Friday, August 20, 2021

A Ferocious Fight To Save a Bird's Life - Well Done Parijatha!

All life is precious and this is something most of us believe in but do not act on. We do not act when we see people lying by the side of the road and get on with our lives lest our precious time gets wasted. So when we hear stories like this one from Parijatha who shared her experience yesterday, we feel so inspired, so good.

The crow stuck in the branches

8 am
The saga began at 8 in the morning when Parijatha (who lives in Malakpet), noticed a bird caught in the branches of a tree, hanging by its wing. She realised the bird was trapped and asked for help from a few neighbours. Suguru Ramesh, who is also the Chairman of the Hari Hara Kshetram temple near their house responded and tried to rescue the bird but it was stuck so high up in the tree that he could not make much headway. He informed the Police and GHMC, deputed some help, and went away because he had some prior appointment. He asked Parijatha to call him for any further assistance.

Ganesh and Chetan fixing the bamboo sticks

9 am

Parijatha searched online for information about how to rescue trapped birds and found an article in Telangana Today encouraging citizens to report instances of birds trapped in trees – the problem being caused by Chinese manja (which is used by youngsters for flying kites) which is made of synthetic that does not break unlike normal manja from which birds can free themselves. Parijatha called the numbers of a round-the-clock helpline (Forest Department I think) given in the article (1800-425-5364) and (040-23231440). She finally got a response on the 1800 number. The person on the phone asked her to call another number. She called and it was redirected to Verma, (80199 83083) who said he would send a volunteer and asked her to post the location, pictures and videos. 

Verma is from Animal Warriors (9553061691, 8977911911, 096978 87888). Now Animal Warriors is a group of youngsters who rescue animals, birds, reptiles – work with Blue Cross, People for Animals and Friends of Snakes – and carry out the major chunk of animal rescue operations in the city. 

10 am. 

The bird was flapping its wing tiredly, barely able to hold on. Distressed at the bird’s condition and its helpless state Parijatha called Verma again to find the progress of the rescue operation. He informed her that they were busy with another rescue operation near Afzal Gunj and all volunteers were engaged there. He suggested that she inform the Fire Department and the Disaster Response Force (DRF). He insisted that she call the concerned departments herself for quicker action. 

Parijatha called the DRF. One person picked up and asked for location and pictures. She followed up and he sent a response that Fire Department has been informed. She simultaneously kept pursuing with Verma. He informed that some volunteers would arrive soon and also if DRF attended the issue they would not come as another rescue operation was pending. Parijatha told them that no one has come yet.

Meanwhile Ramesh had called the MLA and Councillor of the local area. Ramesh gave their contact numbers to Parijatha and told her to request for help in rescuing the bird. Parijatha talked with them and requested for quicker action.

11 am

In about an hour’s time the first help arrived - Ganesh, an Animal Warrior. Parijatha asked him how one person could save the bird so high up and he said he had a colleague coming in and shortly, Chetan arrived. ‘

The youngsters figured they needed several lengths of bamboo to get to the crow which was so high up, and free it from the Chinese manja. They went around to the nearby construction workers and fruit sellers, found out where they could get bamboo, kept their bike as security for the bamboo sticks and returned with the bamboo. They tied the three sticks of bamboo together, tied some lit agarbatti at the end of the bamboo sticks to burn the manja and started their rescue operations. 

12 pm

In these last four hours Parijatha looked up into the tree branches at the hanging bird several times. Hoping and praying that it survives. Sometimes the bird would be hanging lifeless, tired of flapping in the air to free itself. ‘Is it alive or has it lost its life?’, Parijatha  thought, as she looked at it keenly. She sighed with relief each time the bird would start flapping again after a few seconds of stillness.

Meanwhile Parijatha also called the local MLA and Councillor who might have called some authorities because the Fire Department arrived with a fire truck between 12 and 1 pm. However the fire truck's ladder could not access the place where the crow was stuck as electric cables and tree branches were obstructing the access. So it was back to the bamboo sticks.

Parijatha was updating Verma about the rescue operation through pictures and videos throughout.  Verma coordinated the entire effort with Ganesh and Chetan till the end.

1 pm

Meanwhile Ganesh and Chetan found out that the bamboo sticks could not take the weight of the contraption they had built - the middle one was bending - so the boys went and bought another length of bamboo - four in all now. The two Animal Warriors and the 6 personnel from the fire department then engaged in the effort to burn all the strands of the manja that tied up the crow. Finally, with great effort, the crow was free.

Ramesh and the crow, and the Fire Department personnel

'The bird leaned on the stick for a while after it was freed,' said Parijatha. 'It must have been tired after having been stuck there perhaps all night and all morning. It was so beautiful to see it resting on the bamboo stick for a moment. After resting a while, it tried to fly, could not hold itself, and fell to the ground. Perhaps its wing was injured. I gave a shoe box and some water and the Animal Warriors took the bird away to treat it. It was highly satisfying.'

Parijatha was busy in the wedding preparations for her niece's wedding when she got into the crow’s rescue. 'What's the use of ornaments and dressing up well when this poor bird was dying out here? Will my heart be happy?,’ she said. I asked Parijatha if she was an animal lover and she said - no, not just animals, all humanity. What a lovely sentiment.

Parijatha and the entire team of warriors - Well done!

How beautiful is it that so many people come together and rescue a life. I fervently hope the crow survives. I also hope that people stop using this Chinese manja. I hope that the Animal Warriors do more such good work (I got inspired and donated a modest amount to it). I hope the Fire Department continues to do this great work too. Verma, Ganesh, Chetan, Ramesh and all else, great job. And for her relentless effort spread over five hours of constant persuasion and more than fifty calls to various organisations and individuals including the Telangana Forest Dept, Animal Warriors, DRF, GHMC, Malakpet Corporator, MLA, Fire Dept. - to Parijatha who fought heroically and finally got the crow freed.

I know Parijatha as a plain speaking, clear headed and passionate student of mine at the Department of Dance, University of Hyderabad and I am not surprised that she took up something like this. In class we would discuss personal leadership - taking ownership despite lack of a position - and I remember sharing some stories of personal leadership I had seen. I will now use Parijatha's story as one of the shining examples of personal leadership and how we can use our personal power to make a difference in the world. Fantastic work Parijatha and I am certainly inspired by this and I hope a few more who might read this blog to stop and care for all life. You never know what might happen once you begin. The whole world might join you and support your noble act.

Some important numbers in case you find animals and birds in distress

Animal Warriors-9553061691, 8977911911

Blue Cross – 9966629858

People For Animals – 7680968798

Friends of Snakes - 08374233366

Forest Department 1800-425-5364

And do check out these links

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