The Path Less Travelled
Every morning at 6:30 a.m., you will see without fail a red two-wheeler heading out of an apartment building in Lower Parel, with two huge containers of food. The bright spark in her eyes and the smile on her face is an indication of her passion for taking care of her little kingdom.
Ritu Saluja has been an animal rights crusader for over 35 years and as a teen would rather miss her classes but never an opportunity to help a street animal. One of her earliest memories is of getting into a fight with a family for locking up a puppy in a car.
Trained by Ms. Sengupta she started her full-fledged social work on the streets with the animals from 1998 in Delhi, beginning with a sterilization drive for street animals and volunteering time at the Sanjay Gandhi Animal Centre. She later moved to Mumbai and for over 15 years has been taking care of over 100 street animals, running feeding and sterilization programs, and conducting awareness programs in Worli, Lower Parel & Mahalaxmi.
She rides into the small, narrow streets of Parel and beyond with the sole purpose of feeding the stray dogs and cats. Not even the coronavirus could deter her from her goal. She also turns vet, nurse, and groomer and knows each animal by its name. In turn, each of these dogs and cats knows her and look forward to her arrival every single day. She feeds them home-cooked meals each day and gives them treats every other day.
Her new venture is to provide a home for stray cats and has officially adopted over 50 cats and started her very own cattery where they will be loved and can age with dignity! What makes it even more creditable is she does this singlehandedly with no funding or help from anyone else. One often wonders what could be the source of such untiring energy and passion. For every cruel action, there is an equal and opposite reaction – and it takes just one good soul to make a difference.