Snippets:Kallumooti the helping dog,

Auto mate Kallumooti

A barking dog is always good, not only because it seldom bites but also because it has great salesmanship potential. At least that’s what the autorickshaw drivers at a railway station in Kerala believe, thanks to Kallumooti. The said Kallumooti, a dog, has brought them precious business, especially at night. For the past five years, the stray has been following a fixed daily routine—it arrives in front of the railway station around dusk and is on duty till early morning, barking to attract the attention of those alighting from trains and buses.

At night, when passengers may find it difficult to find an auto in the dark, Kallumooti lends a helping hand, signalling that there are vehicles waiting to be hired. As and when the passengers get into a waiting autorickshaw, he barks again, indicating that the driver and passenger can proceed.

Suni, an auto-rickshaw driver who comes from a place called Kallumooti in Thiruvananthapuram district, brought the dog from there about five years ago and named him after it. And spending time with Suni soon made Kallumooti adept at hailing passengers.

We two, our 22

Despite what the government says, sometimes two is just not enough to make a family happy. For one particular Madhya Pradesh couple, 22 is the magic number. The couple, which lives in Lakhanpur village near Gwalior, are the proud parents of 22 kids—a feat that could possibly get them an entry into the Guinness Book Of World Records.

“I have to feed all my children by working very hard in the fields and by milking the cows. I teach them myself because I cannot afford to admit them to school. I am seeking the government’s help,’’ said Lakhan Singh, who (understandably) tends to forget the names of his kids. His wife Dakkho Bai adds, “We have 22 children and we feed them with milk and chapatis.

Our youngest child is just two years old.’’ But it’s not only about problems. According to Lakhanpur convention, the person with the biggest family is regarded as the head of the village—and as Lakhan’s record is, for all practical purposes, unbeatable, the hamlet has been named after him.

Dead man waking

He went to feel close to God, but got a little too close for comfort. A pilgrim, who was knocked unconscious in the recent stampede at the Naina Devi temple in Himachal Pradesh, woke up in a morgue to discover that doctors were preparing to perform a post-mortem on him.

Mange Ram, 19, lost consciousness in the stampede that was triggered by rumours of a landslide. “When I woke up, I was in the middle of a row of bodies awaiting postmortem,’’ he said.
“My throat was parched and I asked for water. Towering over me, the doctors and nursing staff at Anandpur Sahib Civil Hospital looked dazed. They must have been surprised to see a dead man come alive like that.’’

Sat Pal Aggarwal, a doctor on the pilgrimage, had an explanation for Mange Ram’s plight: “People were dumped quite haphazardly into trucks without checking if they were alive.”

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