By Projit Basu
My connection with animals started when I was born. Both my grandmother and father were hospitalised at the time of my birth and my mother had to balance her time among the three of us. I was basically baby-sitted and taken care of by her pet, our little Pomeranian. She used to stay with me 24×7, keeping me in her protective custody. It was from that moment that my attachment with dogs began. As I grew up, we had an Alsatian, German Shepherd, Dalmatian, Lhasa, and now a Spitz.
My father taught me that animals are the best things that can happen to a human being, and he is the one who taught me how to communicate with birds, snails, snakes, etc.
We had around 42 separate kinds of birds at our house. We also had a tortoise, which is now with one of my friend, hale and hearty.
It was one of my pets who brought me in touch with Nayana, a history teacher in Delhi Public School, Joka, and now my wife. Nayana and I used to go to Dhakuria Lake. One day during my visit, I saw that she was trying to help a tremendously injured bird who was able to get up from the ground. I jumped into the situation and saw that she was a baby eagle and her wing was injured. I took her to my home, nurtured her and after a few days, she was well enough to fly. She flew away but she never forgot me. Till today, every afternoon she comes to our roof and eats fish from my mother’s hand. That was the beginning of our relationship and my knowledge about birds.
Later on, Nayana’s pregnant pet dog had labour pains in the middle of the night. As my house was not very far from hers and I was the only person available, she called me up for help. Literally out of pure instinct and with the help of Google, I successfully helped her deliver 9 healthy puppies. Till today, when I rethink that moment, I can’t forget that awesome feeling – their first breathing, holding 9 little lives in the palm of my hand.
Eventually Nayana and I got married and due to space crunch at my family home, we shifted to our own place, a rented apartment. We soon realised that it is very hard for us to live without pets, but we can’t keep any since both of us are working. In no time, we realised that potential pets are all around us. Whenever we stood at the bus stand, dogs from everywhere would come to us, and we couldn’t ignore them. So we started feeding them and after a certain time, they all started gathering in front of our apartment at dinner time. Somehow animals do realise whom to love and who will take care of them. Somehow they know that we will be home at night and they figured out where we live.
Now, life is very simple. Their dinner is on us, and this has been going on for the last 2 years, and even if we are late, they wait patiently. At night they sleep in our compound. They are so sensitive that they know people from other flats do not like them, so they leave early in the morning before others are up. They will however catch up with me or my wife when we catch the bus to go to work. So now we have pets – a total of 9 Roadatians who are dependent on us. Beside that, we have 5 dogs – Milky, Pluto, Honey, Tiger & Dona – and two aquariums and my parrot Chi Chi at my parent’s home.
I realised in case of human beings that it is not very easy to maintain a relation, because human beings do not value unconditional love, we measure everything based on wealth. But when unconditional love comes in the picture, responsibility comes and maintaining responsibility is a big thing. Animals just want our attention and love and I can vouch that in times of need, one will find out that only they are the ones standing beside us.
Caring for animals has taught me the greatest virtue of unconditional love – the benefit you get when you love someone unconditionally, without expecting anything in return.
I have learnt that if you do your job out of love without expecting what you are going to get in return from the company, then you will not only get a lot more satisfaction but you will also grow a lot in your career. As of now I am doing what I can within my limited resources but I believe that in future, if I get an opportunity, I will build a sanctuary where any animal can find their place and live happily.
Projit Basu is Senior Executive – Technical & Safety, Apeejay Shipping Limited. He and his wife are 31 years old. His work entails looking after 4 ISO certifications – 1) Quality (transfer of goods without damage and in time), 2) Environment Conservation (prevent environment pollution by ships or shipping staff), 3) Energy Management (usage of optimum energy & conservation of energy & prevent pollution) and 4) Employee Safety (ensure employee safety by preventing occupational hazards)