Saturday, October 9, 2010

Of Cows and Crisis and Maa Shakti

i have just been through some difficult times lately and went through the moves as any person would but that just got me analysing about how well equipped or ill equipped i am to handle crisis. Whether i make the best of my faculties or i buckle under pressure? Some one just told me few years back...not someone but my Dad actually that when faced with crisis generally two things happen. Either your strength magnifies or you feel helpless, and just too weak to do anything about it . This he explained by narrating an incident that happened while he was tending to his favourite cows in the cow-shed.

He started by keeping one and in about a couple of years was the proud owner of six cows all Jersey and four calves when he was beset by this crisis which caught him quite unawares and just too suddenly.

That particular heifer was a baby of the first Jersey he had bought and she was just like her mother in all manners except one. Dark but not black with a light spot on her forehead she was endowed with the same physical attractiveness of her mother but unlike her mother was not as obedient and gentle. She was what one would call a demanding character and would want her mother's attention constantly. You could see the sibling rivalry loud and clear when another calf joined the family. If left unattended she would hurry next to her mother, nudge her and demand to be licked and fondled and sometimes even try to suckle her. She would even try to kick her brother away. Thanks to my Dad he would laugh at all her antics just like he would while watching the antics of a baby and made it a point that we participated as a spectators to have a clear view of all that drama that ensued.  i in turn would be amazed by this display of so much of a  human trait in what we call animals.
'' She is a baby and will outgrow her childishness once she becomes a mother herself ..." he would say talking to her gently and pulling her back and fixing her to her allotted space in the cow shed. Trying to divert her from her mother, Dad would make earnest attempts to fill her feeding trough with lots of greens including spinach left overs and a pot pourri of other nutritious greens. Sometimes adding a generous dash of honey to her mix of hay and mustard oil cake. On his attempts to cajole the angry overgrown baby rarely would he succeed but most times he had to bear her constant mooing which was her cry of rebellion.

This particular incident to demonstrate human ability to combat crisis concerns this heifer and my Dad when that heifer was now a young mother. This may sound strange but even after turning into a mother the heifer did something which no one could ever imagine. It sounds incredible to all i have narrated this story to, but not to me because i have seen what that young mother would do. We were just too casual and amused by her strangeness and thought her more to be a freak but never once thought of getting her strangeness photographed . i am sure if we did, our heifer would be occupying a proud place in the records probably in the one which gives a chronicle of amazing and incredible facts.

This is what she would do- lift her hind legs and suckle her own milk.
Sounds incredible. But that's exactly what she did. And regarding her motherly instincts she was still worse. She was hopeless.
We never saw her fondling her own calf rather the first time the baby was brought for feeding she tried to kick the baby away. Her behaviour perturbed everyone and as situation demanded there were now two major contraptions that were most necessary something like a life-jacket when dealing with her.
a) A strong jute net that covered her mouth as soon as her feeding got over.
b) A strong  lengthy rope to be hung just by her side and used to tie her hind  legs criss cross in such a way that she would be unable to kick the calf while he would suckle her during the timely feeds.

That particular day it so happened that after feeding her, my Dad and the other man who tended the cows  got a bit diverted towards another cow who was creating a ruckus with her constant mooing.
The young mother was left unattended , untethered and as her freedom would have it, she sauntered off to a nice shady patch near the cow shed and raised her hind legs and started suckling her own milk completely oblivious of her calf who was calling out to her for being fed.
That constant cry of the calf made my Dad look around to see why that calf was crying out incessantly. Probably the poor baby was trying to draw attention towards the crime being committed or was trying to stop his mother for denying him his share. Whatever but his cries jolted my Dad to alertness.
He and the other man were out of their wits to see the young mother drinking her own milk to God's glory.
So he shouted at her and along with other man who tended the cows rushed to that shady patch where the young mother was.
As soon as he got near and tried to pull her neck by the rope with which she would be tethered, all this while shouting, " Aye badmaash !! badmaaaash !! to distract her, she charged at him. i must mention here that all along her growing up, my Dad had been very patient and gentle with her. He had never reprimanded her rather found her just too endearing in all that she did. Mostly she amused him in her strangeness. Sometimes though he just mulled about her weird ways trying to equate it with a sense of insecurity that kids have who suckle their thumb to sleep or just suckle their thumb when left alone.

My father got taken aback and before he could move back he lost his balance and fell down.
She in her fury wanted to trample my father by her front hooves as not by one but both her hooves were raised and just at that moment the unique phenomenon of crisis magnifying your strength  happened for my Dad.
He was on the ground lying flat on his back and for protection he raised his hands with his palms stretched out and with all his strength grabbed her hooves and pushed her back.
She lost her balance needed to strike and by the time she could steady herself to attack once more the other man had already got hold of her.
Although my Dad always thought that a cow without horns looks pathetic and that he had bought a Jersey for the simple fact that he thought about the manageable milk yield,  low maintenance cost and that it was a good breed to domesticate,  he would've thanked lord Almighty that day that this Jersey was hornless.

Now i don't know if my conjecture was the same as his because it depends on what you call a crisis but one thing is definite."Every little thing counts in a crisis." ~ Jawaharlal Nehru.
My Dad and his narration stayed with me all the while as i tended to my crisis and each time i thought that just like anyone else who buckle under pressure i did too but more than that i was also richly endowed with the faculties to see me through the crisis and emerging more confident after that. 
Just relieved  now when that awful time passed not without giving me yet another sense of enlightenment that i thought better to share than just remember my Dad and his sermon about crisis.

It just happens that you would be surrounded by negative thoughts and the strongest being of fear. Very naturally all dreadful thoughts will stealthily get hold of you and you start imagining a lot worse. But you have to battle it out. What is the best available... and within your reach... you do... this best available could be the simplest of the reflexes that is within all of us. And that simple thing could be what counts at that particular moment. For when my husband fell unconscious and i was in the state of panic...the simplest i could do was to battle the panic out and tell myself again and again..." No nothing will go wrong he'll be alright...he'll be alright..."
Then of course the wifely duty of tending to him while he was admitted in the hospital...nursing and motivating him to fight back...being vigilant and attentive both to his needs and to the doctor's instructions.
The simplest i could do then was to use all my positive energy to fight back the bad look strong and pretend that it was just some common cold and he will get over with it in a few days.
 We will get to cross the river when we reach it...that is if that situation comes when the river has to be crossed.
Thankfully the situation never arrived and his condition improved so much so that when the reports looked positive we were allowed to bring him home.
He is all well now and when playing ludo with him or just being by his side as he recuperates from his extreme weakness i keep thinking about crisis and thanking everyone...all those whose blessings i have with me to see me Dad
Then my friends who not only provided me with valuable inputs which should be the main theme of my next blog.
And last but not the least that power which many people call by Maa Shakti who dwelled in me even when i  succumbed to a slumber of tiredness.

"Yaa Devii Sarvabhuuteshhu Maatrirupena Sansthitah
Yaa Devii Sarvabhuuteshhu Shaktirupena Sansthitah
Yaa Devii Sarvabhuuteshhu Shaantirupena Sansthitah
Namastasyaih Namastasyaih Namastasyaih Namo Namah"

Meaning: Goddess Durga is omnipresent. She is the personification of Universal Mother. She is a Mother, who is present everywhere and who is embodiment of power and energy. Great mother, who is present everywhere and who is embodiment of Peace. I bow to that mother, I bow to Durga, I bow to Shakti.

So when the crisis is upon you, remember that God, like a trainer of wrestlers, has matched you with a tough and stalwart antagonist... That you may prove a victor at the Great Games. ~ Epictetus

Just something about Jersey cows for those interested:

About Jersey Cows

About Jersey Cows
About Jersey Cows
Jersey cows are one of the most recognizable breeds of cows, seen as a sea of honey brown roaming vast green pastures around the world. Valued for their small size, easy-going temperament and their milk--high in butterfat--Jersey cows are the product of years of careful breeding and cultivation.

Read more: About Jersey Cows |

Image courtesy:


  1. Shivani, true to what you have written in your post, you seem to have battled it out very well. Nice to know that your husband is back to health. Here's to his good health and your spirits... Cheers!!!!
    Once again a good post, was really thrilled reading the demanding character of the Jersey cow in question. Probably it was born before its time... What with humans behaving equally strange these days.
    Looking forward to your next post.
    Meanwhile, Do convey my best wishes and a super fast recovery to your husband.

  2. Tandarin i must say that i look forward to ur words because they bring joy to me.Thank you so much for reading and more thanks for ur good wishes.
    My husband joins me in thanking you and yes he is much better now only some weakness which i'm sure will ease out in due course of time.

  3. shivani, a good blog and info about jersey cows which I had no knowledge of.
    Wishing your husband a fast recovery - may he gain his strength back - take care of him as well as yourself. In times of crisis we women do stand strong and full of positivity- its amazing how Maa durga gives us shakti to deal with the situation.
    May god bless you both...

  4. @Mini yup!! agree to all you said about being strong...but in my case i only realised it later when situations improved.
    Thank you for stopping by and filling me with happiness.Here's wishing you and family a very enriching and fulfilling Navaratri.
    Jai Maa Durga!! Jai Maa Ambe Bhavaani !!!

  5. :) Nice piece. Good to hear that your husband is feeling much better now and out of the hospital. Take care.

  6. @ Karthik Thank you so much.All these words from you and i feel on top of the world now.
    Yeah my husband is doing fine and regaining his lost strength day by day.
    And for all this what reverberates inside me is Jai Maa !! Jai Maa !!

  7. One piece of information, to distinguish a jersey cow from a desi bred cow. Jersey cow has no hump whereas the desi cow has.

  8. @Navita first thank you for this pleasant surprise.Then another thank you for this piece of information. i only wish now that you do this often because it matters to me. :)

  9. A truly interesting post. The Aall is well principle does help us in times of distress. :)
    It may not solve the problem, but can at least give us the strength , calm and composure to get around 'situation critical '.

  10. @Aakkash thank you Sonna and very rightly said that it helps to remain calm instead of freaking out and making matters worse.Although i must admit that i had to struggle hard for the calmness...maybe i was trying just too hard.
    Thanks Raja and God Bless

  11. evry word of ur post hols daughter faced a cow crisis when she was chased by a humble looking cow.this ten year old angel ran 4 her life.she got the courage to save herself.and i got the courage to face crisis when i was in labour.

  12. @Gauri definitely i agree...what else but MAA SHAKTI...helping us cope and deal with all kinds of crisis.
    JAI MAA.
    Thanks for sharing ur moments of crisis and acknowledging.:)

  13. yeah thanks,it helps us to cope