Home   |  Issues  |  The Daily Star Home | Thursday, January 19, 2006

Battle of the cattle

By Aniqa Moinuddin

This Eid we had bought the most brilliant and ill-tempered cow in the 'haat'.

Unfortunately this fact was not just thrown to us, but we had to realize it after a rather dramatic incident. On the eve of Eid-ul-Azha, the intercom rang in our house. The usually calm and timid security guard sounded rather anxious. And why wouldn't he…a bull-fight was in session in our garage and our very own prized cow was one of the contenders. In seconds we (ammu, my aunt, my cousin, the maid, the bua and I) rushed down to see what was going on.

As the doors of the elevator opened, the scene that greeted us was rather terrifying! Two cows were trapped in a headlock, pushing against each other with all their might, while a few men tugged at the ropes that once held them to the pillars. They (the cows, not the men) viciously butted each other, each trying to make Swiss cheese out of the other. My mom and aunt rushed towards the mad cows screaming at the men to pull them apart. It was, after all, their cow being subjected to near fatal injuries at that moment.

The guards, caretaker and a few outsiders were trying with all their might to tear the two enraged beasts apart, and finally when they did succeed it was them who were now running for their lives since the cows had now directed their anger to the pestering humans. Somebody had grabbed a piece of wood and started hitting one of them. Mum cried out in anguish, because if anything happened to that cow, she could kiss next day's Qurbani Eid good-bye. The two enemies were beaten and then forced into different corners of the garage and after much struggle, tied to their pillars.

While the two cows fought, it was rather interesting to see how the owners of the respective animals blamed the OTHER cow for all the chaos. The owner of the 'enemy-cow' commented on how our one was extremely fierce and we had probably bought a mad cow. By this time a crowd of bored housewives and children had gathered in the staircase that overlooked the garage, or should I say, “the battle ground”. The whole time they had been screaming and shouting, sometimes in panic at other times just in excitement, enjoying the drama, calling out instructions about how to calm the cows down, while the poor guards and caretakers struggled for dear life. When the cows were safely tied and the excitement abated, a few called out 'those ropes won't hold them for long' a hint of hope rather than apprehension in their tone. After all, who does not enjoy a good show?

After a while, responding to the wishes of the spectators, our cow had quite brilliantly managed to make its way out of the tangled ropes and was heading straight for the enemy that he had made in quite a short time. The crowd in the protected gallery was in gleeful panic again and those within the ring cursed violently; the show had started once again. A third cow had freed itself and joined in the action. The poor little terrified goats huddled together in a corner while all hell broke loose around them. The cows fought and struggled like mad! One on top of the other, jutting horns into each other, breaking the furniture that were being polished in that garage, threatening to damage cars - the crowd cheered and the men cursed.

After forty-five minutes of watching the cows being tied and then escaping, and then tied again and then freed again, it was not that fascinating anymore. The crowd thinned, as people realized they had better things to do but I stayed till the last. This was a rather interesting scene that we had witnessed and greatly enjoyed. I myself thought that it was such a big deal that I decided to write about it. How we crave for a bit of excitement in our lives and how I pity ourselves for our un-intriguing and un-exciting existence.

Of Savages and Sophistication

By Shayera Moula

Which is worst? A middle aged pervert, jobless and with no money, drooling over a 16 year old or a 40 year old rich businessman flirting with his second wife's younger sister?

Which is more naughty? A 19 year old maid stealing her master's expensive cell set though she is given everything possible or a 45 year old successful career woman cheating on a game of cards with her aristocratic friends while gambling?

What is scarier? A village man of 30 raping a ten year old or a bunch of educated college going boys trying to strip a girl while dancing in a party?

Which has more dark humour? A 13-year-old village girl showing her walking style to her future father-in-law or a 21st century woman wearing a veil over her dress and planning to take it off as soon as she has passed by the local mastaans?

Which appears sillier? A conservative and traditional mum telling her daughter that only good cooking can ensure her a happy and safe married life or a television add that claims that only fair complexion guarantees a prosperous career and a handsome husband?

Really, which is more selfish? A guard taking in extra cash and passing illegal materials through the security gates or a school headmistress demanding “donations” for the school, which by the way we never really see put into any use?

Which is a sorrier sight? A 7-year-old boy who lies about his dad suffering from cancer while begging or a student who sells drugs to his friends in the back of his coaching centre?

Which is more frustrating? A mother/father not telling their daughter how to deal with an older man who may want to get involved physically or a boy who works for human rights and justice but refuses to use protection while love making because it provides no pleasure?

Who is more correct? A private university student complaining that there is too much violence in a public university or a public university student complaining that the education is simpler in a private university?

Which is more depressing? That the readers find the above situation too common or that I am probably the millionth writer writing about these situations and can't or even won't do anything about it?

So then where does all this leave us? Same old place right? The truth is education does not teach us anything unless we teach the morals ourselves.

It's not something you memorise but something you practise which becomes an unconscious habit when you realise the real tests that you have to pass in life. Day by day many are losing these morals and many others are simply writing about them. Lets face it, if money and education don't teach you anything really then in the end of the day we are either living with simple savages or we are living with sophisticated ones.


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