Friday, August 04, 2006

That Cow ain't no friend of mine

The term "companiable silence" is rarely used in conjunction with me. Men talk with me because my fidgeting makes them nervous and women have discovered that talking to me makes me sometimes take my eyes off their breasts.
The constant talking of course means that a wide array of talk takes place. On my visit to thailand (i find I am starting a lot of my sentences like this these days) I found a lot of women asking me if I really was on a honeymoon. But after that conversation was tough to source. There was this lady from Netherland. All I could ask her was what the hell was the difference between Netherland and Holland? But she did grill me thoroughly. One of her questions was about the Cows.

"Was it true that in India Cows moved around the streets because they were holy?"

I had thought that these questions along with the doubts of indians sitting on elephants were definitively settled by the publication of the article "The Indian woman." in the July 99 edition of Penthouse. But evidently this does not seem to be the case.

The whole thing of course began because of that infernal Tintin comic where we see Captain Haddock sitting on the cow in the middle of the road. That comic has proved to have cause much sorrow to all white people when they have found out that Indian cows don't run. The Indian cows are holy yes. The cow is supposed to have originated from the cosmic churning of the oceans by the Gods and the Asuras. And yes it is of great use to us all. Not only does the COw provide us with milk throughmost of her life, but also gives us the oxen that actually probably does more work and carry more people in India then automobiles. The cow symbolises the Earth. As such she is considered the mother of humanity. Every part of her from the cow dung to her urine is useful. In villages, cowdung mixed with clay gives us tremite-freewalls and burnt on the fire gives us dinner. The term "Go-dhan" means the wealth of cow, is literally that. The number of cows a villager has is his wealth.

The significance of the cow is sometimes lost on city people, but its deeply ingrained in the fabric of Hinduism and the country. In the evenings, when the cows come back in the villages, their dust hangs in the air. This period is called "Go-dhuli". This is an extremely auspicious time. In fact, my wedding took place at go-dhuli at 1919hrs. So you see, the cow is pretty much the best animal you want around on your streets givena choice, but thats not the reason why we don't pounce upon them and turn them to burgers.

"Thats not the reason?"


"Then what is?"

"Well its like this, Cows are our friends. You don't eat dogs right?"

"No we don't."

"Well, that the reason why we don't do the cows in. Because they are friends."

"Isn't that a hamburger you are having?"

"Well er... yes, but you see, I don't eat beef in India. These Thai cows, they ain't no friends of mine."

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