleases because it makes us think. We don’t often do that. Just as we don’t often realize that we are breathing. When we do, the process so instinctive becomes almost laborious. Try it and see for yourself. Clutton Brock’s essay on Art is still in the Calcutta University curriculum. The author says that the most significant point about Art is that it allows you to stay in the present and appreciate that moment without your thoughts wandering off into the past or the future. Art is still taken very seriously, but like car owners, artists are numerous today. For those of us that drive two wheelers, the roads are a trifle distressing with so many drivers and so little driving ethics. Today everything, including income, is valued by how much it is disposable. Things are not built to last. They are built to serve, and make way for newer models with more functionality. Sometimes it is a good thing too. Welcome to the age of ‘free’ gifts where one has to wait holding a token to receive the gift. And one is, or shall I say, more than one is happy to do just that.

Art and Aesthetics were seriously reflected upon at one point of time, and there used to be lots of debates around what Art is. Today, probably because the artists and art critics of the yesteryears have already talked so much, we tend to DO. There seems to be less thought involved, because there is this deadline lurking somewhere in the next minute or so, and of course, the question of novelty. Even in tradition, there must be novelty. In this age of TRP, Success and failure are defined by how many sponsors one can draw, and how many advertising slots one can successfully offer. Tradition by itself has become meaningless. Not just tradition, the old value system, whatever flaws it might have had, has been, quite simply and easily forgotten and wiped out. No one seems bothered about anything anymore. Art is everywhere, in the billboards, in your drawing room in the form of television commercials and masterclass prints, in your carefully landscaped housing apartments, and in the clothes that you buy from the many boutiques that are so easy to find today. Everyone is constantly thinking about Art. Artists never had it so easy. It is irrelevant what is produced as Art so long as it sells. I am not an Artist per se, but I do my doodles, and one budding agent had once asked me to copy my own painting for sale. I was flabbergasted then, but learnt later from one of my Artist friends that it was a common enough practice, especially among Bengali Artists.

Holding an Art Exhibition at the Puja site is nothing criminal. Somehow, it brings Art closer to the masses and demystifies it. Much as today’s Television Channels and its Talk Shows have demystified the big screen actors. However, whether it is Art on Canvas or on screen, the illusion that is integral to it makes it what it is. Demystifying it, even if it is essential somehow, also robs it of much of its charm. Almost like explaining the tricks a magician is going to perform before he does it. This also makes it a commonplace. Elitist as this may sound, Art is not supposed to be a commonplace. It is supposed to bring out the best in you; it is supposed to be a creative force that transforms reality and transmutes it through an alteration of the viewer’s perception. A whole new world is created when a painting is viewed, really viewed, in a gallery or simply hung on the wall in all its dignity. There was a reason that the Mughal architecture employed and encouraged the use of actual space, space that made you realize that where you stood gaping was grand, and you were not. The sheer vastness of things, their exclusivity, and their own niche is what adds to grandeur, and class. If you merchandise something that is supposed to be part of a long standing heritage, you are bound to market only that part of it which is marketable and lose the essence of it that in fact is IT.

Senior Artist Shri Niranjan Pradhan was seen answering a few queries on the modern ‘artistic’ depictions of Maa Durga these days. What he put so succinctly is what I have been trying to get at thus far: the myth of Durga is that of a warrior, a destroyer, and above all, a Mother. The question that one should ask while appreciating the novel efforts is whether the popular ways of depicting the idol have been successful in incorporating all the elements. The answer is perhaps easy to find when you look around yourself even without looking at the efforts (which, admittedly, is unfair to the artist and the puja committee members). This trend began with the advent of colour television when the traditional audio rendering of the Mahalaya was so exquisitely transformed into the visual medium and broadcast triumphantly. It continued with marketing of Mahalaya cassettes and then compact disks to enthusiastic consumers who broadcast the same loudly on their own audio devices continuously both before and after the Pujas, and yes, even in the afternoon. The essence of a thing was fast losing importance, and soon it was completely forgotten.

This is the new world of freedom of personal choice where one is not compelled to wait with anticipation for the moment when it time for the ritual to be heard in the pre dawn state and in between waking and falling asleep again. I don’t know if there are many people of our age who heard the ritual in its entirety without falling asleep somewhere along the way and then waking up to its magical strains nearing the end, heralding the beginning of the wait. Those seven days following the Mahalaya seem to me very different from the seven days that we have now.

For me, this year, the Puja has already happened when workers at a certain factory worked one extra day to contribute their pay as well as almost the entire amount collected for Vishwakarma Puja (the usual budget is around two lakh rupees) to victims of flood in Bihar. Apart from the obvious self importance that a published work gives to the author, this, more than anything else is probably why I have even bothered to write this article at all.

(Published in Utsav 2008, a Hindustan Times special supplement magazine).

Written by kapush

March 12, 2009 at 9:35 am

Posted in musings

Then and Now…

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I was never in faovour of taking away farmlands to build industry. I still am not. However, the situation in Singur is not so cut and dried as Mamata may want to make it seem. A few days back, around the 28th of August or so, a friend of mine was in Lindsay Street in Blue Print (a medicine shop). There he was witness to a curioius exchange. The salespersons in the shop were talking to a man who was from Singur. They asked him what he was up to. He answered that he had been sitting with Didi to get his land back. The salespersons, perplexed, asked him if he hadn’t already been compensated for his land. He replied that he had indeed received the money, and now he would get his land back as well.

I wish the CM would think of reopening the many factories rotting away in weed and rust in Dum Dum instead of taking away farmlands. I wish he would focus on what we already have in abundance and turn it into a resource. I really wish people would see that industrialization is not the only inevitable path to salvation for West Bengal, especially when it is achieved at the expense of extensive streaches of extremely fertile farmland. I see only a kind of sorry desperation in jumping at the Tata’s offer by providing them with land wherever they (presumably) wanted. The Nano, in my opinion, would only add to the ever increasing congestion in the already overcrowded Kolkata roads. More than once and on various occasions car pools have suggested as a way out. It escapes me why in such a situation the Nano should shine as such a brilliant ray of hope for us. Driving ethics are a thing of the past, and no one realizes it more than us, who drive two wheelers. Anyone can buy a car on hire purchase these days, and there is simply no class left among those that wheeze along in those shiny boxes leaving us at the mercy of fate and their own moods. But I am digressing.

Question is whether Mamata is doing something selfless and at the request of the ‘victims’. Question, indeed, is whether there are victims that actually conform to Mamata’s definition of the term. I received something from a confidential source which I believe is reliable. It is reliable insofar as a Party Manifesto is reliable. However, the author of this piece belongs to the old guard, to the era when Communist Party members were educated and with morals and scruples. Unbelievable as it may seem, there still are a few of them still hanging on. I have double checked the facts and have found them authentic enough to publish in my own blog. I couldn’t care less if people call me names. It is after all fashionable to be anti CP(I)M these days. And never mind if Mamata has created a inexplicable figure of 400 acres. Has she actually provided anyone with an alternative rehabilitaion plan apart from her demand about the land return?

The relevant statistics against the 400 acre demands are:

the Government has acquired 997.11 acres of land in Singur. There are 10, 852 raiyats (cultivators) on the land parcel taken over. Of them, 8, 890 covering land area of 691. 64 acres have accepted the compensation package. 2251 have refused to accept compensation for a total area of 305.47 acres of land. Mamata has conveniently rounded that off to 400 acres.

The following are a) a letter from the CM to Mamata, which, as far as I know, she did not release to the Press ( I could be wrong: I am at present trying to deal with both local small time chameleon CPIM covert operators as well as a sub-inspector who ought to be stripped both of his skin and uniform) and b) a report on the curent situation at Singur with respect to Didi’s dharna.

a) Letter of the CM to Mamata:

DO No.  – 97/CM

25 August 2008


Earlier we have discussed the problems arising out of the small car manufacturing factory at Singur with representatives sent by you, following my appeal.  We decided then at that meeting that there would be continued discussions towards a just and proper resolve of the impasse.

You are already aware that in view of Shri Ratan Tata’s statement on the issue, different state governments have called for the project to be shifted to their respective states.  You will surely realise from all this how important it is for the state to complete the project early.  Surely as a responsible leader of the opposition of the state, you would desire that the project should be completed in this state.

In view of this, keeping the project completely unaffected, acting within the legal framework of the land, and safeguarding the interests of the landless families affected adversely by the land acquisition, I would like to have a direct discussion with you to find out a formula that will be acceptable to all.

I hope that in the interest of the quick implementation and completion of the project and to ensure that the reflection of our state’s image remains untarnished, you would withdraw your present movement and agree to sit for a discussion again.

With best wishes,


Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee

b) current report on Singur situation:


The sit-in demonstration suddenly started to draw less men and women– discontented kisans or otherwise.  That happened on and from 2 September.  The reasons were clear for everyone to see.  Certainly, we had little trouble doing this.

An increasing number of the local populace, including the Trinamulis’ vaunted ‘disgruntled kisans,’ and all of them angry, hateful, and aggressively abusive of the Trinamuli chieftain and her Maoists-SUCI-Indira Congress cohorts – had started to organise a huge periphery, and densely peopled, as part of  what we can call a ‘counter-blockade’ around the Trinamuli blockade of the highway.

‘We shall not anyone of the gang that is out to bring an economic disaster to our state run away from Singur, and it is we who had voted for them.’  This was the common refrain of the young and the old, men and women, of the villages surrounding the motor vehicles project.


An unheard of slogan rent the drippy, cold, and cloudy skyline of Singur from that day onwards: ‘Mamata Banerjee, Singur thekey dur hato, abhi hato, jaldi hato!’ The slogan-shouting brigade, none of them — we spoke to them and found to our great amazement — has ever voted for the Left.  Mamata does have cause to worry.

‘We have no quarrel with the truckers or indeed with any vehicular traffic – once we see a single Trinamul-flag wielding SUVs (ironically all Tata Sumo models of various vintage), we shall block its passage, and make it park on the grassy curb.

‘We shall feed them, allow them to take rest in our hutments in the villages — but they shall and must remain confined away from their beloved didi – whom we had loved too, once before, during the rural polls, but– never again.’

The speakers ranged from the 80 plus Ahsan Ali Mollah to the 20 something Raghu Majhi, from the elderly and purdaansheen, burqah-naqab-clad Nazma Biwi to the kurti-salwar-dupatta-wearing Rina Murmu – all, all of them former supporters of the Mamata brigade, but no longer.


What was going through the mind of the 85-year-old Sushen Santra when he went to the small manohari dokaan (a tiny ‘variety store’ — very typical of rural Bengal, a shop that remains inevitably closed in the noon hours [and until sundown] when the owner-salesperson takes a dutiful nap), at Pakhirapara, knocked on the jhaanp or thatched hinged-on-top front shade of the shop, and hesitantly asked for a bottle of cheap, locally-produced pesticide.

The owner, mildly disturbed even disoriented at having his routine afternoon bhātghoom (or restful slumber after a rice-and-curry meal) being unsettled, sleepily handed over the small recycled bottle of the deadly chemical, yawned, accepted the currency notes, gave back the change in small coins, yawned again, and went to slumberland.  Dada, he was later to tell me, regret pouring out from his reedy voice, had I been a little more alert I would realised that Sushenkaka was upto something, something bad.  Sushenkaka had been in a very, very depressing mood for the past week or so.


After all, please understand, dada, continued the dokaan-malik, kaka’s entire family cholto or ran on the wages, his three married sons brought home from the motor vehicles factory where they had found jobs in the ancillary sector, and they had given away their land, never paying heed to the local Trinamul toughs against doing it, and had not joined the oi jey ki sab krishi-rakkha samity korechhey Mamata didi.

The whole family, we were quick enough to learn, went on convincing others how the LF government’s rehabilitation-compensation package plus the high wages they would draw from the industrial set up and its peripheral units, would be nearly seven times the income they would squeeze out of their tiny plots of shariki-bibadi jomi (agri-land under internecine dispute within the family).

Then Sushen babu heard the bad news.  Mamata Banerjee has set up a road blockade.  The factory hands were being beaten up and their families harassed.  This was followed by the terrible news in the form of the distorted versions ran in the local dailies — about the entrepreneur of the factory leaving Singur and Bengal – for ever.


‘One man less would mean one mouth, less to feed, and at any rate I am getting decrepit, old, and constantly having to take pricey medicines – I am becoming an expensive luxury that my family should be rid of.’  Then he took the terrible decision, and took his own life.  His death remains a widening black mark on the Trinamul Congress’s anti-people foray of the worst kind.

Mamata must realise that if the impasse continues, and the factory entrepreneur does stick to his resolve to have the small car roll out from Panthnagar instead of Singur, if the future of the factory itself is made to confront a menacingly large question mark, then Sushen Santra’s death may well be followed by the death of others in the areas like Joymollah, Ratanpur, Singherbheri.

In the meanwhile a solicitous and sympathetique governor, after having quit his earlier programme of two hours of saving electricity — as the summer becomes muggy and stickily warm – has declared himself agreeable to Mamatadidi’s proposal of acting as the ‘facilitator and not the negotiator,’ as he was careful to explain to the media glare now pouring on him, to ‘solve the Singur problem.’


The solution is, the governor must have realised by now, three sessions and four days later, far to seek, as different voices are heard from the Trinamulis, the Naxalites, the SUCI, and the various fractions of the ‘save farmland committee’s disparate and squabbling leadership.  The state government is as always quite open to suggestions from the opposition, provided such proposals materialise at all beyond the puerile clinging to the cry for ‘return the land — and let the entrepreneur go away, what we care if he does.’

Elsewhere, throughout the state, a vast people’s movement led by the Bengal unit of the CPI (M) and the Left Front has started to unwind like a coiled spring with mammoth participation by every cross section of the people including technologists, scientists, engineers, doctors, lawyers, IT professionals (three of the latter when they had gone to seek a brief interview with the didi, had the experience of being verbally abused in unprintable words, called Communist spies, and shoved away), students-youth-women, in cities and towns, in villages and hamlets—every day — every morning, afternoon, and evening.

A different form of campaign, too, is going on via the internet and the cell phone network.  Dozens of websites with the theme ‘we want industrialisation,’ have been launched and they are drawing thousands of ‘hits’ every day.


The irate people whose ranks cut cross political affiliations, leanings, sympathies, obsessions, have but a single slogan: ‘we want industrialisation in Bengal and we want the Singur factory to be made viable again.’  The entire state has witnessed large whiteboards come up at street crossings where people are putting on their signatures calling for industrialisation, and prevailing upon Mamata Banerjee and her underlings to end the anti-people sit-in.  Marches are taken out with lighted candles.  Artistes and performers have put on shows in solidarity with the people’s movement.

The people’s movement in Bengal for industrialisation based on an augmented agrarian foundation shall go on — and the people shall put in the final word, let no one doubt this—to their peril.

Written by kapush

September 6, 2008 at 6:04 pm

Posted in Singur

Tagged with , , , , , ,

Maurya and I

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You will probably find all this ridiculous if you cannot think of your pets as family. Regardless, I believe I owe it to my family to publish certain things…


This is Chew .

He and his two sisters came to us when they were about two months old. Their mom would come to our garden with them and leave them to play there. Once she realized they were safe she left them with us. Chew was a gentlemanly cat. When other kitties crowded our home he would stay away for long periods. He simply could not bear the divided attention, and was too dignified to ask for more. We never realized he was sick. We could see that he had lost weight, but he looked and behaved normal. Once, he did not come home for two days. This was about two months back, in May 2008. On the third day my mother went out looking for him, found him too weak to move and carried him home. We never took him to a vet. We had our reasons – which I intend to enumerate in a separate article. We could have taken him to Moitri but he looked too weak. Instead, we took him to our family physician who is a homeopath, and has cured many of our cats. My own reasearch on the Net revealed Chew had symptoms of diabetes. Dr. Roy assured us it was a case of paralysis that was affecting both dogs and cats these days. We were reassured. Chew appeared to improve. He did not leave home again. Sometimes he would sit outside, in the sun.

Around the last week of May his condition deteriorated rapidly. I still did not want to move him because he was too weak. We called Dr. Soumen Chatterjee who came highly recommended. He found nothing particularly wrong with Chew and told us that he was merely in shock because of some fight with other tom-cats that he must have had. Chew was prescribed Resource Powder – a high protein supplement. He did not want to eat that – in fact he resisted the extra protein. We force fed him, because surely it was good for him. Didn’t the Doctor say it was? He seemed better for a while. After that we were forced to call Dr. Chatterjee again. A whole week was wasted already. He could not understand what was wrong and lamented that this was the problem with animals: they could not tell us of their troubles. He prescribed fluids to take care of the acute dehydration and anemia that was now apparent. One of the fluids was Haemaccel®. I somehow managed to find someone who could administer the fluid. This very competent man held Chew like he was cattle and put in the needle and expected us to keep him still while he took a call. The needle slipped and then he tried poking it in again. We decided Chew was better off dehydrated than tortured. We paid the man Rs. 200 for his troubles. I had brought him home on my two wheeler. He expected me to reach him to the main road so he could go home easily. I gave him clear directions and bid him goodnight.

The next day we went to Moitri. Dr. Sourav Banerjee understood what was wrong with him even before the blood tests were done and prescribed the proper medicines and fluid. When the test results came out we found Chew was suffering from diabetes, chronic renal failure and accompanying non regenerative anemia. He was NOT supposed to have been on a high protein diet. Haemaccel® would have killed him sooner because of its crystalline nature. It is contraindicated in case of renal problems. (Here is a page that provides relevant information on it). Dr. Banerjee was almost apologetic and nodded his head while looking at the report: ‘ I don’t know what to say’ he said. And i could see that he saw his patients as patients, and that he was a doctor, not a businessman. Chew died two days later, at five to four in the morning of June 12, 2008. His eyes had gone still and had remained that way for the last four hours of his life. I don’t think he recognized any of us any during those final hours.

This is Two.

Why he has such a curious name is a different story. Two had not been well for a very long time. He had been treated by so called doctors, including Dr. Soumen Chatterjee when he visited us for Chew. Two was prescribed an antibiotic and a mouth gel and a spray which I could not locate in any of the Medical Stores that i went to. There was apparently nothing seriously wrong with him except for some mouth/tooth infection, and perhaps he had also caught a bit of cold. After Chew died we did not delay further and took him to Moitri. Dr. Sourav Banerjee, as before, did not need a blood test to diagnose his condition. The test results were less unfortunate than Chew’s: Two was suffering from chronic renal failure with a creatinine count of 10.4  (Chew measured above 14) and acute anemia (5.8). Two was kept on medicine and mostly fluid – twice daily- for a month. I took leave from work during the last phase to look afer him constantly as also to turn the Net upside down for some remedy. I went to work on July 11, 2008 and called home. Two had passed away at quarter to eleven in the morning.

He would put up a fight whenever we tried to administer the fluid. The solution was simple, which we should have found out earlier than we did: we only had to put him in my mother’s lap – or should I say, his mother’s lap, and he would be quiet. He was on her lap when he died. He had looked around, just before death. Ma thought he was looking for me. Possible. Guests, who heard him call ma were always surprised to hear him call calling ‘maa’ and not ‘meow’. He was four and a half years old when he died. He had never really grown up. Liked to sit with ma in the kitchen. Would sleep beside her, with a paw on her. He was the big healthy baby who did not like his mother talking on the phone. He would keep meowing whenever she did, and even tried to take the receiver away from her with his paw.

I am glad Chew and Two died the way they did. It could have been much worse. They could have drowned, like Meemee. Or poisoned, like Lomba Lej. Or dumped somewhere – probably in a lake, by our neighbours, in a sack, like at least four others. We are thankful they died amongst their family knowing always that they were loved and cared for.

Chronic Renal Failure in Cats

Feline CRF can happen because of a number of reasons. The symptoms are quite clear, however. Increased thirst, weight loss, wounds that refuse to heal, foul breath usually accompanied by dental tartar, weak hind legs in many instances – which is also a clear symptom of diabetes. I have also noticed other symptoms which may or may not be clinically acknowledged. Cats thus affected tend to go for raw fish or meat. The reason being, protein, generally speaking, is not particularly healthy for CRF cats since the weakened kidneys cannot get rid of the toxins produced through protein metabolism. On the other hand, without protein, cats are weakned further. They seem to know instinctively, which some doctors also know, that the protein content in raw meat/fish is absorbed almost completely by the body leaving little or no toxic waste for removal. If you are unfortunate enough to have a CRF cat in your family, please do not force him to eat the usual Renal Diet which he will probably find unappealing.  A raw fish diet is just fine. They seem to know their health better than we do. Chew had stopped eating rice almost completely. It was not until the blood work was done that we knew he was diabetic. Please don’t force your cat to eat what he doesn’t want to. Understand that he may be terminal, and he needs all the love and care that you can give him. He might not understand why you have put him on a restricted diet, especially when his inbuilt mechanism is telling him to go exactly for the food that you will not let him have. Dr. Banerjee tried his best, but after the final blood work, he simply said, ‘There is nothing more that we can do; give him whatever he wants to eat; let him remain happy and comfortable’. We hope we were able to do just that.

Another symptom – very important when you have to diagnose a doctor: a real doctor will not lament that animals cant talk , that they cannot tell us of their grief. A real doctor will know. And in spite of his knowing he will insist upon tests just to make sure that his diagnosis is correct. Both Dr. Chatterjee and Dr. Banerjee are associated with Moitri. I really have no idea why Dr. Chatterjee could neither diagnose the problems nor bother to get blood tests done when he could see that the animal that was his patient could not talk to us.

This article may be found in my website in this page. There is much that I would like to put in here, including a review of vets that I have come to know personally, and where one can find decent facilities for animals in Kolkata, as also what to avoid. I also intend to publish my own experience with Alternative Remedies and their efficacy as far as animals are concerned. Please visit in a month for updates.

Written by kapush

July 30, 2008 at 11:09 am

Posted in Animal Welfare

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STOP THE SEAL HUNT: please follow the link below…

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I got this through email first, and then came upon this site: please let us do something. Visit the link below to learn more:


Written by kapush

May 20, 2008 at 6:55 pm

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It has been some days since the Pavlov incident. For those who do not know about it: female inmates were found without their clothes on because clothes were being laundered. Such is apparently the norm. The doctor who protested was threatened/ beaten up by the class IV staff. A protest meet was organized in front of the Academy of Fine Arts on March 15 this year. A handful of us turned up.

I am not really part of the ‘us’. I do not as a matter of principle concern myself with affairs of human beings.  This was an exception, because, like I told anyone who cared to listen, the inmates were like animals, without voices of their own. I thought this was more in my line of work. Anyway, it was a pitiful gathering, some signatures were collected.  There was a Press Meet next, and another meet which I could not attend. Others did, I am sure.  You will find that this is not a very informative article. I have not mentioned any names, nor other details – not much anyway.Well, as the title says, this is just a reminder. I could have written an article with everything in it when things were ‘happening’. I thought I would wait and see if something else – something more could be done.

We need to keep reminding ourselves that there are too many things getting forgotten everyday. Perhaps another candlelight vigil to ensure that the law is taking its course without unnecessary delay? Public awareness, at least? An ex-inmate at the Press Meet said that the personnel at Pavlov would line them up without their clothes on and have fun at their expense. A doctor at the Meet explained this behaviour coming out of ignorance: people who did / do this are not aware that the mentally unbalanced can feel embarassment or shame or ridicule. Which probably means such behaviour would be fine if that were true. If you have no self awareness I can parade you naked and laugh at you with my friends. Right. This same doctor, when asked that if she knew about this all along why hadnt she protested, said that it was impossible to do anything alone. A public outcry was needed. Else, the very patients that she tried to protect suffered at the hands of his/ her toruturers the moment she left. Valid again.

On a different note, we have seen thousands of chicken culled over the past few months. ‘Culled’ is a euphemism for murder – by twisting their necks or burying them alive. ‘Pernicious’ is the word used to describe the human race by the Brobdingnang King in Gulliver’s Travels and I tend to agree. This ‘culling’ was done in front of children and sometimes, by children. A lot of money exchanged hands. I dont know if there wasnt a civilized method of culling. It became a festival of sadism. They were all out to get the chicken and wring their fragile neck. No discrimination was made between sick and not sick: kill them before they fall sick, and wring their neck because the basic assumption is that they are sick already. Now if these same children who have seen and shown no respect or empathy for life grow up to be vicious murderers or policemen or teachers or doctors.. who is to blame? Only Adhir Chaudhury protested, but of course, he is the bad guy, so how does it matter what he says? Right again.

I was wondering if I should title this article ‘Of Pavlov and Chicken’.

Written by kapush

May 15, 2008 at 9:22 am

Posted in kolkata, Political

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Fw: How low can humanity go – please sign this petition

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this is what i received via e-mail. i would say “the prestigious Visual Arts Biennial of the Central American” is what ought to be boycotted. one sadistic pervert practising his ‘art’ is one thing, but an association endorsing it-and the viewers appreciating it… i just dont know what to say.

the ‘artist’ defended his action by saying that he wanted to show the hypocrisy that allows dogs on the street to die unnoticed and cries foul at what he has done. well, he failed, apparently: the visitors took no notice of the dog. still, i wonder: how many of the people signing the online petition ever really cared to feed a stray? ever? when i signed there were 547620 signatures total. quite a lot. i didnt know there were so many animal lovers in the world. nice to know. nice indeed. i wish they would (perhaps they do already) take care of just one stray animal in their lifetime. that would be 547620 poor creatures saved from starvation and torture. if i were younger i would probably write a blog and send e-mails around on this. today, this will have to do i guess…

Subject: How low can humanity go – please sign this petition

Hi All,

this is a very serious matter…
In 2007, the ‘artist’ Guillermo Vargas Habacuc, took a dog from the street, he tied him to a rope in an art gallery, starving him to death.
For several days, the ‘artist’ and the visitors of the exhibition have watched emotionless the shameful ‘masterpiece’ based on the dog’s agony, until eventually he

Does it look like art to you?

But this is not all… the prestigious Visual Arts Biennial of the Central American decided that the ‘installation’ was actually art, so that Guillermo

Vargas Habacuc has been invited to repeat his cruel action for the biennial of 2008.

Let’s STOP HIM!!!!!

Copy and paste this link into your computer web browser http://www.petitiononline.com/ea6gk/petition.html
You’ll come onto the page where you can click on “sign the petition”,
On the next page you need to “preview your signature”, so click on that, then click “approve signature”
Please do it.
It’s free of charge, there is no need to register, and it will only take 1 minute to save the life of an innocent creature.
Please also send this e-mail to as many contact as you can… Let’s stop him!!!

If you want to double check all the above information you can Google the name of the ‘artist’ to see all I have just said corresponds to truth, .
Thank you

Written by kapush

April 21, 2008 at 8:53 am

Posted in Animal Welfare

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