Janaki is not just a cook. Poorva believes Janaki has magic in her hands. And when Janaki is not dishing out people’s favorite food, she feeds animals that visit her modest one-room house. From dogs to crows, cats to even squirrels, there is food aplenty for creatures of all kinds. Read more to know about Janaki’s love for animals and why this interview will make you go “aww”.
Janaki, 40 years, Cook, Bangalore
Interviewed by Poorva Dinesh
Why did you decide to give us an interview on pets?
I love all pets and animals from childhood. I love cow babies, buffaloes (laughs), doggie babies, cats…everything…all pets like birds, pigeons, squirrels. I love to feed them, taking care of them, I love them like my children (giggles).
Do you talk to them?
Yes, I talk to them. They understand my language if I talk to them. They understand me as though we were related (laughs). I love children and animals. If any animal gets hurt, I feel very bad(laughs).
I can see you are enjoying this interview! A story you would like to share with us?
Yes, yes. There is a story. As a child I used to live and work in a doctor’s house. They had a dachshund. When they brought it home, it was a baby. They called her Minty. Minty grew so close to me that she could not eat food or sleep without me. She was always like a child following me wherever I go. If I went to my parent’s house even for a day, Minty wouldn’t have her milk, and would keep looking at the gate waiting for me to return. The house owner used to tell me to take Minty with me, because she used to be moved to tears to see Minty like that. Minty just couldn’t live without me. She lived for 15 years. When she was 13 years, she got a lump under the arm. The lump gradually started getting bigger, and she had trouble getting up.
It must have been difficult to see Minty like that.
I felt very bad. In her last days, I used to cry a lot, I couldn’t even eat food for weeks. I was very restless, and was always by Minty’s side. One day, the owner wanted to introduce Minty to some guests who had come home. I remember it was a Wednesday late evening. She came and sat there, but was very sick. She kept staring at everyone. She took a bite of sweet from my hand, took three rounds, and fell down with her tongue sticking out. She was dead. I was very attached to her, but I have always been friends with other animals too. I have had both good and bad experiences with animals.
What are the bad experiences you have had?
Minty’s death has been a bad experience. When she was small, she used to play just like a small child would. It was easy to get attached to her. She used to come with me to buy vegetables, or accompany me on a walk. I used to call out to her and ask, “Minty do you want to come with me?”, and she would jump excitedly. For 15 years she was like my child.
Do the other members of your family like pets too?
No. In my house nobody is like me. My son likes animals but not as much as I do.
The last question has nothing to do with your interview topic. But we ask everyone we interview – what does love mean to you?
Love is great. There needs to be love in the world. Nobody can live without love (laughs).