Monday, July 24, 2017

A Vow for Munchi

Its six months since Operation Munchkins, when we ran after a little stray heifer for 4 hours in a tropical thunderstorm, trapped her, jumped her and got vets to cure the hideous nose wound made by a rope that was eating into her flesh.

We didnt know where she was from - there were two theories that she was an escaped slaughter house cow, and the second theory that she had been releasaed in fullfilment of a vow as is done by some Buddhists and Hindus. I personally go with the slaughter house story because the "Vow Cows"in Sri Lanka usually have a little branding saying PINg so that people know they are sacred or whatever. Munchi dosnt have the branding.

Thats a psychedelic camera phone image of a photograph of Munch after the rope was cut away.​ Belongs to Zeenath Amanath my partner in crime

 A neighbor of mine named Zeenath and I became the best of friends as we sat in the evenings after work, looking after her, swatting mosquitoes, bringing her kilos of food, dancing about after her trying to spray maggot repellent on her sore nose which she thoroughly resented. 
Then there was the incredible Christmas eve drama of how we had to work around the clock to get the government papers and transport ready to whiz her out of Wellampitiya which was not safe, teaming as it is with druggies and abbatior lorries ready to get hold of a vulnerable walking beef. 

We spent another tense couple of weeks watching over her as we tried to integrate her into the rural environment more suited to a lady of her vegetarian requirements...and she very literally dragged a number of strong men over drains and ditches in her stubborn attempts at escape. Our ideas of her gently grazing while tied to local trees were rudely shattered by a stubborn little barrel of bovine determination who insisted that she would not be tied, would not live in anyone's backyard and damn well wanted to go whereever she wanted.

So for the next three months as we trailed uselessly in the background biting our nails
​, falling in ditches and getting lost in the jungle (me mostly, and thats when my husband said, "the cow I can find, but where the blazes did you go!")​
and whatsapping photos of her latest exploits, she managed to integrate herself with a little herd of fellow 
​bovines, in a small community of newly developing houses, there to retire gracefully... or so we hoped.

​This month July was incredibly difficult for me. Not only did my beloved mother in law pass away,(peacefully and gracefully as was her way) marking the end of a chapter in my life, and bringing me closer to my mortality...but an incident of wanton cruelty resulted in my favorite cat dying a gruesome, ghastly ​death after prolonged suffering due to someone having thrown boiling water on it. 
I was with Biscuit all along and the worst part is not every one will understand the pain this process caused me, as I tried everything I could to save this cat. 

the adorable chubby Biscuit so named because he liked eating confectionery 

IN the midst of trying to recover from this difficulty came the news that Munchi was missing, and, when we followed up, some of our more smart ass young neighbours insisted that she must have been "taken"
Now you know what I mean, "taken" as in kidnapped by a passing lorry of cattle smugglers, to be sold at the nearest abattoir for a quick buck and some beef. My mind imagined ways in which parts of Munchi would be roasted, grilled, boiled, fried...for the alcoholic evening enjoyment of groups of loud local three-wheel drivers (you have probably picked up that I hate this entire sub section of society.) It was like imagining gang rape. 
I could not stay calm.
I went blind with rage at the whole idea.
There were seven cows in just the herd she belonged to, and there were about twenty cows i personally recognised in my neighbourhood, black ones, brown ones, white ones, spotty ones, grainy ones etc and who the HELL were these people (including my husband) to stand there and calmly suggest that Munchi alone had been taken ?? for that is what they did, as if they knew it all. There was supposed to be a white van of all things, taking cows. 
But why Munchi? 
Because she was fat looking? gingerly suggested my cowboy husband, and got a truly poisonous look from me...
I didnt know what to do. 
Spent some time actually crying.

I had been playing with being a vegetarian for a couple of months, but this time I decided to put my foot down on it and reject any temptation this filthy universe sent my way. No I would not be part of a system which tormented innocent beings the way this world did. No I would not put innocent misery in my stomach again.

I hated the world, hated nature, hated the whole of Godforsaken Hanwella including my husband who I insulted and bullied as much as I could, implying that his manhood itself was to be doubted if in the whole of his hometown,where he was such a figure, only his cow got lifted out of the dozens I could see. 

He refused to be insulted but was genuinely sad about the lost Munchkin. 
the kovil inside- not sure if its allowed to take photos though

Then some village woman suggested we make a vow at the local Hindu Kovil, which was actually a place with a large stone cow kept as an effigy- supposedly a vehicle of the Gods, or a favorite of the Hindus or some such thing. I liked the idea. I loved the kovil as i had earlier visited out of curiosity, and this time I was here on business.
Making a vow (not to be confused here with the original vow made by the people supposedly releasing Munchi from a slaughterhouse death) means you promise to do something that the Gods want, and ask them to grant you a favour.  
I had to resist the impulse to ask for uncounted riches and fame, helicopters and a yacht as well as food for every starving cat and dog in the world,- and instead tied a modest 5 /= coin and lit some lamps and joss sticks and reasonably asked instead that the Gods please please look after this stubborn BITCH of a cow and keep her safe into her old age, and also send us a sign soon that she was ok. 
My promise was that I would bring them a fruit basket (big deal?) and also incidentally, by the way, if anyone cared, that I would be vegetarian for the rest of my life. (apparently this could mean something)

pooja items, fruits, and coconuts, innocent stuff that Hindu Gods seem to like

I loved the camphor and the joss sticks, and the Swami was actually a rather dishy young dude though very full of himself, and principled I understand as he had put up a board saying he would not do magic and curses, but for other matters to contact him ( I guess he would do the vows thing) He made us buy a ticket for the upkeep of the kovil, and also told us to walk three times around the place with the burning coconut and wish hard in our minds for what we wanted while he also said something very iconic in some other language, which is presumably how he communicated with the deities...and I was supposed to break the coconut and make the wish.
I did, and the coconut broke at once, meaning that the wish would be successful.
I hoped so and I felt good.
I dont know.
THe last I heard this morning was that Munchi had been spotted and was fine.
I like to think it was my vow and my prayers, but  I also feel it was the luck of one very blessed little street cow.
Ive decided Im not going to look for her any more, but I will trust in the Gods, the goodness of the universe, and her own powerful destiny to keep her happy wherever she is until the end of her time and mine. 

Stay safe stubborn willful Munchi and may you be blessed like we are to have known you! 

No comments: