Day 30 - Rest Day
There was a moment when I went out to get some more ice and was faced again - if you will believe it - with my biggest issue of the trip. Racism. Not overt racism but racially motivated aggression due to the colour of my skin. This xenophobia as I have passed through their territory has altered my perception of the mongrels.... DOGS.
I have tried several techniques. The slow causal with no eye contact walk, 'The Hoff' puffed out chest that wouldn't intimidate a three year old, and finally a more abrasive shouting approach to let them know I am not scared - this one certainly didn't last very long!
So I vented my frustrations with a local who laughed and said so nonchalantly. "Just carry biscuits - dogs love them." I mean on paper it made complete sense. You get more with honey than vinegar - make love not war.
She underestimated, however, the power of racism entrenched in their system. They didn't hold their end of the deal and accept my olive branch. They refused to eat the biscuits. There was also the problem that more often than not, I ate the biscuits within 1 minute of buying them, or they ended up a crumbed mess in my pocket.
It was war. Enough was enough. PETA - yes my life is more valuable than a dog. I decided to meet fire with fire - the biscuits turned into baby pebbles that turned into the size of the Babinda Boulders as I genuinely wanted to inflict damage on this one particular day.
As per usual though - being calm works best and with their short attention span they hopefully/normally go away.
In all seriousness, it is a far more tragic problem for India than me as the country currently faces a rabies epidemic due to dog bites. Stray dogs number in the tens of millions and bite millions of people annually. An estimated 20,000 people die every year from rabies infections — many of them young children - this is more than a third of the global rabies toll.
Now I know animal advocates will be up in and arms but surely a cull tactic would be the best solution? However, I can only imagine the financial, logistical and cultural issues that would be needed to overcome and manage this major problem.