The Devotee

Officer saab, as he was fondly called around here in his native place, raised the heavy farsa high over his head and brought it down hard at the neck of the young buffalo. The priest marked the holy moment with a quick tinkle of his bell, as a goat tethered at the gate pulled hard at its leash, bleating frantically.

The man, a police officer back in the city now, paid his monetary obeisance to the priest, collected his prasad, and went away to throw a lavish treat to the villagers in celebration of the sacrifice.

By mid-morning, he had wrapped things up, and was already on his way back home in his chauffeured gypsy, leaning comfortably back in his cushioned seat. He was calm, feeling relieved to have paid his dues to the Goddess. Something he did not like to miss.

Up since before dawn, he was soon overcome by sleep, and kept slipping in and out of it, until hours later a constant cacophony of horns forced him to tear open his eyes. They were out of the mountains. In Rishikesh, he read on a signboard, squinting through the traffic jam building around them.

“How long has it been?” he asked the driver, taking a sip of water.

“Around ten-fifteen minutes, sir.”

He frowned, and craned out the window, but could see nothing beyond the roadways bus in front of them. “I’ll go check,” he said, opening the door. “You turn on the siren.”

Then, he strode away, picking his way through vehicles coughing out smoke, as the red light on top of his gypsy began flashing behind him, slicing the air with a wailing that drowned every other sound.

Soon enough, a huge truck started coming into view, standing askew on the roadside, with its windshield broken, and its doors wide open. As he moved further, he glimpsed a man, apparently the driver, lying curled up below, while a dozen or so men were fleeing into the surrounding forest, already disappearing behind the trees.

The officer hurried towards the spot, shouldering through the crowd of onlookers, but stopped short as his eyes caught something moving on the other side, near the bushes. A cow, bleeding, and groaning in pain, looking dazed.

He understood the matter at once, and a surge of anger shivered through him, as he watched the holy animal struggle to get back up on its legs. He shot a look at the driver, cursing under his breath, and took out his phone.

Fuming, he made a couple of quick calls, and then, went on to disperse the crowd, and clear away the traffic. When at last it got moving steadily, and his gypsy reached the spot, he waved it aside next to the injured cow. And there he sat, stroking its soft head, serving it water in an emptied lunch box, and waiting, until a pickup from the nearest veterinary care centre reached and carried it away.

Satisfied, he climbed back in and they drove off, past the twitching figure lying under the shadow of the truck. And it was only an hour or so later that an ambulance finally pulled up at the spot, and hoisted away the unconscious driver.

Later in the day, when the officer entered his home, hugging his kids, and telling them stories of his journey, the cow, having been shooed away after the first aid, was tottering again on a bustling road outside the care centre, rummaging open garbage for food.

And, miles away, the wife of the truck driver glanced up at the darkening sky, beginning to worry now, while he breathed his last on a hospital gurney, unattended, finally succumbing to his injuries.

Sundaram Chauhan

Image Credits

54 comments

    • Intensified, and given a blind eye in current times, for sure… however, these things have existed far longer than that, I think. Just getting an outlet, unrestrained. Thanks for joining the discussion. :))

      Liked by 1 person

  1. It’s so ironical that we are more sympathetic to an animal (not for the love of it but the religious implications) than to fellow humans…that’s just so sad….but your writing is always beautiful, thoughtful, sensitive and the details really help one envision it while reading….that’s the toughest and most important thing especially for fiction…a
    Awesome job👌👌💟💟

    Liked by 3 people

    • Hey, thanks so very much for all the appreciation. :)) Yes, irony. We’re all full of contradictions, and paradoxes. Religion had a reason to exist. It tried, in its own subtle, and poetic ways, to tell people certain things, like not killing animals, for one. But we’ve found out a way around it. Following it literally. Choosing not to read between the lines, at all. It’s convenient that way. Kill one, and save another, if that’s not a trouble. Nobody saves mice, you know, even though it carries the biggest, and most important of Gods around. Convenience my friend. Convenience. And self interest. Thanks so much for joining the discussion. :))

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Ahh such a little gem you gifted us Sundaram…and the title is perfect..perfectly ironic and yes I am sure this type of double standard goes on all over the world..well I know it does… Yes, we see it in our religions, but also in hindsight, our blindness to get it right in general…I see so many people in social media moved by animal cruelty(I too of course..I censor myself to not see images) but also I am moved by the plight of refugees, children of war and abuse..where many who are moved and fighting hard for animal rights. shut the door on helping humanity to live a decent life, give people uprooted from the homes a place to live and prosper. Your telling of this tale was done so well… I really love how you write my friend!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Karima. You’re so right. We all see it happening around us in different forms. It was an attempt to bring it to light, in my own humble capacity. Thanks as always for the kind words and encouragement. Take care…🍀🌸🍀🙏

      Like

  3. This tugged deeply at my heart – reminded of my young struggle for understanding between religion and spirituality. Too many things don’t make sense to me – if it is not felt authentically and expressed from that place, what difference does it make, to us or anyone else. Authenticity waits in the gap between the 2. You portrayed this so well.

    Liked by 1 person

    • You are right, Pragalbha… too many things. It becomes a fight even within the family if you try to point out something illogical, or irrelevant, even in this advanced age. People love to remain blind. There is a comfort in that, even if all it gives back is darkness.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Exactly yes, there is comfort in actually not being in the journey that some so eloquently describe and spend time with going through the motions of it. I had to learn not to interfere/question, separate my journey/perceptions, create boundaries and practice compassion to be able to carry on peacefully. I realized it to be best to not give explanations and simply do our respective things we do. I will try to keep my end of the love intact always.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Such a well written post. I love your thoughts behind this post. It is so ironical that while we value one life we completely ignore the other life. Whether a animal or a human every single life matters. Religion can never be more important than humanity. But sadly we are mixing one with the other and in the process we are losing ourselves. Empathy or sympathy cannot be based on beliefs or convenience. Unfortunately this is the reality of society we are currently living in.

    Liked by 1 person

    • So well said…totally in with you there…convenience is what decides our actions nowadays…or maybe it’s always been that way… and worse is the fact that it’s all around us…beginning right at home, and neighbourhood…
      A long long way to go…
      Thanks as always Yeshu. 🙏🍀🙏 Take care…🤜🤛

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Hey there Sundaram, I just read up your blogs & they’re indeed simple, clear & concise (Exactly how they should be! 🧡)
    If you’re willing to stay consistent with your writing, I can offer help with monetization! 💰
    DM me on IG @blogwritings 📥

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I’m new to your blog. And I’m definitely taken aback by your writing. It’s eloquent. There are many takeaways for me from this particular story as I’ve just set out on my blogging journey.

    Ps. Loved the element of satire in the title.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I was never lucky enough to make it to India on my travels around the world. I feel sad for the unconscious man. I don’t know much about how people view cattle as holy. I know how important religion and religious icons are to people. I can’t help but feel slighted for the unconscious person, maybe because I don’t know if it was an intended incident, or honest mistake on the drivers part. I say all this to let you know how much this story touched me and made me think. Thank you, well written.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks again. 🙏 The story is rooted in cultural misinterpretations, and I’m glad you could still appreciate it. I think whatever may be the religion, if people have to be violent to safeguard it, they don’t really understand its essence, even if they have read it all. You’d find india fascinating, I’m sure (except of course the third world smells, and sights) 😀for there is so much to explore. Thanks for taking interest. 🙏🙏

      Liked by 1 person

  8. I see an underlying hope here that people in the world will choose kindness to all other living beings. We are all doing our best, just as the cow is trying to stave off hunger, and the officer is trying to help (whether we think they have or not), and the unconscious driver was trying to work. Though there is the hint of avoidance of responsibility in the story, I hope it encourages us all to look within ourselves to be better every day, to one another, and to ourselves.

    You have a gift with writing. I look forward to each story you share. ☺

    Liked by 1 person

  9. This is really good. So much action, the right amount of action.

    I could see everything in motion, behind the words on the screen.

    I kept wanting, needing to read the next line and the next paragraphs 💙

    Liked by 1 person

  10. I read this just after watching Paatal lok( my sister pestered me) and I was left so disturbed!

    I noticed this behaviour in my own friend who would sacrifice animals for his own gain…bargaining with the Goddess for materialistic things and then turning around and bowing his head to a cow walking on the street! It’s like throwing our garbage into the neighbouring compound and imagining ourselves to be clean! The irony!!!

    Like I said in another post, Oscar worthy short Sandy! Bravo! Bravo! BRAVO 😁☺️

    Liked by 1 person

    • My brother has been after my life to watch that series too. :))….
      And about the story. Yes. We see it happening all around us. I’m amazed how people choose to close their eyes to such things, and don’t even acknowledge the irony here.
      Thanks so much for reading. :)) Delighted to see you.

      Like

      • That series is for someone with a strong gut. I couldn’t eat or sleep well for atleast a week after I finished it. I am not for anything in excess but the series to unnecessarily high on blood, gore, violence, cuss worlds and it’s a dull and drab world in there. I am very visual…meaning everything I see stays in my memory. And anything that affects my moods and thoughts and especially my mediation is so NOT for me. I have no clue why my sis recommended it to me!

        Liked by 1 person

      • All right. I’ll keep that in mind if ever I decide to give it a try. Though I’m pretty sure, I’d rather give that time to blogging or reading, as I always end up doing. :))

        Like

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