Dear Members and Friends,
I have a generous and financially well-off friend who had business in India and was to fly here and would I come and spend 3 days with her, all expenses paid, at the Leela Hotel in Delhi. Yes, I would! I would come right away! Booked train, did nails, bought new clothes, looked at self in mirror and said “Yes now, you scruffy mongrel, you are ready for The Leela.” I swaggered off the train at Nizamuddin, skipped my usual Cum-Sum coffee in readiness for finer brews ahead, hurried into an auto and raced to the Leela. Dear Readers, you’ve perhaps never set foot in the joint: feels French, feels like French Saigon (no I’ve never been there); feels Russian Tzar; feels Moghul Emperor; feels big, bigger than Delhi, enormous bouquets of fresh flowers built using ladders and floating in the perfumed air. Glimmering all around are chandeliers suspended from a ceiling higher than, higher than the sky, People. Down below tapestries soft as moss, every corner a morsel of unexpected grandeur. I stride up to the desk wearing my best I-Own-It face. A half smile. My eyebrows slightly raised. “I’m checking in please.” “Your name?” “my name is blahblahblah. I am staying with your hotel guest So-and-so.” “So-and-so?” The receptionist looks deep into the crystal ball of his computer screen. “I’m sorry, we show no one by that name.” “Keep lookin’” I say, a model of tolerance. I foggily recall her maiden name. “Try such and so.” Receptionist seems to blush. “No, I’m terribly sorry. No such and so, either.” Well sh*t, I’m thinkin,’ was she kidnapped? “Ooookayyy,” I say with faux confidence. “So!” more quietly. “So. So, can you direct me to your wash room please?” “oh yes madam yes” (he’s patronizing me now, probably using ‘madam’ sarcastically.) I sit down on a tight weave silk and wool chair, and call her in America. “Ahhh, next month? August, not July?! Ohhh, silly! hahaha. No, no problem AT all. Hahaha.” The lobby bathroom is one of those Louis the Fourteenth ordeals with rolled up white face cloths in a gilded basket and hand lotion more expensive than I’d buy, steaming hot water… I use everything, right in front of the attendant. So, yes, yes, I’ve stayed in the Leela. I was there for an hour on 15th July, as a guest, almost. I paid a fortune to get home on a tatkal booking but wow, how sweet it felt to be where I belong, surrounded by dogs and donkeys and cows, their muddy paws and foody mouths all over me, just one of the freeloaders.
Tamil Nadu chief minister Jayalalithaa recently inaugurated dairy farms and godowns to the tune of Rs 11 crore, increasing the milk production of Tamil Nadu by 1.2 lakh litres a day. One has to wonder what will happen to the animals when they will stop giving milk.
Some laws in India provide for slaughter of cows that are injured. This often means that animals are beaten or injured profusely so that they can be slaughtered. This provides an easy loophole to anyone who is looking for a reason to slaughter cows for their meat/leather. Thus, the cycle of milk production directly feeds into the industry of meat and leather.
Fruits of collaboration
With IFA fast approaching, there is bubbling excitement and activity in the Jaipur federation which is playing co-host to the national conference. Members of J-FAPO met last week to plan to showcase their work to their guests next month and develop Jaipur into ‘the city that respects animals the most’. The federation is keeping its foot on the throttle with the camel vigilance campaign and charted out follow up actions for the same. Pune federation meanwhile has made steady progress in getting names of member organisations included in the internship programme of Maharashtra State Fisheries and Agirculture University. Activity in Kerala is now focused on three cities- Trivandrum, Thrissur and Kochin, with respect to the KFAPO-Drools adoption programme. Kochi is leading the pack with its first adoption camp scheduled for the end of August.