There’s a temple right next to where we live in Chennai. We have a view of the road and shops from our windows.
A mother and daughter duo have a (roadside) temporary shop to sell flowers by the side of our gate. They buy loose flowers from the wholesale market in Parry’s corner and weave them into garlands here.
Two cats, one a golden brown and another, a grey-white, join and give them company when they set shop twice daily.
It is so nice to watch the cats display their affection by waiting and welcoming the two ladies and caressing themselves against their dress with their tails held upright. The ladies pat them and settle down to work while the cats rest beside them keeping an eye on all who come to buy stringed flowers.
And then there is a man who comes peddling a bicycle to drop off food packets for the stray dogs. It is cooked rice mixed with some boiled milk. A philanthropist, some streets away, has the rice cooked in huge quantities, engages this elderly man to leave portions at street corners where stray dogs frequent. Her philosophy is, dogs do not hunt but depend on humans for food, so she wants to do her bit for their cause. Cats join in and so do some humans for a share of it!
The old man carries a big bucket of food, ladles a portion on a piece of paper kept inside a plastic carry bag. He leaves these carry bags on the roadside for a set number of animals at each spot. We know how territorial these animals can be so the man leaves only those many packets! All street dogs know his timing and they wait for him to come at the appointed time in the mornings and evenings.
These 2 cats too wait for him. On occasions, when I am home, I have watched this activity with much interest. But what I saw other than this food distribution is also disturbing. This man would keep two portions for the two cats. He would also hurriedly pack four additional portions in a single carry bag and hand it to the ladies. They carry it home. That’s their lunch and dinner! Wonder whether the animal-lover knows whether a portion of her charity is shared by humans too.