Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Temple Bulls




Fiction

Velu was stunned.  He had never felt so helpless before.  “Bhagawan!” His misty eyes went up to the sky.  “What will I do now?”

The cattle dealer bluntly refused to buy the bull.  That was Velu’s problem.  Velu earned his livelihood by selling the milk from his cows. Like every herder, Velu too prayed for a female calf whenever a cow became pregnant.  Male calves are useless.  They are usually sold away as soon as they can be weaned from the mother. Male calves are a burden.  But Velu had kept this male calf, fed it well and let it grow into a fleshy bull. Now he had to sell it.  He needed the money to get his daughter admitted to college. In fact, he had kept the calf precisely for this: to ensure higher studies for his daughter.

Courtesy: iconsdb
“The laws have changed,” said Raghav, the cattle dealer.  “The buyer has to keep the bull for at least six months.”  Bulls were meant to be slaughtered, not pampered.  There was a time when bulls were pampered.  Ambala Kala, Temple Bull, that’s what they were.  Those who didn’t want to kill the male calf left it in the temple grounds.  It was considered a property of the temple.  It could go and graze anywhere.  Velu remembered the last Temple Bull that his neighbouring town had.  It was an enormous beast which looked as big as a young elephant and as majestic too.  It would walk all over the town like a king.  If someone stood in its way, it would just butt him off with its muzzle.  It knocked down quite many people from their bikes and scooters.  It loved to lie down right in the middle of the municipal bus stand which was already crowded with buses and people.  Temple Bull loved to show off wherever it was.  It loved itself.  Like a god.

Eventually Temple Bull became a menace.  People were fed up.  They complained to all the authorities available.  One day Temple Bull disappeared.  The rumours were that it was killed by one authority or the other.  Whatever that be, people were relieved.  An oppressive burden was removed from their life.

“What will I do with this bull now?” Velu lamented.

Raghav was helpless.  “I’m wondering what I’ll do for my livelihood now.” 

Velu was enlightened suddenly.  He led the bull to the temple ground.  When he reached the ground, he was rather dismayed to see a few bulls there already. 

“Temple bulls,” he muttered to himself.  “A country of temple bulls.”

11 comments:

  1. As Interesting as any other well written short story. I wonder what goes inside your mind to come up with such fascinating stories. It is the end which makes me read your stories again from the start to make a sense of the meaning given at the end.

    Have you read the short stories by J.D salinger?

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    1. I'm a fan of Catcher in the Rye by Salinger. Haven't read his short stories, however.

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  2. It has got hidden meanings,if you are to think. And it points out many social problems. Hats off sir. It speaks indirectly the present condition of our society.

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    1. The Temple Bull described in the story was real. There was one such bull in Thodupuzha during my youth. The present situation in India reminded me of him.

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  3. I really appreciate your dedication and consistency.
    Nicely penned.

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  4. Your point is valid. People eat meat of buffalo, bull and ox. But an unproductive bull should be slaughtered, is some what difficult to accept. More so when bull is revered as carrier of lord shiva. I do not deny right to food. But consider this point also.

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    1. I agree with that point. If being unproductive leads to death then it is unfortunate of the human beings to act in such cruelty.
      I even came across some people who justify that chickens are in existence because of the non vegetarians. Isn't that selfish of us to think like that.

      Even though I am a non veg, but being in top of food chain shouldn't imply that we kill anyone who is of no use to us.

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    2. Dear Abhijit da and Pranju,

      Both of you are intelligent and can give me a lot of intellectual arguments. So let us not do that for a moment.

      Let me tell you something very practical which even our PM who claims to have been a tea seller won't understand because he has forgotten his roots.

      I live in a village. With people who rear cows in order to earn their livelihood. With one stroke of the pen, just as he did it with demonetisation, our PM has made all these cow rearers paupers. They can't sell their unwanted animals which have been brought up purely for economic purposes and have nothing to do with religion. You tell them that the bull was Shiva's vehicle and they will ask you who the hell Shiva was. It doesn't matter to them which god did what in mythology. The present day problems are their concerns. Velu in my story is a real person. I didn't want to mention it because I don't want unnecessary attraction drawn on to people I know. But I have to mention it now that you two have made a purely theoretical attack on a story of mine.

      Pranju, any person who eats nonveg food has no right to question killing of animals. Every animal is sacred. And yet the lion has to kill the deer, that's the law of nature. We, homo sapiens, were hunter-gatherers for a long time until we learned to cultivate. But cultivation is a kind of slavery. The earth is a very demanding taskmaster. Hence we went ahead and invented a lot of other occupations and means of improving our lot. In the process, we have killed our own fellow beings. We still do it. Now in the name of the cow we are killing human beings. I'm questioning that.

      By the way I'm by and large a vegetarian. I hate nonveg food. But I'm forced to eat it because I now live in a place where nonveg is the most common food available.

      All our BJP leaders in Kerala were nonvegetarian until a few days back! They used to eat beef too.

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  5. Tomichan this story is like an idea trap, you have left lot unsaid, I am awaiting that, You hit the Bulls eye,

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    1. What I have left unsaid is going to play out itself in the coming months. Who will benefit by it, I'm not sure. It won't be very many. That is, a small fraction of Indians are going to reap the benefits and the vast majority will suffer much.

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