When a boy chanced up on a tale of compassion

Charles Gladwin Rebeiro with community dogs which he feeds every day in Fort Kochi.

Charles Gladwin Rebeiro with community dogs which he feeds every day in Fort Kochi.  

A fortnight ago when Sreehari Rajesh, a tenth standard student, visited Fort Kochi for capturing a few night visuals, he witnessed an alarming sight of a pack of rushing dogs.

Then, to his surprise, he found them approaching a man who had come to feed them with a bucket full of cooked meat. Thus was born his accidental short film Charles - The Man Who Feeds Stray Dogs.

“It was like those dogs were waiting for him. Initially, he didn’t want me to shoot it as he didn’t want any publicity,” said Sreehari who eventually won over the 58-year-old Charles Gladwin Rebeiro, and then for the next couple of hours followed him across Fort Kochi on his feeding mission.

In the past 24 years, Charles claims he has never missed feeding dogs, even on the days when his mother and brothers died. It has become such an integral part of his daily routine that he avoids any other commitment during nights that clashes with it.

“I haven’t taken a penny for this from anyone till now. I am a very sensitive man and will be easily hurt if someone accused that I was doing this for money,” said Charles.

He only takes up part-time jobs to find time for his voluntary work, which is not just limited to feeding dogs but helping orphanages, washing dead bodies of the destitute before they are laid to rest and being an ITI-qualified fitter, he even lends free electrical and plumbing works to the poor.

He feeds around 50 dogs every night, taking up to three hours till 11 pm. “Feeding is not simply about throwing them but showing them our compassion and love. After all, dogs are man’s best friend and unlike us humans they don’t ditch us,” said Charles who has never got bitten by a dog all these years.

For Sreehari, an avid videographer, Charle’s story was a gilt-edged surprise gift, which he had since then uploaded on his YouTube channel. “Knowing that people like him exists itself was a revelation,” he said.

This was his second such work since the pandemic after Silent Roads, which he did along the roads of the city during his volunteer work feeding destitute during the lockdown.

Before that, he had done short films on drugs and rising sea level.

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Printable version | Aug 9, 2020 5:38:50 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Kochi/when-a-boy-chanced-up-on-a-tale-of-compassion/article32084823.ece

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