"I am sure there is more to this story than what appears," our editor said as soon as the story about a cow getting an admit card for a competitive exam in Kashmir broke. Of course our editor always says this about any and every news even if it is about rise or fall in the rates of potatoes! I thought this was my opportunity to impress the editor as I had an ace up my sleeve. You see I can understand animal lingo and even converse in it. If you think I am fibbing you haven't watched the movie Dr. Doolittle, an Amrikan movie too so it must be a true story. As proof of my capacity to converse in animal lingo let me tell you that I have never been bitten by a dog in my whole life which would sound like a miracle in Kashmir. It's no miracle though but the result of successful on-going dialogue with dogs for indeed as the authorities always keep telling us any issue can be resolved through dialogue.
Anyway so here I was in "Kah Charie, Humkalan Brenwar, Chadoora Budgam' the address of Kachir Gaw (Brown cow), the by now celebrity cow-candidate, as listed by BOPEE in the admit card issued by them. Kah Charie turned out to be a swathe of grazing land and there were quite a few cows and bulls grazing there.
"Excuse me sir," I asked this old bull ruminating in the shadow of a tree, "Where can I find Kachir Gaw?"
The bull snorted contemptuously and moving its head towards the left started mooing loudly.
"What's it granduncle?" a red bull came sauntering up to the bull.
"This sample of humankind has come to see your bright daughter. What is the world coming to! Fancy a cow reading!"
"Now now Granduncle don't you start off again. You should be proud that the first ever cow to get an education is your kin, study in a polytechnic too!" the red bull said.
"Bullshit!" the old bull mooed.
"Please don't mind the old geezer. He is a bit old-fashioned," Gura dhand – for it was him, Kachir Gaw's father – told me as he led me to his daughter. "Kachiri is behind that rock. I tell her you concentrate on your books and I will bring you all the grass you need."
"But I thought – well everybody thinks this is just a prank!" I told him.
"Prank! Bullshit! The admit card is for real and so is Kachir Gaw and so is her intention to appear for the exam. We won't let anyone bull-y us and we won't be cowed!" Gura Dhand said in an aggressive tone.
"How did it all start?" I asked.
Gura Dhand said, "You see I happened to see this poster with a big picture of Modi sahib and the legend 'Sabka saath sabka vikas'. That set me thinking. You know since Modi sahib has taken up the affairs of the country I don't know about people but our kind is definitely seeing better days like they have already banned cow slaughter in Maharashtra."
"But why Kachir Gaw?" I asked.
"Ah! You mean why I decided to get my daughter educated instead of my sons don't you?" Gura Dhand said, "My sons are all bulls of course, dhands and it is not for nothing that you people use dhand as a synonym for dullards. They are just that, teasing calves and running after cows double their age all day long. But my Kachiri my Kachir vatscher (female calf) she is such a delight to me! There she is!"
We had turned around the rock by this time and sure enough there was this young cow reading a book with such concentration that she did not even notice our approach.
"She is the pride of my heart," Gura Dhand said muzzling her, "besides I myself heard Modi ji say 'beti bachao beti padao'. My Kachiri will be the first one to go to this polytechnic and if BOPEE continues to be as beneficent as it has been this time around my other daughter Krehin Gaw (Black Cow) will apply for BVSc next year, she wants to be a veterinary gynecologist. This move by the BOPEE is a move in the right direction! It will be right to re-designate them as the Competent Authority, in fact Very Competent Authority considering that their competence has now extended to including us dungers as well!"
"Yeah it is a moo in the right direction," I said in a flippant tone, "I think designating them as 'Ruminant Authority' would be more appropriate under the circumstances."
Gura Dhand glowered at me. The guy has a chip on his shoulder so far as we humans go. When I asked him, "Where are the logistics for providing education to cows?" he snorted and said quite rudely,
"Obviously a city dandy like you wouldn't know. In villages nearly half of the schools exist in close proximity to cowsheds and in fact some of them operate from cowsheds only! So it should be no problem if a few classes are held for cows too."
Well I never got round to interviewing Kachir Gaw, who turned out to be quite a charming little thing, because Gura Dhand kept butting in. Kachir Gaw pestered me no end to teach her some physics which was rather embarrassing because I have always failed in Physics (besides other subjects of course!). When she asked me about my zodiac sign I flirtatiously said, "Taurus!" which really made her laugh. It was nice getting to know Kachir Gaw though I can't say the same about Gura Dhand.
I wish Kachir Gaw all the success!
(Truth is mostly unpalatable…but truth cannot be ignored! Here we serve the truth, seasoned with salt and pepper and a dash of sauce (iness!). You can record your burps, belches and indigestion, if any, at email@example.com