Once upon a time, there was a good farmer who lived with his good wife. Childless, they earned their living by renting their beloved bull for ploughing the lands of the neighbouring farms. That bull was a fine specimen. Ahem!…. That would be me.

Dear reader, I entreat you to imagine me, a sturdy bull, hump and hooves black, body white as pearls, horns long and pointed, my riveting eyes trained on you, galloping full throttle in your direction. Imagine! Yeah, I was a handsome chap.

In a thin strip of soil they owned, Ma and Pa grew their nourishment needs and the best of the milky fodder for me, the apple of their eyes. I, in turn, would behave like an excited calf when I would see my momma. I loved them with all my humongous might. All was well until the monsoon failed us time and again. Farmers had no need to till their caked land. I became jobless. Our land dried up too and we were neck deep in mortgage. The Banks were of the sincere sorts. When their flamboyant customers showed their empty Armani pockets, they came back in full vengeance to retrieve their losses from the loin clothes of the farmers. After all, rules were rules.

In such a dire situation, Sir, one day, I was surprised when Pa made my favourite meal of cotton seeds and rice gruel. I could not understand why he had tears in his eyes. Before giving my meal a final swirl with his bare hands, he mixed a pink liquid in it. Then he went on to mix the same liquid in his and Ma’s thin gruel. He put the vat in front of me and I plunged towards it hoping the pink stuff would make my food sweeter. But the pungent chemical smell put me off and I refused to eat. I was hungry and started bellowing for my Ma.

Ma, who had eyes that could put an eagle to shame, immediately noticed something amiss with my food. She was livid. Now, dear reader, I was a 500-kilo hunk with horns and I would cower like a kitten when  I see my Ma angry. My hollow-bellied Pa stood no chance. She kicked the vat aside and screamed at my Pa for his cowardice.

To cut the short story shorter, a few weeks later, Ma, Pa and I were on our way to the coal mines a few hundred kilometres away, where they were to work as daily labourers. The agent, a fine fellow with a look of a suited bandicoot, had promised them a hut and even a shaded shelter for me in the nearby village. Though it was obvious that he was desperate to hire labourers, Ma and Pa had no choice.  So there I was, hauled onto a cattle carrier along with several cows owned by a dairy company. Ma and Pa had cajoled and begged the driver to add one more animal to the vehicle. My parents had taken the seat along with the driver and the other cattle handlers. The driver agreed to drop us at the mining village for a sum, of course. The rickety vehicle shook, jostled and spewed towards our uncertain future.  We travelled all through the night.

I, Sir, was of the posh kind. In our village, I was known for my regal looks and was much in demand among the cow owners to pass on my genes. Even then, Sir, Contact Swetha Ponnekanti and tell her an elephant and ant joke  that makes her laugh to know your team mate whenever I was given a free hand with their beloved cows, I would always ‘May I’ with the madam cow, before getting on with the job. So, when the temptation was rubbing shoulders and other parts of mine, I maintained a decent abstinence.

By early morning, the vehicle finally gave up its will to carry on. After the driver made a big fuss around the vehicle for hours, it finally sputtered back to life. But the driver observed that the extra load led to the breaking down of the otherwise spectacular vintage vehicle and so abandoned us right in the middle of the road. Luckily we were not far from our destination.

As I started to walk towards the village, I noticed that the land here was far worse than ours. It was bone dry and barren, deep fissures forming dry veins on mother Earth.  The air was thick with fly ash from the coal mines. In a far distance, I could see Earth, disembowelled her black flesh carted off in lorries.

By the time I reached the village, I was parched and hungry. When I entered the village with my Pa and Ma, I attracted startled looks from the villagers who soon formed an amused crowd around me. I was used to ogling looks of madam cows, thanks to my stunning physique. However coming from humans, it was unsettling at the least. It was interesting that I was immediately fed hay, banana and a trough of water. My parents were taken care of too. The village seemed festive, lights hanging from the leafless branches and poles on either side of the mud road, festooned. Nevertheless, the mood was one of apprehension. I soon found out why.

The rain Gods had been completely ignoring the village and the surrounding areas for several years now. The local MLA who was rumoured to have an interest in the coal mine was truly aghast. After clearing a few hectares of the forest, he had toiled very hard, disregarding a law here and murdering a few there, in order to establish this mine. However, the Gods, whom the MLA reverently prayed to and paid obeisance at the start of the project, had other ideas. The monsoon which had been quite punctual until then began to miss its appointments. Gradually, the land became so sun-scorched that even labourers in the mines were reluctant to live in this arid area.

While the MLA pondered over the matter in his air-conditioned office, a brilliant algebraic calculation crossed his mind. If X were the rains and Y were the frogs, he observed how X always increased Y. So if X increased Y, then the converse should hold water. To put in layman terms, if the number of frogs were increased, that would proportionately increase the chances of rains. Amidst the thunderous clappings of the civil servants, the MLA promised to implement the policy right away. What better way to do it other than joining two amorous amphibians in holy matrimony?  

Two government officers of excellent repute were deputed to find unwitting frogs that had so far enjoyed the perks of being single and carefree. After many rejections based on looks, skin colour and possible virility, the bride and the groom were selected and wedded in a very orthodox ceremony.

It had been a year since the webbed couple had happily hopped into the setting sun. But Zilch.

Maybe the frogs were toads. Maybe they consummated their marriage the unpious way without the aide of tears. For some inexplicable reason, pregnant clouds never peeked into the area.

After mulling over the matter during this monsoon season, it was unanimously agreed that the frogs were unclean. To appease the Gods, one needed to marry off something more sacred. What is more sacred than a Cow? As before, a thorough background check was conducted on the Gothras of the cattle. The bride was from the same village and the bull was zeroed in after meticulous screening. The MLA personally oversaw the marriage preparations. Bands were engaged for the after-marriage party. A lavish feast that included the local brew was to follow.

The auspicious day and time finally arrived today. But something unfortunate had occurred. The Bridegroom Bull who was strutting his stuff until yesterday, went missing, thanks to a loosely tethered rope. Cold hooves, I reasoned. The mood in the village turned somber. The MLA, upset over the turn of events, ordered to find a replacement as soon as possible. Just as the villagers and civil servants were wringing their hands helplessly,  I had entered the village. My arrival was hailed as God’s approval of their plans.

The village headman explained the situation to my Ma and Pa as the bride carried on chewing her cud nonchalantly. I stole a glance towards my soon-to-be missus. She was a bit on the bonier side. I preferred mine well rounded. Well, I had an obligation to the community and my personal preferences had to take the back seat. My clever Ma saw this as her opportunity to negotiate my dowry. After reasonable haggling, matters were settled and the wedding was to take place, as planned.

Sporting an ornamental headgear and bells around my neck, I was taken to the village centre where the ceremony was to be conducted. I jingled to attract the attention of my bovine beauty. I am sure she checked me out slyly but continued to chew her grub as if she did not care. For someone of her size, she chomped a lot. Now I knew the reason why my predecessor took off in such a hurry. I was already worried about losing half my earnings on her gargantuan appetite!

At the ceremony a gentleman who sat near the sacred fire was talking to the Gods in their language, Sanskrit I thought,  appealing them to make our union a successful one. Just then I sensed a tingling feeling in the gut. I was quite thrilled about my turn of luck. Good food and a wife to boot. In my excitement, I continued to ignore my full bladder. The tingling soon turned into a nuisance. People around me drinking yellowish ginger soda did not help the cause.  I ‘moo’ed to get my Ma’s attention. But she just did not know and continued to quench her thirst in long gulps. I tried everything from crossing my hind limbs tightly to chanting ‘You can do it. You can hold on’. But my bladder refused to listen to my pep talk. Finally, I turned to my companion, uttered a rather elegant ‘excuez- moi’ before I opened the floodgates. As if on cue, my companion let her guard down and let it all flow too.  Between us, we managed to make a puddle big enough to swamp the gentleman at our feet. That was probably the only time my missus and I agreed on something.

I didn’t know why but our ‘business’ made the villagers very happy and they broke into a rapturous celebration.

‘The Gods have blessed us! They have shown us mercy’, they screamed.

The wedding was carried on with renewed faith but only after customary bottling of the bodily fluids (wonder why missus’ is holier than mine and how would they ever know the difference).

The Gods were indeed happy with the union, for the dark clouds were rolling towards us and in a matter of few hours, it rained. Nay, It poured.

From that year on, there were fewer monsoonal disappointments and soon the rain Gods became a regular in the area again. Nobody knew why.

Was it the new collector who was strict with the mining and deforestation laws?

Was it the villagers who started a green drive to plant a sapling for every tree that fell?

Was it the MLA’s other scandalous calculations that led to his eventual arrest?

All said and done, my role in appeasing the rain God could never be undermined.

My parents who settled in the village for good,  were revered for bringing in the lucky mascot and they spent their later life in reasonable comfort as cattle breeders.

Now, Dear reader if you are wondering what kind of a bull shit/urine story this is, it’s a 2000 and the odd worded story of two people whose journey was interrupted due to a vehicle break down.

I humbly apologise if I have offended your delicate sensibilites in anyway.

As for my missus and I, we sired a good-for-nothing who in turn sired many more of that kind (probably got it from the missus side of the family) and we lived happily ever after.

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Sarveswari Sai Krishna

Written by Sarveswari Sai Krishna

The author wishes to write like J M Coetzee, cook like Nigella Lawson and earn like Beyonce and at the end of the day, not look like something the cat dragged in. If wishes were horses...