Magic Flying Carpet
Magic Flying Carpet

Like most idealists who come to India for the first time, we initially expected to see a storybook land of maharajas, magic carpets, temples and mosques to inspire our imaginations. However, living here on the ground with the people is far different than just touching the tarmac, going to a posh hotel and chronicling a visit with photographs once or twice a year. There is a harsh reality of having three times the number of people the US census claims all squashed into one-third the land space. To get some idea of what it really is, multiply your family by three and then imagine two-thirds less living space!  Or multiply your family by nine in the same living space.  That’s mind boggling.


At first I was repulsed by the filthy streets and buildings, until I considered how anyone would remedy it more than just inside whatever dwelling he claimed. Reportedly, the Brahman community has at least five baths a day and washes all vegetables and grains in five different waters before cooking. Others with less to work with don’t always do as well.  The little children are to be pitied the most.  Many years ago, families did not even name their babies until they were older because the likelihood of their survival was slim.  Thus the custom of having baby naming ceremonies and birthday parties came to be an important part of the culture.

Regular Folks

The garbage dumps, both those set aside by the government and the myriad, which are just outgrowths of carelessness, always seemed to bother me the most until I realized that some animals and even some humans subsisted on what they found there. Gradually I learned to ignore those unsightly places and be glad the the poor could find a meal.

Garbage Containers

These days I don’t usually cry about much of anything even though I used to when I was younger. Now that the “horrormones” have abandoned me, I have been able to endure much more than I ever believed I could. At times I have wanted to cry when an incredible sadness swept into my chest cavity, yet no tears came to give relief.  The children touch my heart the most.  I see them on the way to school every day and think how small and defenseless they are.  Yet in spite of all they endure, they learn and are happy.


That was pretty much my outlook until our grandchildren and their parents came to visit recently. One granddaughter has graduated from High School and is planning to go to college this fall. Her life has always been about animals and her career goal was to be a veterinarian. It was her attentiveness to one poor beast that made me cry for the first time in a long time.

Starving Dog
Starving Dog

Note the poor dog is nursing pups–literally giving her life for the lives of her offspring.  She had been hiding four little ones, three of which were dead within the month after they ventured out into the open, either from being eaten by bigger dogs or being poisoned by heartless humans.

Poor Beast 2 copy

Having read Freedom at Midnight, I Poolan Devi and other non-fiction documentaries about India, I know some humans have given their lives for their children.  Their bravery in the midst of poverty is beyond Western imagination.  Though it is impossible, even unthinkable, to give every man, woman and child a bed, it is possible to teach compassion and kindness in a world where those qualities seem to have disappeared.

And guess what?  I continue to feed this dog for my granddaughter’s sake even though she has gone back home. We have had the dog spayed and given her rabies and distemper injections.  She is good to go.

31 thoughts on “IT MOVED ME TO TEARS

  1. Just one comment to update this sad story…

    The wild dogs never really learn to relate fully with humans even if they are “tamed.” They may be out of the wild, but the never really lose their wildness.

    We named this dog Shadow. Shadow has “loved us” in her own way, joyful at finding a food source, jumping up always–hitting us like a bullet from wherever she was as soon as she saw us or heard our voices, but she never lost her love of freedom. That freedom led her to the main road last night and she was hit by a truck. One elderly gentleman found her this AM, and a friend named Sevya brought her home for burial. Our hearts have grown better for having known and cared for her.


  2. Seeing hope out of miserable conditions makes me feel that everything still has a chance. Thanks! Your post has reminded me of the small poor communities that I’ve visited before. To tell you, they were the happiest people that I’ve ever meet. Not that they have nothing but they know how to appreciate all the little things that they have. It makes you think twice of what happiness really means and it gives you a little hope – somehow to yourself.


    1. There is a story about a poor man in China who only owned one bowl and the clothing he wore. He was a happy enough man, but spent a lot of time protecting his bowl. Then one day he met a missionary who had known him earlier and the missionary commented, “You seem happier now, tell me, are you prosperous?”

      The poor man said, “No, I broke my bowl and now I have nothing to worry about.”


      1. Your story made me think about the philosophies of Taoism, particularly at wu-wei.
        But I can’t stand the idea of being a zen. I don’t know Beth. Maybe, I’m still young and want more success in life. I’m confused hahaha but thanks for sharing the story! 😀


        1. I am about to take a chance of double posting something, but here goes… Earlier today I answered your comment through my reader but since it was behaving strangely for some reason, I copied the message before it died.

          Hey! There were Stoics in the first century. Search for how the Olympics began. Those guys disciplined themselves beyond Western imagination and were content to be crowned with a wreath of leaves. No gold metals for those guys. I have another blog about marriage, the home and family. There is an article there about the simple life. See what you think.


    2. Kenneth,
      Early this morning I answered your comment through my reader. Did those come to you or was that a vain effort. They are not showing up here with the other comments for some reason.


    1. Mona, I have been reading from your blog recently and wanted to find a way to subscribe, but fear I have not so far. Didn’t we cross paths on Diana’s site? I think you may be the one from Germany who wrote a book about forgiveness? I am touched that anyone would think about such a topic, much less write a book about it.


      1. Yes, Beth. I am the person who writes about forgiveness. “When to Forgive:”

        and “Forgiving One Page at a Time,” also on amazon – a kind of personal diary of struggle and progress with forgiveness.

        I do believe forgiveness, alone with its companion gratitude, is essential to a good personal and community life.

        But I’m not from Germany. I’m in Minnesota, USA. (Originally from Connecticut.) I love being in the blogosphere where someone from another country, even with a native language other than English, sounds and feels like the person next door. And I so admire folks who communicate in English with such ease, even though it’s not their language.

        I’m not sure how I got to you, but I liked what I saw and read when I arrived.

        I hope you have figured out how to “follow” me by clicking on “follow” and confirming by e-mail when they ask. It’s a pleasure being in contact.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Few today have that mindset–either to forgive or to be thankful. You are a rare person.

          I am glad to know you are one of “us” and can ‘speak our language.’ I guess your name is what gave me the impression you were foreign. Did you see my recommendation of your blog on the site. Scroll down a bit and see what I said about you. Most of it was true. 😉


  3. a touching post – the story of the dog is especially heartening. she seems to be symbolic of others, including people, who need help, and who you are able to touch, one life at a time. thanks for sharing.


    1. You are perceptive; it truly is one person at a time. The old adage about teaching a man to fish rather than giving him fish is so appropriate here. Thanks for stopping by and reading.


    2. You may have noticed one of the WordPress long reads suggested this site:

      850 Calories
      When budget issues led the United Nations to reduce food support to refugees in central Africa, most of the world didn’t hear about it. One blogger did, and is now challenging the rest of us to spend a day living on the equivalent of one day’s rations: 850 calories. He uses visuals to build a bold, engaging site that draws us in with photos.


  4. You’ve got to be “tough” in heart, mind, might and soul (Col 1:11) and heart-filled love and compassion if you are going to spend “eternity” like you and bro Dennis are in that part of the world. (Phil 4:13)
    Glad that the helpless canine and its family got your attention.

    Your experience is a lesson to us. Thank you.

    Amy Yeow


    1. I wonder if being tough is the key? Maybe love for God’s people drives me.

      That “helpless canine” is barking to protect her turf the last few nights. We need a word or two with her if she is going to hang around.


  5. Hi Beth! Thank you for the follow. I just clicked on your blog.. and I feel really blessed today– just seeing your latest post.. I know I’ve met another Kindred Spirit. Thanks for letting me find you. I’m excited to grow from you– via your blog. Have a great Sunday.


  6. Thanks for the likes. So far I can see your avatar or gravatar, but have not figured out how to respond to you. If you comment, I know how to answer those. 😉


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