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Neha Patel – An Angel For Animals, A Devil For Criminals!!

Women, you are beautiful. You are not subjected to remain enclosed in four walls and a top, but you have the potential to do wonders.

We often ask women to be independent and have a heart to pursue everything they desire, one such woman has followed her dreams. This fearless lady who is in her 30’s have dedicated her life to the well being of others. When it comes to living for others, we see a bundle of words but seldom actions. Not to forget there are a bunch of people around who really do both. One such is Neha Patel from Vadodara, a City in the State of Gujarat.

When asked about her profession which falls into the multiple categories like an Animal activist, Environmental activist, Social worker it put me into confusion. She then laughed and said, “ Anything which is Nature, is my Profession.” This heroic lady has recently gone to an extend of pulling her sleeves back to ensure the illegal encroachment of local protected areas takes a halt.

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An MBA graduate from Australia, Neha Patel perceived her dream in India working for animals and nature. Almost since eight years after returning to the homeland, she selflessly has saved hundreds of street dogs, birds, straying cows, donkeys, monkeys and buffaloes. When asked upon what inspired her to do so, Neha said, “As a kid when the mother gave biscuits to eat, I fed them to street dogs, I often pour water, on land next to concrete roads so that grass grown on it can be a food to cows, donkeys and buffaloes near my area”.“ I always loved animals, no matter what animal it was.”

When she was back from abroad, an incident she witnessed wherein a cow lost its calf in the womb due to lack of resources drew her to aid any helpless injured animal. Being an NCC Cadet, Neha is also a great sport lover. She has also won a Boat Pulling Competition held in Goa. Coming out of the Indian boundary of not a woman’s sport, she challenged herself and learnt surfing inspired by her Brazilian friends surfers in Australia.

Being a daughter of businessman, she never had financial crisis but wanted to learn what struggle is. Before going abroad, she helped her father in business for five years, but life became very monotonous. She let her father pay only one term’s fees of her university in Gold Coast, rest wished to manage on her own. In the duration of two years she perceived the taste of hard work spread across jobs like Call Centre, waitress in a restaurant, distributing pamphlets, working in the college library, cleaning tables, joining packers and movers. Days spent understanding all aspects of life and the hardship carved a more self reliant and independent persona in her. In free time, she went on for snorkeling and fed fishes, the extra left buns which she got from the restaurant she worked in.

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However, the real struggle awaited in Vadodara, when she started working for animals and Nature. She said, “People talked about my character, as I work day and night and sometimes even stood for hours on the road to get hold of trucks carrying cows and buffaloes”. Neha has rescued hundreds of animals going to get butchered while the world is busy in their own lives. She gets nothing in doing so, she uses her own vehicles to rescue injured animals to hospitals.

“People know me in the city, they give me a call whenever they see an injured animal and I never say no, whatever time it is”. She learnt giving first aid from the local vet doctors from whom she also gets counselling  on how to treat injured & sick animals. She now started becoming the voice of those who do not speak for themselves.

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Neha faced evil minded offences from people who wanted her to deactivate rescuing animals being slaughtered or the trading of illegal selling of birds in the city. The journey for Neha was tough with hovering conflicts with butchers, criminals and their supporters. A single handed approach by a female for rescuing animals is not very well accepted in the society but she has an iron will to an extent that when people flee off, she ensures to round-up those butchers even if she had to wait for 15 to 18 hours over the highway while she had to face those eyes hurting a female self esteem. The struggle is not physically tiresome but an emotionally disturbing thought too, but she shuts them down as it is about helpless lives. All her adventurous rescues have strengthened her morality which buries the bad experience faced in the process. A tough and mammoth task, a single lady standing tall against all those who can go to any level including alleging to plotting various traps to pull her down is worth a standing ovation.

On asked upon how she is able to handle animals when they are injured, she said, “ It is not easy because when an animal is injured, it is scared. I have been bitten, got dirty and also got kicked in the face, but it’s about humanity and love”. On talking about saving lives, I gathered that she also was a good kite flyer but now since 6 years have stopped celebrating the festival. During Uttarayan she joins the Government Veterinary Bird Rescue camps.

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Neha Patel is the first in Gujarat and second in the country to use 354D, after its amendment in 2013 to save another woman being molested.

Last month, She became the first woman from Vadodara to drive to Khardung La Pass (18,380 ft), world’s highest motorable road on a motor bike. The valley full of rocks, snow, and constant rains couldn’t stop the single lady in a group of  27 men to Leh Ladakh. She also has successfully trekked on Chandrakhani Pass (Above 14,000 ft) and Sarpass (13,800 ft ), a total of 6 Himalayan Adventurous Expeditions.

On a personal chat, she giggled and said “I await my life partner who should be courageous and the one who can trusts and support my work.” Neha loves her work, and admitted that, she walks out at night like a thief having not informed their parents. It wasn’t easy to be at multiple places and save lives, so she encourages others to help the needy.

Neha not only have her immense love towards animals, birds and nature but also a Patriot. Her Facebook name ‘Neha Patel Vande Mataram’ explains well. She said, “ It is connected to patriotism, I love India, Indian soldiers and it reminds me of my duty to the motherland.” “I don’t have an uniform, but I am a soldier protecting lives, when my nation requires I am ready to serve”.

Neha urges the females of the country to understand and take support of Indian Legal system as she says, crime only flourish when the truth is silent. She said, “ It isn’t possible without the support of my parents, younger sister and friends. Rest is one should have Willpower, Confidence, and Honest dedication to the work they love.”

Working selfless for Nature and Animals, working for poor kids’ education and NGO’s gives Neha a sound sleep, a breathe of satisfaction and happiness. Have we found out what gives us pleasure? Have we pursued our own dream? If not, then NOW is the right time. Add a beautiful accessory on your face by looking at people who smiled just because you made them to and the accessory will automatically enlighten on your beautiful face – THE HAPPY SMILE!

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