Our intern Mehreen recently got the opportunity to talk to the oldest cleaner at ACF, Meeru. He decided to join ACF upon its inception three years ago, and has never looked back since. The conversation was as follows:
“What do you like the most here?” I ask.
“That’s a difficult question to ask!” he smiled. Tilting his head to one side, he paused for a second, and then continued. “I love how the animals here respect and love me. They follow me around during mealtimes and randomly nuzzle me when I least expect it. It makes me feel cherished and valued. Love and respect are not often bestowed upon people like me”. He chuckles ironically.
“What about the people here?” I continue.
“Oh, they’re achey log. I enjoy it when visitors come here; it adds freshness and life to the place. I may not say much to them, but I feel very happy to see people treating animals so well.”
“What saddens you?”
“Lots of things. I hate it when any animal dies here. All of us get so attached to the animals, so much so we treat them as our friends. Recently one of my favourite puppies passed away.” He pauses, and then adds, “bohat bura laga tha mujhey”.
“Anything else?” I ask.
“I also don’t like it if someone is rude to the animals here. Just because animals cant respond doesn’t mean you should abuse them or treat them badly. They’re living creatures, just like us.”
I agree with him, and then ask, “What’s the most difficult thing about your job here?”
“Oh don’t get me fired!” he jokes, then adds, “I don’t think there’s amything difficult, I enjoy working here a lot. If there were anything at all, I’d say the cleaning gets very tiring. These animals are quite naughty!” he points at a group of dogs resting nearby. “They dirty the place very often. Always keep me on my toes!”