Narrator’s Note: Starting this week, I will be posting my favorite story from the week gone by for the weekend reading pleasure (Being presumptuous here, Ha Ha) of those of you who do not get the time to read during weekdays, since they have work to do and offices to attend, which I don’t 🙂
I’ll obviously have to start with my ode to Gau Mata and her loving family. It was originally spread over two days, but only for you guys, I have combined them here to have the entire story at one place. Yaaayyyy. So please read, and thank me later 🙂
Presenting: I Like To Moo It Moo It.
It had started off as any routine trek.
We had started our climb before daybreak in order to catch the sunrise from top of the hill. Our host at the farm where we were staying had told us that the sunrise there was so majestic that it would blow us off our feet. But our climb had another objective also, which we could not reveal to our host without revealing my dark secret.
The previous night, just as we were about to call it a day (which does not seem right, since it was night, but as Professor Parimal Tripathi rightly pointed out on more than one occasion, English is a very funny language, so who are we to argue?) we heard a gentle knock on the window. I was surprised, even a little scared, for we were literally in the middle of nowhere, with our host and his family being the only humans (apart from us of course) for a ten-mile radius. And why on earth would our host knock on the window instead of the door? So we did what anyone in a similar position would have done- we closed our eyes and pretended to be asleep.
But the knocking persisted, and it was growing louder and more incessant with every passing second. Finally, I could take it no more, jerked open the window, and said, “Who’s there?” But I almost fainted when I saw that there was nobody there, just a cow grazing peacefully in the pasture outside our room. I immediately shut the window with a bang, and hid under my quilt.
But within a few seconds, there it was again. KNOCK KNOCK…KNOCK KNOCK…KNOCK KNOCK…KNOCK…”WHAT THE HELL DO YOU WANT?” I shouted, opening the window again. And this time I saw who had been knocking. It was the cow, raising her front right hoof to do the deed, which I had interrupted mid-knock.
She looked at me with fluttering eyes, and said, “Sorry to disturb you, but I really needed some help.”
“No problem,” I said instinctively, “Happy to help, and for real, not like those Vodafone bots.”
And it was then that it hit me, twice. No no no no, the cow didn’t hit me silly, the realization did, that:
a) The cow could speak, and
b) I could understand her.
My wife too was shocked out of her wits. She was just looking first at the cow, and then at me, then at the cow again, then at me again…and so on. “Relax you guys,” said the cow. That got my goat. “How dare you, ma’am” I cried out, “call us gais. This is typical projection, a gai calling the kettle black….I mean a gai calling a human gai.”
She banged her head against our cabin’s wall in frustration, and shouted, “SHUT UP!” As the wooden walls of the cabin stopped rattling, and our bed along with them, we both shut up. She then continued, “Let me explain clearly to you Dodos. I said ‘guys’ in English, as in ‘people’ or ‘folks’ and not ‘gais’ in Hindi, as in cows.”
“Hmmmmmm…” I said, nodding my head.
“Ohhhhhhh…” sai my wife, nodding her head.
“Moooooooo…” said the cow.
And then she said, “I don’t know why I had to be stuck with you two idiots of all the people, but since you are the only ones to be able to understand me (strange are the ways of God), I will have to share my troubles with you only, and hope that you turn out to be smarter than you look.”
My wife and I looked at each other, and were just going to protest, when the cow came to her point. “My husband and daughter are stuck on the top of the hill that you have come here to climb. They went up this evening to look at the sunset, but upon reaching there, my husband realized that he has a problem with heights. So now, he’s just stuck there, refusing to look down, which he will have to do if he wishes to come down.”
“I fully sympathize with you,” I told her in my best sympathy-laden voice, “but how do you expect us to help you?”
“Well,” she said as if explaining 2+2=4 to a five-year old simpleton, “you have to get them back of course.”
“How do you expect us to do that?” I cried out, “we can’t quite carry them down, can we? And we are no Bull Whisperers by any stretch of imagination. What if he refuses to move his butt, pardon my French?”
The cow’s face started getting red at that point, and kept getting redder and redder till it was redder than the ripest of tomatoes, and then, she shouted, “NO IFFFFF….NO BUTTTTT….ONLY JATT!”
And jatt…I mean just like that, we had promised her that we would get her husband and daughter back in the morrow, or die trying.
All these memories were fresh as snow in my mind as we started our climb in the morning, maybe because all that had occurred just the night before. It was not a difficult climb, but all I could think of was, how are we going to get back with a fully-grown bull and his daughter.
So as I was saying, it was a simple enough climb, as climbs go, on a fairly gentle gradient. Maybe that was the reason the bull (along with his daughter of course, no offence intended) had not realized how high the hill really was, and grazing merrily, had reached the top without breaking a sweat.
He compensated for that by oozing bucket-fulls of sweat since the evening, which now, akin to Newton’s apple, was taking the fastest path towards flatland, in the form of multiple streams of pale yellow streams. It was then that my wife could take it any more, and asked me, “Since when have you known that you could talk to animals? And when were you planning to tell me? If I had known about your power, I could have used it to get Mrs. Sharma’s dog to go pee on Mrs. Varma’s white clothes hanging outside her home. Bhala uski kameez meri kameez se safed kaise?” (How can her shirt be whiter than mine- Old Jungle Saying).
I indignantly replied, “I swear I came to know about it just last night during my conversation with the cow. Do you think I could even dream of hiding such a huge secret from you? You know I tell you everything darling.”
“That’s a load of bull shit,” she said.
“Of course not sweetheart,” I said, going on the defensive, “I did not tell you about Mark’s bachelor party and the stripper because I just forgot about it. I couldn’t possibly forget about such a big power, could I?”
“No,” she replied, mincing her words menacingly, “I meant that’s a load of bull shit, literally, in the middle of the track, and now, you have stepped right into it, both literally and figuratively. So what was this about the bachelor party and the stripper?”
I realized that I had just walked into a trap (along with a load of bull shit of course) and was now feeling like a lamb being led to the slaughter when suddenly, I heard a jingling of bells, and we both looked up to see a herd of sheep coming our way.
Thanking the Good Lord for this minor miracle, I stopped the head sheep and asked, “Baa Baa Black Sheep, have you seen the bull?” The sheep replied, “Yes Sir, Yes Sir, I saw him by the pull (Bridge in Hindi).” She then continued, “If you walk faster, you will catch him and his daughter, before they are taken by the little boy who lives down the lane.”
And so we ran towards the top of the hill, and suddenly, the stupid gradient of the hill did not seem that gentle, in fact, it was almost vertical now, or at least that is what our burning lungs and throbbing leg muscles would have us believe. And then, we saw them, a bull and his daughter, standing by the bridge, looking quizzically at us.
We approached them with measured steps, and I told the bull, “Sir, your wife sent us to fetch you since she was worried about you.” “That’s good,” replied the bull, “for even I am worried about me.”
“So let’s go,” I said, happy that he was already primed up for the walk downhill, “What are we waiting for?” The bull replied, “There’s only one small problem….I don’t want to go back.”
“WHATTTT?” I cried out, “But why?”
He replied, “Well, it’s so peaceful and quiet over here. Plenty of grass to graze, amazing sunrise and sunset, and most importantly, no silly cow to nag me the entire day. So, I decided that I will make myself a nice shed here, and spend the rest of my days raising my daughter alone.”
“But you HAVE to come down with me,” I howled, “Or your wife will kill me.”
The bull replied laconically, “Frankly my dear, I don’t give a damn.”
And it was then that in my desperation, I committed the biggest mistake of my life. I climbed on top of him, and shouted, “I WILL NOT TAKE NO FOR AN ANSWER. NOW LET’S GO!”
It was the worst thing that I could have done. The bull’s face reddened, and right there, that mild-mannered, docile creature transformed into a raging bull. He raised his two front legs high into the air, becoming almost as vertical as that last stretch of the hill in the process, and SHOOK with righteous anger.
I fell so hard that I broke the gold crown of my third molar, the one which I had got put after misreading the name of the James Bond movie as The Man with the Golden Gum. And Newton’s (and his apple’s) friend took over from there, and I rolled down the steep hill, slowly at first, and then, accelerating sharply, and contrary to the experience of stones, I was gathering a lot of moss on my way down, in addition to copious amounts of bull shit of course.
But in doing this, the bull too committed the biggest mistake of HIS life, for my wife, seeing me being attacked, transformed into Jhansi Ki Rani (legendary Indian warrior queen), and while the bull was still precariously balanced on his two rear legs, she PUSHED him with all her might, so he too started rolling down right behind me.
However, in doing so, my wife too committed the biggest mistake of HER life, for she entirely ignored the bull’s seemingly harmless daughter, not looking at her as a potential threat at all. An oversight which the young rascal then used to PUSH my wife down the hill, so that she too started rolling downhill behind me and the bull.
It was then that the young calf saw the three of us rolling down the hill, and thought, “This seems like a lot of fun.” And with a loud shout of “GERONIMO…..” she jumped behind us, and started rolling merrily down the hill.
And it was thus that our host, the farmer, out grazing the cow at the base of the hill, was greeted with a strange but wondrous sight, which he would not be able to unsee till the time he was alive.
I hit flat ground first, followed by the bull on top of me, followed by my wife on top of him, followed by a cackling calf on top of her. And as we lay entangled there, the farmer walked up to me and asked, “So, how was the sunrise?”
And a few hours latter, when all of us, had been untangled, the farmer asked me to tell him exactly what happened. To this day, he blames my broken golden crown, and hence, bloodied mouth for what happened next, but I think he did it just for kicks.
He wrote down our adventures of this morning in the form of a short poem, and sent it to the local newspaper for publication. And it was just our luck that even in those pre-internet days, the poem went viral like crazy, and we became famous, or rather infamous. The only problem was, the farmer had misheard (or so he claims) a key phrase in my narrative. I kept on sending corrigendums to publications around the world, but it was too late by then.
And so I thought I will use this forum to set the record straight and tell the correct version of the poem, and I trust you good people to share it as widely as possible to make my story mine again. The poem should have been:
Jack and Jill went up the hill
To fetch a bail (Bull in Hindi) and his daughter
Jack fell down and broke his crown
And Jill came tumbling after.