Meet Jelly, our new watchdog

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The girls have wanted a puppy for a long time.  I’ve held off for several reasons.  One, is that dogs are not clean.  Their feet are like shoes — carrying in all the germs.  Two, I have my hands full and didn’t want another creature to worry about. Three, I miss my dog Rupee terribly, and even though she is happy where she is, with a family she loves and who love her, I couldn’t face having another dog.  It felt/feels disloyal, and still makes me tear up just thinking about her.  So that’s probably the real reason.

Streets here are full of dogs roaming.  We see puppies all the time.  One pup across the street from the school used to follow our girls into the school yard.  I held out.  Well, close to our house, in the lane just off the road, was a funny looking big eared black mother dog, and one of her pups who looked just like her.  I thought to myself, "now that’s a puppy I wouldn’t want.  She is so funny looking with her big ears."  About a week later this funny looking pup ran out in front of a truck and I yelled at the driver and he stopped just in time.  The pup wandered off, oblivious.  Then last week she came to our house, limping, with a handkerchief on her paw, covered with blood, and a bloody cut on her head.  We learned she had been hit by a scooter.  A neighbor had put the handkerchief on her paw and called the pet-line.  They come out at night and pick up injured animals.  The girls looked at the pup, and looked at me, and I said I would take care of her, and that we could keep her.  The pet-line people didn’t show up so I took her to the vet, who sewed up her leg.  The girls named her Jelly.  Jelly_9095w Jelly_9073w Jelly_9101 Jelly_9198

Jelly is a timid puppy.  The people who feed the street dogs say she is "not normal" and that she used to faint a lot.  They also agree she is not smart, which is why she has to be protected.  Our taking her has actually eased some local tensions.  Some people who have never spoken to me (or responded when I said hello) now ask how she is.  It seems important that my care extends to a street dog.  Jelly likes the food she got on the street, chicken and rice, to our usual vegetarian fare, so the neighbors still bring her some food when they make the rounds.

Jelly licks her bandage and nibbled at the loose gauze, but never tried to remove it.  She chews, but gently.  She chases flies and mosquitoes, and once barked at a cat passing by. I love just quietly sitting with her. I reflect on now having the dog I said I’d never want because she was so funny looking.  Irony is one form of order in the Universe.

Academy of Fine Arts

Afa_9306 One day last week I saw a notice in the paper about a photo exhibit at the Academy of Fine Arts in Kolkata.  I’ve been there a couple of times for functions.  The exhibit was closing in three days.  That meant either I go that afternoon or miss the show altogether, and I wanted to see it.  But I also thought the kids might like it, and they hadn’t been there.  So, last minute, I talked to the teacher and instead of class we went off to the Academy of Fine Arts.

Driving along on the the streets, well, stuck in traffic actually, we saw a mother putting a sheet of plastic down on the pavement and putting her young child down and then sitting.  The girls all saw, and I asked what they thought.  One of them said, shyly, "My mother did that.  I lived this way."  I asked how the girls felt, and they all agreed, "Sad."

Between the curbside and the entrance were many posters of plays, concerts, and other art shows.  The teacher and the girls read the placards, and talked about what we might go to in the future.    For the teacher, this was a first also.

The photo exhibit did not hold much interest but we wandered into the other galleries.  We saw different forms of art, and met several of the artists.  With each artist, I asked them to explain in Bengali what they thought about when they did their art, how it happened.Afa_9281

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Afa_9278 Afa_9272 Afa_9285 Afa_9296 Afa_9299 I never know how the pictures will appear in the blog, in terms of placement, but I don’t want to put them in separate albums — I prefer the one click read.  So, you can see from the pictures, the variety of art.  One picture, with a girl looking sad caught their attention.  One girl said, "crying, crying" and the others came over.  I asked the artist to tell them why he painted this picture, what he was thinking.  He explained to them in Bengali that he was thinking about her being poor, and her thinking about being poor… they connected, art in the mind, art on canvas.   

The girls quickly also learned that if they pointed out a "favorite picture" I would take a picture of them in front of it.  There were lots of "favorites."Afa_9287

Afa_9325 No trip is complete without ice cream, but even after the ice cream they read all the signs, posters, as we waited for Bijoy to bring the car.  Afa_9302

May 2008
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