A Bhutanese refugee,she works at an animal shelter in Kathmandu.Past mid thirties she is still single.I’ve always seen her in a pair of rubber boots,old dirty clothes(though i’ve seen her wash them time to time),ruffled hair and an always ready to pounce attitude.
She’s very cranky ,and one’s very much inclined to dislike her.when I meet her outside the the shelter’s premises I try to avoid her,matter of fact everyone who knows her does the same.She just might shout at me there and call me names.No one tells her what to do.Once a friend of mine told her that she should take her food on time(she’s very weak and has been admitted to the hospital once),she retorted “doctor, timi dherai kach kach nagara ,afno kaam garna aayeko ki mali khuwauna aayeko?aafno kaam gara jau.”.Once we’ve waited for almost an hour for her to open the gate.She kept us waiting coz she was busy cleaning the dishes and then she decided to take a nap before opening the gate for us.
Now after working with her for almost 3 months I’ve come to see past the dreaded persona of deborah didi and see the pain that lies in those old eyes,the lines on her face telling their own stories of hardship.Her harsh words doesn’t make me as much furious these days,and now I ‘ve learnt to tolerate her lunatic behavior,for i know she’s letting out her frustration,her loneliness,her fear,her pain through her crazy ways.She single handedly loks after around 20 dogs and 5 cows,most of them needing special attention..She wakes up early everyday,goes to the shop to bring milk and meat for the dogs.She has to do to the cooking for ,cleaning, feeding of all the animals. Some of the animals there are so incapacitated they can’t eat by themselves so,Deborah didi hand feeds them. She goes to the nearby woods to collect fodder ,forages for the cows.It’ll be afternon before she gets time to cook for herself but most often she won’t get time to eat because she has to give water to the animals,collect the hay she’s spread to dry,pick up the cow dung,etc etc.and by the time she gets back to her food some dog might have probably finished it. the worst part is she gets such a nominal pay for working 24/7 that it wouldn’t cover our travelling expenses of the month,still she spends on buying milk for the dogs!!!!with all these and no one to share her feelings ,no wonder she’s like a volcanic mountain ready to erupt.
I consider myself an animal lover and it was the reason I became a vet.But can I ever do as much as Deborah didi’s doing for the love of animals?some day I might but I know it’s not easy.I respect Deborah di for her dedication towards animals,inspite of her craziness.