We bought the new house on the banks of a tank in the 1980s. It was a big room in the center of a plot of 300 square yards. My younger sister was very young. We were buying milk for her regularly. As there was grass growing on the tank bed, buffalos were commonly seen grazing around. With receding water in the winter and summer, the lush green grass used to grow. So, My Mama Mr. Veera Reddy, that is my mother’s elder brother had sent a Buffalo from his village, Regadi Mamidipally. To take care of this buffalo – for grazing, providing drinking water and giving it a bath once every day, my mother engaged one girl called Munni. The milking was done by my father or mother daily twice. Then we had good quality milk and curd every day. We had plenty of cow dung for sprinkling around the house and cow dung cakes as fuel for the biomass stove. As we were small, we watched it with curiosity and sometimes took it for grazing with a rope. There were paddy fields nearby. Sometimes the buffalo attracted and drifted into the paddy fields for grazing. We were having trouble from the farmers. After few months we have sold it.
After a few years of getting into the house, we had a compound wall built. Then we started having dogs and hens at home. We had country chicken at our home for several years. They were free range chicken. For the chicken, we made a small makeshift house. In the nights they were staying in them. To protect them from cats it was protected with a tin door. The whole day they roamed and fed in the neighborhood and on the banks of the tank. They liked eating earthworms and other insects very much. We were also giving grains as feed sometimes.
Inside our house, near the ventilator, there was a pair of sparrows always living there. They brought in the straw and twigs from outside to make a nest. My mother used to wake up early and also the birds. The chirping of sparrows and the calls of the chicken was the natural wake-up call for us. Nowadays it is very rare to see the sparrows living inside houses. The corrugated asbestos roof sheets above and the supporting wooden beams always gave a chance for the birds to have a nest. In the new building architecture, there is very less scope and niche for birds to have nests. The sparrows altogether disappeared for various reasons, only recently I can see some sparrows reappear in our neighborhood.
The pet dogs we had in the home were all local breed. Rani, Tomy, Subramanyam were the names of our three dogs that we had in a span of 10 years. The first dog Rani once gave birth to a litter of puppies. It was raining heavily, and the water entered into its den. My mother brought them inside the home, cleaned them with a cloth and made their stay comfortable. As our house was the last house in the basti (a lower-middle-class and middle-class residential area) and we had the threat of thieves, so they provided lots of security and company too.
In 2008 I brought a few love birds, pigeons, and rabbits. Although I gave them lots of space to live and I did not like caging them like that. So, soon released all of them.
At the research center started near Jangaon, again I started having some pets. This place was very open. I brought the local breed of cocks and hens from the Thanda’s (Lambada Tribal Hamlets). They were so majestic with bright and colorful feathers. Also brought some Guinea fowl, it was said that the snakes are afraid of the Guinea fowl because this place had lots of snakes including Cobras, Banded-kraits, and Russel vipers. This place was half a kilometer away from the village and surrounded by the fields. In the night the wild cats locally called Janga Pilli visited the center and ate them, in a few weeks time all the Guinea Fowl disappeared.
A cat called sweetie, dogs named Biochar (it was pitch black in color), and Mallanna were there at the center for a couple of years. As they were living in isolation and there was no one at the center in the nights, after few months they left the center and started residing in the village with other dogs. Recently the Labrador dog named as Zen was brought home as my children wanted one. But as space was less for its activity, it was left in one of our village with a family. Recently, when I met after five months, it was so joyful. I felt its love and warmth.