Wednesday, December 26, 2007

The Roadside Zoo

There is a free tourist attraction when you travel in India. It is called the roadside Zoo.

Indian Sikhs love the cow and worship it. The cows gather in groups and insolently travel through the streets and alleys, the deserted plains, the expressways. Sometimes they may even drop their "treasures" on the way. The Indian tour guide told us that if we stepped on cow dung, we would have very good luck! Dearest me! Before I could tell whether he was comforting me or teasing me, I had treaded on it, fresh from the oven.

I had believed that the cows were sacred beings that were cared for and free from toil. However, that was not true. That belief was the Sikhs. Their bulls had to plow the fields, pull carts and slog like a slave, but the cows's responsibilities were to breed. Same faces but such a different fate!
Actually, this holds true for all agricultural countries: the stronger domesticated animals all have to work.

The camel must be the most ill-fated along our journey. Those from Bikaner are more well cuilt and perform labour-intensive tasks like pulling bricks, building materials, food supplies etc. Those from Rajasthan are thinner and specialise as transport animals for tourists. Same camel, different fate!

We could occasionally see deer, antelopes, pigs, peacocks, dogs, snakes, monkeys, horses etc in the desert. It was a true roadside Zoo.

Sometimes we would see animal carcasses at the roadside. If the hide was valuable, it would be removed, leaving behind a naked carcass to serve as a buffet for other animals. We saw a group of crows circling a naked cow carcass. I guess the other animals suffer the same fate.
When traveling in India, we should make friends with animals. Otherwise, if you accidentally knock over a cow for dead, not only would you be reprimanded, you would suffer bad luck for life.

Actually, beliefs are held within one's heart. Serious car accidents can result from letting the cows have their dalliances on the road. That would cause harm to both the animals and the human beings. I really cannot tell whether is this "love"?!

Love is altruistic. Taking care of the cows at home and letting them be king is better than leaving them at the roadside to face threats to their lives.

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