If you were to put a bowl of water outside for our city’s cows, dogs or birds, chances are you wouldn’t find it a few hours later. Once lapped clean – even if it isn’t blown away by the wind - you’d be lucky if you saw it the next day. To ensure this goodwill doesn’t go to waste and animals have their ‘water points’, the Blue Cross of India has been successfully distributing cement bowls as part of their summer water bowl project.
Despite the enthusiasm, the bowls kept outside are often stolen. As a measure to ensure otherwise, said Sathya Radhakrishnan, joint secretary of the Blue Cross, “We also arrange for the bowls to be cemented on the ground, on request. So far the response has been very good. We hope to distribute at least 750 bowls in total by the end of the summer.” The concept has been originally attributed to Sarita Raturi of In Defence of Animals (IDA) in Mumbai, though Sathya says the BCI quietly began well before her.
Launched in March, the project offers animal lovers cement bowls free of cost, delivered at their doorstep if required. But given that they are getting plenty of requests to cement them down, most volunteers have taken to carrying a small spade and some cement with them. “So far we’ve distributed close to 400 bowls around the city,” said Nishanth Balthillaya, Blue Cross volunteer. “We get really busy on the weekends,” he explained, “with at least 30 deliveries made over Saturday and Sunday.”
Sivasankar N picked up two water bowls – one for his home in Guindy and the other for his parents’ house in Trichy. “It’s not just the dogs and the crows, even cows come and have a drink occasionally,” he added. With a capacity of close to three litres, these bowls offer generous quantities of water. However, Sivasankar adds, “With the cows the water finishes quickly and there have been times when we refilled the bowl up to eight times a day!”