Is it ironic to be celebrating a day of love, in these trying times? There seems to be so much hate on one tiny planet. Children are gunned down in sick twisted retribution, artists are murdered and the pen is no longer mightier than the sword, the world lives from one battle to the next. Hatred is as short-sighted as it is narrow-minded; revenge is as pointless as it is overwhelming. Even Nature conspires and melts at its hinges, year after year.
Last weekend, a few people I know went a long distance in search of love. An old, abandoned dog had recently been rescued and rehabilitated, and she now needed a loving home. A young boy in Coonoor, Tamil Nadu, had seen her pictures and told his father that, since no one else would adopt her beautiful scarred soul, he would. The father got in touch with my friend and we decided it was time to hit the road and take Sarah, the Labrador, home. I spent three days in the company of three couples and one happy dog. The couples I’ve known for a while and their kindness, compassion, and hard work in the area of animal welfare no longer surprises me. It was Sarah who startled me.
With scars on her face, dents in her body, and a past that could only have been unimaginably difficult, you’d imagine that she did not understand love. If I’d been where she was, I’d be mad. But a long life of neglect and abuse seemed to have taught this dog only the language of love. Sarah loves quickly and gleefully. She was content in the arms of a caretaker at the trauma centre she was treated in; she gambolled into the laps of any one of her fellow road trippers with equal ease; she embraced the road like a seasoned traveller. And, a few moments after meeting the young boy with a big heart, she put her paw in his hand and signalled that they could do this thing: make a life out of hills, mist and an unforeseen love.
Along the way, I watched in amazement, the bystander in this sweeping gesture of love, lovers, husbands, wives, small kindnesses, and happy dogs. The winding mountain roads gently gnawed at my outlook. There is clearly no place for my cynicism in this world that I have chosen to become a part of. And this Valentine’s season, I hope the same is true for you. I hope you get to see the world with the people and things that can inspire nothing but love in you. There’s still plenty of it to go around.
Is it ironic to be celebrating a day of love, in these trying times?
I’d say we should be throwing caution – that imposter – to the winds, seeking out love actively, giving it freely to all creatures great and small. I’d say, go the extra mile, go many miles, share that love with the world.
Anoopa Anand is an editor, writer and animal welfare worker based in Bangalore, India. When she isn’t yearning to find her feet on different shores, she likes to work in animal shelters, read fiction, and do crosswords in auto rickshaws.
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