08.01.2013 - 04.02.2013
Often we would be referred to as either A..J and Uni (Ooni) or just Doctor or Madam/Sir during our time at the Sanjay Gandhi Animal Care Centre (SGACC) in New Delhi, our first and certainly an eye-opening stop on our journey! Our days were shared between operating theatre (with Abi, also a previous Edinburgh Dick Vet) where we were always entertained by cheerful mobile phone ringtones and enthusiastic grinning staff who did their best as we all tried to communicate using familiar gestures and smiles, checking post-ops (in the renowned 'K10' where the street dogs go both to recover, lick their wounds and fight one another, all in equal measure!), help out in the 'intensive' intensive care unit (with Anna & Allen, also Dick Vet survivors!) lots of broken legs, distemper, rabies...you name it, see to the farm animals (hundreds of sheep, goats, buffalo & the odd pig) with an array of tropical problems & the of course the overflowing puppy unit and wards for dogs in heat (where they are kept serenely and safely away from the males to prevent further pregnancies).
We came across many strange and foreign cases, such as a cow who had gun shot wounds(!!) after being caught in a cross-fire between the Delhi Police & illegal slaughter-house workers....only in India! A wee monkey who was caught in the bonnet of a car & was saved. Also, lots of railway injuries, but all of these would teach and remind us of the sheer bravery and survival instinct of these animals, such as endearingly named 'Stumpy' the Labrador pup who would happily munch on her own radius whilst awaiting amputation!
We spent a delightful morning in the sun on the way to work trying to catch a timid street dog - took 5 vets, 1 family and the charity owner. Had to push the car along a few roads every morning to get the engine running. Went walking along the streets during lunch-hour and would get followed by an entourage of 30 children wanting to have their photos taken and were very sweet.
Venture into Old Delhi -
We took a day off to explore the twisted and turning alley-like dust-track streets of Old Delhi's 'Chadni Chowk' where we hopped on a cycle-rickshaw to join the bustling atmosphere. After getting suitably lost in the maze of the markets we decided to follow the sounds of some Indian beats coming from round a corner & before we knew it were whisked into a family gathering to celebrate the birth of a child - we threw some coconut in a holy fire, had a fingerprint of red bindi placed on our foreheads and danced around in joy!! The granny looked super happy with us!
Agra and Jaipur were awesome, the Taj was stunning and saw tons of sights in Jaipur.....rode an elephant (Euan's first).
Landed in Calcutta which has been awesome.. Dad's been showing us around - the Ganges, the fish market, Victoria Memorial, Mother Theresa's Hospital, Kali Temple where they feed the poor everyday, Howrah Bridge, the Zoo - white tigers & hippos. Visiting the family - Euan seems to be going down a treat!! My uncle very enthusiastically and with a toothy grin would call him 'Calcutta Boy' whilst holding his hands in his. He also read his palm...was pretty funny! One aunty whom we visited in Chandannagare also seemed overjoyed to meet him, asking him to even dance for her (rumour had it he could dance....). The family are all so loving and there's been plenty of affectionate face-squeezing!
Also LOVING the broken auld English you get here, "What is your good name Sir?" and "What is your mother country?" It's brilliant!
OK so that took a veeeery long time to write on this old-fashioned computer in Calcutta so will add more news another time, still not able to upload photos yet though! Missing you all. Lots of love from far away!!!! xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx