Friday, June 02, 2006

Cows and Stuff

Well, I thought I might check in and wax interminable about CIF and Harry and Euston (again)and that sort of stuff, but Matt had a post about cows which took me back a few years.

I spent a few months in Banaras, which is the best place in the world to be if you're a cow, but even so they get knocked about a bit by the rickshaws and taxis and whatnot. Indian veneration for the bovine is a passive thing. They won't hurt the critters, but they don't go out of their way to help them either.

The dogs do, though.

Mad but true. Under our balcony an old white, humpy heiffer thing used to kip down and most nights before I turned in I would look down on her to see how she was getting on. She'd sit in the same place on the dusty street, chewing the cud gleaned from the rotten vegetables, banana leaves and bidi ends that made up her diet, staring placidly at the shadows.

One night I went out on the balcony to see her assailed by a pack of pi dogs. Five of the buggers were crowded eagerly around her and although she didn't seem unduly bothered I was worried for her. I shouted down and chucked shoes and whatever I could find to drive the filthy canines away.

Eventually they slunk off and I went down to retrieve my footwear. Close to, I could see she had a nasty gash on her haunch where some vehicle had rammed into her. The wound was red and fresh and shiny. I slapped her haunch and bade her goodnight, convinced I'd done the old girl a good turn in driving her tormentors away.

Next night they were there again and again our girl was just sitting there,happy as Larry. So, before launching another shoe frenzy, I observed proceedings. The dogs were jostling to LICK the wound on the cow's haunch. I left them them to it.

It was much later that I read that dogs' saliva is a sort of natural antiseptic, which is why they are always licking them selves, I suppose, and I suppose there was some sort of symbiotic, mutually beneficial thing going on in that dusty Indian night.