Home   |  Issues  |  The Daily Star Home


The Stuff of Cow

COME Eid the bovine population of this fine country all take arms against a sea of machetes and fail miserably to make much of a difference in the outcome of their collective fates. Low IQ, the absence of opposable thumbs and moo-y communication skills probably stop them from not escaping this mortal coil. We humans on the other hand resemble the first Neanderthal that came across the first cow and who thought to himself: “Bugger these veggies, I'm getting me some beef.” Some say the fasting of Ramadan and the consequent inability to gorge on Eid ul Fitr takes us to the verge of bull genocide.

But taking all the atrocities committed against cows into consideration, goats suffer too. And camels. And sheep. Chickens celebrate the Coming of the Great Sacrificial Cow which happens once every year in their celestial calendar. The Great Cow embodies the respite that chickens are given while the dreaded humans feast on beef. Ducks celebrate, but that's not much of a difference as they always celebrate, the drunken idiots. The sheep follow the goats into doom; you can't really trust Mary the goat really. And yes Mary was a she goat. This article though does not concern the myriad problems of the animals destined to give their lives to our stomachs. The purpose of this here article is to inform the average mokles about the atrocities committed upon the animals behind the scenes.

At any average gorur haat, humans and cows throng. The cows are splendid with their huge juicy bulk while the humans are somewhat repulsive with their beefy avarice. The cows aren't just juicy though. They're stoned high.

Well not exactly stoned, they're more like the athletes kicked out of competitive sports because of performance enhancing drugs. Actually, not even like that. The cows are full of stuff that more enhances their appearance.

Cow traders all flock to the haats in Dhaka with truckloads of cows to disperse into the masses; however that good looking red one with the huge bulk may not be as juicy as seen with the common eye. The traders have been known to tamper with the way the cows are brought up. Let's elaborate. Cows don't always grow up to be such strapping meat factories, ever wonder how there is always a relentless supply of these beings at every haat? Well, one of the reasons is that the cows picked out to be sold at Eid are always fed differently than most other cows, and wrongly just months before the execution… I mean transaction at some haat.

Urea fertilizers aren't food for carbon based beings with digestive tracts, plants may like it but then they've always been weird; no wonder veggies taste bad huh? Anyway, the urea fertilizer buffs up the beef on the cows and they all bloat up. This though is a problem as apparently it affects their digestive tracts and they eventually die within a few months, some would argue the cows are going to die anyway on Eid, but that hardly justifies putting the cow through eating crap. I'm sure the cow would agree.

There are specific injections which the traders pump into the cow to bloat up the body; this actually hurts more than fertilizers, causing the cow to lose its appetite. These injections are usually used just before Eid on the cows or just before bringing them to the market.

Other than just messing with their eating habits, cows are subject to forced makeovers. Using paint and oil the cows are slicked up. This though makes them extremely uncomfortable and adds to their body heat, meaning it makes them sweat too much. This serves another purpose than just eye candy (more like eye beef jerky), the more water the cows' drink, the more balloon-like their stomachs become, adding to the illusion of big beefy cows on sale.

Other than that, when the cows are growing up they're movement is restricted, a known fattening technique. Along with that castration is done early in the cow's lifetime as this naturally makes the cow more docile and easier to stuff food into (this is probably the reason the cows are always so sad… you can probably guess why).

Now you know why, whenever you happen to go the haat, the cows are all so melancholy. Other than being permed up for some grim surrealist beauty pageant where the winner gets to die, the beautification process in itself is painful and not something to savor. Well now at least when we're savoring the meat we can appreciate the pain the cow had to go through to martyr itself while we chew on it. Food for thought eh?

By Tareq Adnan

Book review

Country of the Blind

BROOKMYRE has a way of sliding into any narrative with ease, making his readers feel as if the characters are people they've known all their lives. Even if the characters happen to be as outrageously intrepid and stupidly brave as investigative reporter Jack Parlabane. The events of this book follow just a couple of years after the events in Brookmyre's first book, Quite Ugly One Morning.

The book starts of with Nicole Carrow, a lawyer newly moved to Glasgow to prove to her middle class, well off parents that she could pull life off on her own as well. She just joined a law firm and now deals with a daily retinue of jilted countrymen who want to sue the system for not fixing their drainpipe on time.

In other parts of the country, billionaire world beater Roland Voss has been murdered brutally in a country mansion retreat.

The problem starts when Nicole realizes that one of the accused caught (literally red handed) in the Roland Voss murder case happens to be a Tam McInnes, a man who had delivered an envelope in her care just days before the horrendous incident happened. And Nicole is certain that McInnes is innocent… mostly because she feels he makes too good a cup of tea to be a burgler/murderer. She opens the envelope and finds details which purport that McInnes and the other three (among which is McInnes' son) are innocent and are being framed for something they didn't do.

Coming into the picture now is Jack Parlabane, on the verge of marriage to his fiancée Sarah Slaughter. Jack has vowed to let go of his somewhat illegal (and sometimes very dangerous) ways of investigating news leads thanks to the calming influence of Sarah. The Roland Voss murder is actually personal to Parlabane because Voss just happens to be a person who tried to put Parlabane out of the picture in his past life. He's sorely disappointed that Voss died because of an alleged botched robbery attempt. In Jack's view, Roland deserved to die for a cause, or for at least someone who wanted vengeance.

The suspicious suicide of a person connected to the case in a police station, a person who happened to be Jack's old friend puts Jack out of his semi retirement from investigative ways. He starts thinking that maybe Voss didn't die in an attempted burglary. And then he notices Nicole on the telly showing the world McInnes' envelope and claiming that the four caught suspects are innocent. Parlabane now has a lead to start his own investigation and finds out that maybe the murder has more far reaching consequences that previously thought and the perpetrators may not be burglars but those running the country.

Thing about Brookmyre is that he makes political scandals on hugely corrupted scales seem everyday thing. He makes them so plausible that sometimes the reader wonders why these things havened happened before. For one thing, if the events taking place in Brookmyre books actually happened, at least the world would be a more entertaining, if not better place.

The reader is taken through a joyride that right through the wilderness of Scotland's countryside, through the political backdrop of the country without ever feeling left out. Brookmyre not only manages to capture the feel of the events taking place, he puts them in vivid perspective by creating characters that seem all too human to be just characters in books. If you want a read where the book not only promises a fun ride but tickles your funny bone as well, Country of the Blind promises all of it and more.

By Tareq Adnan

Conspiracy corner

SHAKESPEARE was somebody else - Who really was the English language's greatest writer? Among the numerous alternative candidates that have been proposed Francis Bacon, Christopher Marlowe, William Stanley (6th Earl of Derby) and Edward de Vere (17th Earl of Oxford), are the most popular. Theorists believe there is a lack of evidence proving that the actor and businessman sometimes known as Shaksper of Stratford was responsible for the body of works that bear his name. Very little biographical information exists about Shakespeare.



home | Issues | The Daily Star Home

2008 The Daily Star