Decorated Cow in India

A Strange Meeting

My sweet dreams this morning were interrupted by the sound of something that sounded like a high pitched flute. Half asleep, I wondered what dim-witted ringtone I had chosen for my alarm this time! Cursing, I reached for my mobile only to discover that it was silent but the ‘ringtone’ continued to wreck my peace and quiet.

Now wide awake, I realized that the sound came from outside my bedroom window. What could be happening on the streets at this God-forsaken hour, I wondered! Not that Bangalore is an uninteresting place! Don’t get me wrong! Every day there is something fascinating for me and my children to watch and wonder at!

Glancing out, I saw a man and his cow all decked up. Apparently, this man had the notion that the best way he could earn his living would be to take his decorated cow down the streets and blow his flute as loud as he could and for as long as he could. It didn’t matter to him that the neighbourhood might be asleep. Rather, it didn’t matter to him that ‘I’ might be asleep and enjoying a lovely, well-earned weekend!

Well, since the sleep had been nastily driven away from my heavy eyelids, I decided to go out and meet the man.

Kya kar raha hai?” I asked him. {“What are you doing?”}

Dhan do! “ Came the unwavering reply. {“Give me money! “}

“ Gai dekne ke leye? “ I asked. {“Just to look at the cow? “}

“ Han, Memsaab! “ he replied shamefacedly. {“Yes, Madam!”}

Well, wasn’t that simply amazing? A man can actually just decorate his cow and go walking around the streets in his strange attire, blowing his irritating, hand-made musical instrument and demand for money! However, it amazed me to see that he was not using a flute, which is actually a common musical instrument in India and has been used since Vedic times. He was using something that looked more like a Pipe Chanter, though i'm not really sure it was one!

I made a deal with him. I hesitantly asked if he would allow me to take a picture of him. I needn’t have hesitated really because he stepped forward with a huge red- toothed grin {red from chewing tobacco and ‘paan’ } and actually readily posed for the camera. I took one picture and asked if I could take one more just in case the first one didn’t come out too well. He was even more delighted and the grin grew larger. So I took another one. I had hardly thanked him when he said once more, “ Dhan, Madam ji! “ {“What about my money, Madam? “} As if he would let me forget!

In Hinduism, the cow is respected and honoured as a source of food and a symbol of life. Therefore, the Hindus do not eat beef. Most rural families make it a point to buy a cow and keep it almost as a member of their families. The products of the cow are used by the Hindus when they do their ‘puja’ {‘worship’}. In fact, there is a cow festival in India called ‘Gopastami’. On this day, cows are washed and decorated in the temple and even given offerings in the hope that she will continue to give the family the precious gifts she is already giving them.

A markerG.Sampanna Road, Kamanahalli, Bengaluru -
Kamanahalli, Bengaluru, Karnataka 562125, India
[get directions]

Well, Here's where we met!

© 2011 Melaine

Comments 2 comments

Joao de Deus 5 years ago

Good reading. Short and interesting.


ELIZABETH DIAS 5 years ago

Nice story. Keep it up !!!!!!!!

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    melaine profile image

    Melaine7 Followers
    12 Articles

    The writer has been an English teacher for the past twenty-three years and likes to write during her free time.



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