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Buddy. I have known him for almost 2 years now. From the few times I have met him, I remember him as a hyperactive kid always looking for outlets to expend his energy, which more often than not ended in mischief. As much as his owners adored him, their professional commitments often left him in the care of elderly family members. With limited access to open space in the heart of Delhi, tending to a fast growing Labrador baby is no less than a feat you might agree, particularly for the elderly.

Recently, Buddy moved in with a new family as his owner finally made the difficult decision to give him away. Here’s a message from his new parents:


“Hi! Thanks a ton for giving Buddy to us. He’s the kind of pet we always wished for: non temperamental, relaxed and extremely loving. We enjoy and take pride to introduce him to our friends and they admire him for being so well mannered. He’s loved by everyone who meets him and we adore him for the way he follows us around. Thanks again for such a wonderful and beautiful buddy!”

In as little as few weeks, uninterrupted love, care, attention, and most importantly, the freedom to simply hang out has brought about a beautiful transformation in this kid. Being in a space where he is loved like the family’s baby has given him the opportunity to be the best he can be – a gentle, calm and loving soul.

The right environment can do that to animals… and to People.

Through experience, I have come to believe that our environment plays an important role in how we think and act. Whenever the leash is taken off and people are set free, at work or in relationships, they get the opportunity to shine and reach their maximum potential. The beautiful transformation that follows is nothing less than a cosmic event.

Every living soul, when it is nurtured with love and light and freedom, gets inspired to make the most of its capabilities.

For a long time, I carried deep hatred for the juvenile who got away with a lighter sentence and now languishes in a correction home in Delhi. The news said he came from a broken family and had run away from home in his early teens. That, however, is no justification for someone turning into a beast, is it?

And hence, feeling compassion for such a brute was unimaginable to me. Until one day someone said to me, “Perhaps if he had been brought up in a loving home, if he had got the education and the choices you and I got, he would have been something else.”

As it is carrying negativity towards people is a burden on the soul, it bogs you down. So this thought gave me the much needed opportunity to picture this person in a different environment, in a setting where he could have flourished into a sensitive, civilized, normal individual.

Today, I am not sure if I have forgiven him. But I don’t feel hatred towards him anymore.

It’s interesting to see how establishments around the world are acknowledging the value of positive environment and the difference it can make in performances and outcomes. By establishments I mean  – corporate entities willing to invest in creating positive workplace experiences for their employees, governments that are being forced to wake up to the collective social outcry, and at the micro level, the mindful parents I keep bumping into every now and then – parents who are willing to deviate to unconventional ways of upbringing so long as it allows their unique child to retain her uniqueness.

Children make do with the environment they are given and accept it as a way of life because they haven’t seen anything better. My child is the future of this society. I need to constantly remind myself to not force my ideologies and opinions on him, to allow him to grow into a free, positive soul with no leash holding him back.

The need to be in control is so built into a mother’s DNA that this one needs constant work.

But, we shall overcome. One day at a time.