Our four-legged residents: Soumya and Sharanya
Soumya and Sharanya are our two little girls… Our kids… Our goatsies.
Soumya first arrived at Savista as a one day old baby with her mother Sukanya. Sukanya had been born and brought up on Dholia’s farm – Dholia is one of our farm and garden staff – and when we heard that she had just given birth to a baby, we asked Dholia if we could buy the twosome. If ever we wanted to sell them, they would go back to him. Would he agree?
He did. And promptly brought them both to Savista, where he continued to care for them as he had in his own home, climbing up and lopping off the young branches of our Khejri trees twice a day so that they could feast on the juicy leaves for breakfast and lunch, and giving them dry beans and millets from our organically grown provisions for their dinner. He also watered them, and took them on short runs through the property twice a day, something that they loved.
Since they made for such a pleasing sight, and Soumya the baby would endearingly come up and put her front legs on us and ask to be hugged, fondled and carried around, we thought that we would stop tying them up and instead let them roam freely. Of course, nothing suited them better!
That year we also had a large brood of chickens on the farm, and together they all became such an excited and deliriously happy bunch of free-rangers that they soon began to look as though they were there for themselves, and not for us!
The chickens took to laying their eggs anywhere but in the coop, and we suspected that the ever-vigilant squirrels – grateful for not having to find ways of smuggling themselves into the coop – were the ones growing fat on the missing eggs.
It also became a job to protect the exhuberant chickens – who were growing in numbers at an alarming rate – from the feral dogs outside the farm who determinedly kept trying to burrow their way inside to get at them. In fact, the predators succeeded twice. The first time, a cock was carried away sometime in the night, after which we had to listen for days to the rest of the brood anxiously call out to their lost comrade, probably sensing soon enough that he was gone forever. The second cock was being dragged away when one of the staff succeeded in saving him; but the poor wounded cock never recovered from the brutal attack and the brood was plunged in pensive gloom for many days after.
After several months of enjoying organic free range eggs and organic cheese, not to speak of goat milk tea and coffee, we decided that both animals and humans needed a break from each other. Since Savista was shutting down for the hot summer, it seemed an appropriate time to do do. As a first step, we sold off the chickens. Next, we decided that Sukanya and Soumya needed to spend more time with others of their kind, instead of being in the constant company of chickens and humans. We sent them off to ‘goat summer camp’, i.e., to join a goat herder’s flock,so that they could roam around and see the world.
By the time the cool weather came around again, we learnt from Dholia that Sukanya had given birth to yet another baby girl. Would we like to have Soumya back – now a mature teenager – along with her frisky younger sister, he asked? Hurrah, yes! we responded.
Here they are, Sharanya showing off for the camera while Soumya strikes a more thoughtful pose.