Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Give Them Wings! campaign - Part II

In response to my campaign to free birds that are being sold in cages, reader Nitin Arora, said 
"As an animal lover you would love to see everyone free and it will satisfy your emotions. But my concern is, your campaign will indirectly help flourish the shopkeeper's business. And tomorrow you will see the same birds, perhaps at the same shop which has only grown bigger, with more number of birds ending up in cages."
Thank you Nitin, for raising a very valid concern. How could I forget the economics behind the bird business? Silly me. Thought emotions were more powerful than money to change this world.

People, please STOP buying these birds. 

According to the PETA law-
  • It is illegal to catch, keep, buy or sell birds.
  • The law applies to all indigenous birds, as well as foreign birds, except for the love birds  and the blue rock pigeon.  It is punishable by a fine as well as upto five years in prison.
    I am familiar with the Indian judicial system, so not much hope with the punishments there. Awareness is what is going to help stop this menace.

    Please help spread the message.

    Also, please leave the addresses of any bird shops you come across, in the comments space below. I'll prepare a list of defaulters and send it to PETA India. 

    Friday, January 21, 2011

    Give Them Wings! campaign

    My friends and I were walking down the street outside our college one of these days, when we came across that old bird shop near there.

    It's a small shop that keeps a variety of very tiny and extremely cute birds in cages :(  Sometimes 10 or more stuffed in one cage. But now that I think about it, perhaps those are better off than the ones who have to languish all alone in those cages. For, there's someone to share their misery with.

    Not that they speak to each other and cry or laugh. But, they definitely cuddle, tweet (the original meaning of the word) and tweak with their beaks. Those moments are meant for the camera!

    Some of the cages are empty though. Those birds were lucky to find loving owners (hopefully), who don't keep them in cages, or at the very least, much bigger cages, where they can do the one thing they were meant to do - FLY! 

    This wasn't the first time we had come across that bird shop. Every time I had crossed it, I felt for the birds, I wish I could open the cages and let them fly, but at the same time, I knew I was helpless, I couldn't open the cages and let them fly. Why?

    Because the owner claimed them to be his for he had captured them from forests. But is that enough to make those birds his property? What if I kidnapped a human from his house? Can I claim to be his owner? The world would go berserk if they let such a thing happen to humans.

    Here's an idea one of my friends came up with, that day -

    A pair of birds costs Rs. 400 in that shop. So he suggested that we all contribute the money (there were 5 of us), buy a pair and set a pair of birds, free. Give them wings!

    Friday, January 7, 2011

    Parties with strangers are the ones most interesting - Part 1

    Everyone has been going gaga over the new year and how wonderful it's going to be. Yet, a week of 2011 has passed and I don't share the enthusiasm that has suddenly engulfed the world.

    Turns out, I haven't been able to get over my relationship with 2010 yet, to be able to look at 2011 with the same love.

    Starting from the orientation trip to Ranikhet, where none of us knew each another, to the Aurobindo orientation trip to Puducherry, where many of us still didn't know each other, it's been a worthwhile experience.

    The first trip reminded me of how our school trips used to be - memorable. It was not just the place you explored, but the people you went with, too.

    The gang, though a few are missing.
    We were allotted rooms with randomly chosen room mates, which was a great ice-breaker. Now I know what arranged marriages must feel like :P living with a stranger is sure fun, for the first few days at least. I was lucky to get one of the most interesting persons in my class as room mate, Priam (way to go, Miss photographer!).

    View from the room
    The view from our rooms was beautiful! It was reminiscent of the view points that tourist guides take you to on hill stations and show mountain peaks through telescopes. Here, we didn't need any telescopes. Just go to the balcony and see massive snow-covered mountain peaks with the yellow streak of the sun peeking through, hazy surroundings blurring the scene as clouds came over - the scene is almost like that typical drawing children make - the one with the mountains, the sun and the river. Thanks Gunjan, for the beautiful resort

    The BIG bright roses
    Unlike what people might tell you about rains and the hills, the rainy season is the best time to go to Ranikhet. The place was so beautifully green, all washed and clean with bright orange and yellow flowers standing out.

    I have been to quite a few hill stations in India and Ranikhet definitely features among the top 3. It is not as commercialized as Shimla or Mussoorie, thanks to the army presence. It has a bigger green cover than many others, is more peaceful and quiet, gets less tourists and has a relatively low population.
    Nature walk

    But moving on from the beauty of the place to the things we did there - A team of mountaineers had arrived from Delhi to organize a number of interesting activities for us - nature walks (filled with interesting anecdotes from their mountaineering expeditions), team-building games (great ice-breakers, a lot fun and too many to expand on here), adventure sports (slithering, river crossing without a river) bonfire fun (complete with scary ghost stories, poor jokes, hard puzzles and an entangling game we used to play as kids, I can't remember the name of). 
    The team for the play
    Next came the presentation all of us had to prepare to capture the genius loci (contact me to learn what that is :P) of the place. I had a lot of fun working on the script of the play we had created. The play was the fictional love story of Raja Sukherdev and Rani Padmini, after whom Ranikhet has been named. I don't how much we managed to make the audience laugh, but we were rofl the entire time.

    At night, we celebrated Eric's (our Associate Dean) one year anniversary in India, with a yum cake. His kids had joined us for the trip. They are just so adorably cute! Eli with all his energy and the long-tailed "Whyyys" :P and Mika, my TT partner in Ranikhet ;) A live orchestra played in the mess hall for a few nights. It was nice sitting in the room, sipping hot soup and listening to the musicians sing. The lead singer sung the sad romantic numbers with a strange passion. Lost love?

    The last night in the resort
    The last day in the resort was the best night of the whole trip. Most of us had bonded well by that time and had found our groups. And so we sat in Preeti's room and played the age-old games of Dumb Charades and Truth and Dare. I got the dare to climb into Aaron and group's balcony around midnight, decked in a white bed sheet with my hair open and falling on my face, to scare them all. But I managed to scare Aaron even before I stepped onto the balcony. His face was literally white when I saw it! Apparently, he got scared by the whispers we were making in my attempt to climb over, and the glimpses of the white sheet he could see in the night.

    But the best dare was given to Manisha, who had to go to Bejoy's room (our other Associate Dean) again around midnight, and ask him if she could have something vegetarian instead of omelettes for breakfast next morning. All, except one dish in our meals, were vegetarian. But Bejoy was too sleepy to notice that. He just answered with a, "Sure, okay" :P and closed the door.

    The cafe was called "The Cafe"
    I remember this person in the group who would pass smiles at me, on and off, without reason, and I would never understand why. I would just think - what a sweet person. And now we're great friends, Radha!

    And last, but not the least, on the last day of the trip, a group of us (Radha, Dodo, Nehal, Abhay and I) went to a nearby cafe. It had a very interesting decor, with artifacts from all across India. Great view and an interesting owner. She keeps rabbits and a dog in her house, which is built just below the cafe. A must visit if you ever go to Ranikhet.

    That's all I can remember about the trip for now. Have fun!

    P.S - Part 2 of the post coming soon - Time spent on campus.