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“Rani Comes Safe Out of the Ruins”

One of the pleasanter outcomes of the ongoing newspaper wars in Bombay triggerered off by the launch of Hindustan Times, Bombay Edition and DNA has been the dramatic flight to quality of all including the incumbent, Times Of India. “The Mumbai Mirror” is a something† the Times now distributes free with the main paper and good , hard, well reported stories often appear there now. Here is one moving one wriiten by Sachin Haralkar. on July 29th, 2008. The story could do with some professional copy-editing, but I thought it best to reproduce it in its original form. It †evokes so well the strong community spirit that exists even within the crumbling buildings of old Bombay.

The dog, with 10 new-born puppies, was trapped in Parelís Dalvi building, which came crashing down on Monday. Sanjay, a resident of the area, risked his life to save her.

†††† The greater love is motherís; then comes a dogís; then a sweetheartís.This Polish proverb found a meaning on monday when a man risked his life to save a dog and her new-born puppies from Parelís Dalvi building even as it was crumbling and coming down.

†††† The building, which once housed the CPI headquarters and was the battleground between cadres of the Left and a rising Sena in the late Ď60s, was evacuated two years ago as its fall looked imminent.

†††† On monday, half of the four storeyed building came tumbling down first.As fire brigade officials rushed to the spot on being informed, they were told by the crowd assembled in the adjacent building that the dog, Rani, which had given birth to 10 puppies just four days ago, was trapped on the second floor.

†††† Though the firemen were ready to go inside the building that was still coming down, they had one apprehension Ė the dog would pounce on them fearing harm to the puppies.

†††† As they stood there undecided, Sadanand Sawardekar, who lives in the next building, suddenly remembered the man who could do the job.It was Sanjay Satpal, an HDEFC executive who used to feed the puppies with milk and biscuits and had thus earned the love of their mother as well.

†††† Sadanand then called up Sanjay, who rushed upon learning about the incident. Once on the spot, Sanjay, escorted by three firemen, hurried up to the second floor where Rani, though scared herself amid raining bricks and stones, was resolutely guarding her puppies lest any harm come to them.

†††† Upon seeing Sanjay, Rani seemed reassured and showed no protest when he started keeping all 10 puppies in a gunny bag he had carried with him.All along, the firemen with him stood at a discreet distance.

†††† The story didnít end here. Even as Sanjay was taking the puppies out of the gunny bag placed at a safe distance from the crumbling building, Rani the mother instinctively snatched one of them and ran back towards the building, little knowing the danger that awaited her.

†††† †But Sanjay did not give up.He knew Rani trusted him.He once again went in to the building dodging raining bricks and found Rani crouching with the puppy in a safe corner.After getting a tender pat, Rani obliged and came out with him and the puppy.

††††† Finally, Rani and her puppies were put up at a community centre in the adjacent housing society.


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