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Cow Hug Day -2 Govalu Story

Discussion in 'Snippets of Life (Non-Fiction)' started by Thyagarajan, Feb 11, 2023.

  1. Thyagarajan

    Thyagarajan IL Hall of Fame

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    (3M – Me, Mom & Milk)

    Dedicated to bovines on COW HUG DAY.

    It was A Thillana Friday Night during Tamil month Marghayzhi - concluding part of the Arengetram reaching its crescendo at Royapettah Woodlands' verdant lawn. Preceding this, moon-lit open air auditorium was reverberating with applause from invitees as the chief guest was garlanded who spoke extempore showering platitudes on the Guru of my dancing sister.

    When we were about to board the pick-up-van, I saw mom clutching her stomach indicating onset of her monthly resting period. When she complained of her full-moon-triggered migraine head-ache, I understood the following week-end going to be hectic and it would begin collecting milk from vendor at around 5 A.M. It was during when city never heard of bottled or pouch-filled milk .

    It was 11 o'clock, When the van had reached us home in a small tenement proximate to beach known for its numerous temples, narrow by-lanes, and squalid dwellings with multiple tenants, bovines and mosquitoes.

    When I was attending seventh standard, my beloved mother had trained me in all aspects of household work. It came handy especially when she was suffering from migraine during those three days. I used to invariably manage single handed. It was effortless because of practise; and sister being younger and was spotted for award of scholarship for learning Bharatanatyam and apple of my eye, I seldom sought her help even though she offered. Week-ends, escorting her to dance class was used to be my priority and that helped as an onlooker to pick-up bit of dancing.

    So, the following day, I woke up at half past four to the alarm from west-end timepiece. Lazily I got up, pushed aside the cotton-mosquito-net and began tottering in dark, a tad carefully, not to trip over sleeping mother and sister on the floor. After arresting the alarm, I picked up the dedicated milk-container (pal thooku in Tamil) and ambled toward the entrance, when beloved mother in her cracked tone, muttered to tread carefully.

    I reached through cold misty dull-lit barren wide road to a bright-lit-shop in a dung filled dark lane; few men and a lady already gathered around a long broad wooden bench there.

    On seeing my presence from a distance, stocky Govalu rushed up. He was attired in colourful chequered lungi, white shirt with his head sporting a mundasu(a make-shift head gear made of long cotton material twisted along its length) and his ear-lobes donning golden studs. Readying for action, Govalu by sleight of his hand twirled above his head in air, a slim tall shining cylindrical container - a gesture to establish that container is empty.

    To mitigate Lakumi’s sorrow due to separation from her malecalf that had expired a few days ago and to overcome possibly her poor lactation, Govalu had been bringing a dummy calf along; and while milking her, he used to keep it positioned so that it is in her view. This particular day he forgot to bring the dummy. Lifting the hem of lungi with his foot and hands, he folded it upwards above his half-pant and knotted it at his front. He sat awkwardly by the side of the cow holding obliquely top of the brass container between his knees beneath her udder.

    Distant rays from an incandescent lamp reflected in the large eyes of the Lakumi which were tear fully looking at lose heap of hay on the floor. The dark long lengthy shaky shadow of her cast on the floor and dummy calf conspicuous by its absence were foreboding approaching pandemonium.

    As he gently worked on her oiled teats between his thumb and index fingers of both hands, those at earshot invariably pleased as they could hear the jet of milk impacting on the inner wall of the container between his knees. That was precisely the moment, the stationary Lakumi seemed annoyed.

    The cow noticed absence of calf & was in dither. She ignored the hay in front, moved tad slowly back and forth and with hoof of her hind left leg, gave a sharp kick on the face of Govalu who fell away on his back. The container fell out of his knees and rolled, jerking out copious water which instantly turned into rivulets on the floor.

    Lakumi now seemed a picture of aplomb, seemingly satisfied with double whammy that she had precisely awarded to her master for cheating her with dummy calf and the customers with adulterated milk. She then went about chewing the cold hay, while Govalu was twitching his cheek, limping due to bruises on his solar plexus.

    The tintinnabulation from a small metal bell tied to a black woollen cord around Lakumi’s neck was perhaps soothing the injured Govalu & and me too!

    A Sequel in the offing.

    (This is my nominated post for FP some years ago now stands modified to suit the impending COW HUG DAY on 14th Feb)
    Last edited: Feb 11, 2023

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