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Cows crossing the road on a foggy day

Oh no, no, no, no, no. This is not about the gaumatas or their (supposed) guardians the gaurakshaks of India. This post is about cows from a different continent altogether. Come to think of it, describing non-Indian cows as clever might just land me in a soup. The world over the preferred flavor of the times seems to be nationalism. Mine are the best. My culture, my language, my cows. But what needs telling, needs to be told without fear or favor. Hence I say, the cows I saw at Point Reyes are a clever lot of whatchamacallits.

As many are aware, I was visiting the First Born on the other side of the globe in June/July. One weekend he took me to Point Reyes.  It was chilly, windy and foggy that day. But as I saw it, it didn’t in the slightest seem to dampen the enthusiasm of the visitors. I know it didn’t dampen mine for sure.

After seeing the Cypress tunnel, a couple of beaches and the lighthouse (the fog lifted briefly for me to be able to take a decent enough picture of the lighthouse), we were on our way to see the elephant seals when we came across some cows crossing the road. Being polite, we stopped and let them have right of way. Heck, THEY had right of way. So we waited for them to cross to the other side.

Cow after cow after cow walked across, nose to tail, mooing to each other, some even glancing our way. The gaurakshaks and their sponsors are not going to like what I am going to say next, they being of the opinion that the Indian breed of cows are the best. But frankly, though I am certainly no expert when it comes to assessing cows, these cows looked well fed (definitely not on rubbish, plastic and empty rhetoric!) and cared for in the real sense (not as a symbol).

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A placid glance for the waiting humans

Anyways, after a while the number of cows trickled down. There is a tide in the affairs of men, which taken at the flood, leads on to fortune and all that blah blah, you know. And we must take the current when it serves, or lose our ventures. Or so says the Bard. We didn’t want to be led to fortune, only drive to see the elephant seals, had no ventures to lose, except for a few minutes of our time. But still, this was the moment before the next batch of cows descended that we needed to take.

We waited for the last of the cows of the present lot to plod over to the other side …except that the very last cow, having given us a placid look, just stood there. JUST STOOD THERE. Like the rock of Gibraltar. Strong, Silent. Still. Having no choice, we stood too, umm… I mean sat, in our car. Puzzled. Nonplussed. Amazed.

Someone could be seen driving around the field to the right, persuading the rest of the dillydallying cows to get going.  Soon enough, the next batch descended on the road kept clear for them. And after a while, their numbers dwindled too and we could see the next opportunity coming. One more cow to go, enough time to get going before the third lot descended.

But

BUT

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The last cow (of the second lot) also just stood there blocking us. JUST STOOD THERE. Strong. Silent. Still. And in no mood to let us pass. On our part, we were no longer puzzled or nonplussed, simply AMAZED.  It struck us that the last cow of each batch was holding the fort till the next ones arrived. It was keeping the vehicles at bay, making sure the path stayed clear and free for her comrades to walk through. Were they trained to do this, or did they learn it all by themselves? Either way I think those are really clever cows. *tips imaginary hat*

©Shail Mohan 2017

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