Cow – Hey, how are you?
Me – I could have been better, if not for you.
Cow – What did I do?
Me – You are the reason my country is falling apart. People are being killed, communal violence and intolerance are widespread.
Cow – But how am I responsible?
M – Some people are saying that they are trying to protect you. They are killing the ones who eat your meat.
C – Aren’t these the same people who throw their garbage on roads in polythene bags?
M – Sorry, I didn’t get you.
C – More cows die after eating polythene than in slaughter-houses. When I eat polythene, it gets stuck in my intestines. Neither can I digest it, nor can I vomit it out. Gradually, it damages my system and I cannot eat anything for days. I die of starvation in the end.
M – But isn’t it more torturous than dying in a slaughter-house? I mean, such agony for such a long time!!
C – Yeah, humans take away my young calf and exploit me for my milk, which is meant for the calf.
M – But we cannot ask people not to consume milk. That will be too drastic. Nobody will listen. Anyway, your milk is very good nourishment and our kids need it a lot.
C – But your mothers get to breastfeed their children. You don’t give me that chance.
M – (Hesitatingly) I don’t know what to say.
C – Oh, you felt awkward because I mentioned “breastfeeding”?? Humans still consider it a shameful thing?
M – Are you suggesting that breastfeeding is a very natural and essential process and we must not be childish about it anymore? Are you saying that we must eradicate this taboo around breastfeeding and the shame associated with it? I cannot ask people to do that. I need to live in this society. They will kill me.
C – As you please. Anyway, I was saying that, as your mothers lactate, you can store that milk and provide that to millions of children who sleep hungry every night.
M – But then what would our infants drink? They need nutrition.
C – You can give them some baby-food, may be Cerelac?
M – It sounds foolish to me. I am told that giving birth to a baby is an extremely painful process. It is also emotionally and psychologically draining. Why would a mother go through all that and give away her milk for someone else, depriving her own child?
C – Exactly.
M – See, you are diverting the topic now. You are talking about irrelevant things.
C – Am I? Ask yourself, am I the one avoiding the real questions?
M – I am saying that you are causing violence. You are the reason why there is a growing mistrust among our major communities.
C – Humans are really dumb, aren’t they? Can’t you see this is all a political game-plan to divert public attention from the real issues affecting this country?
M – If I say that, I will get into a big trouble. Some will question my patriotism, some will question my education. A lot of people don’t like to hear a word against our leader.
C – And I thought you called India a democratic nation!! See, I am not taking any sides here. It’s like choosing between the lesser evil. All I am saying is, grow up! A person is not defined by what he eats or wears. He is defined by what he does. His actions and intentions are what should matter. Let him make his own personal lifestyle choices. If you are debating your food habits after 68 years of independence, something is seriously wrong.
M – You are wrong. You don’t understand the issue. You are a bloody intellectual, ruining my nation’s culture. I don’t want to discuss this anymore, bye.
Happy dussehra to you all!