I was already late and was rushing to my office for an important meeting when I saw them coming towards me fluttering their fins inside the small enclosure of the glass bowl as if they were my bosom friends.
I have always been amazed to see the pair of Gold fishes acting in frenzy in my living room whenever I go near to the bowl virtually somersaulting and splashing their gleaming bodies in an attempt to attract attention. Involuntarily I stretched my hand and saw a cloud of dirt kicked up by them and I knew that it has been overdue to change the water. I felt guilty; perhaps my meeting can wait and decided to go to the hand pump outside the compound wall to fetch fresh water as the pipe water contained chlorine and could kill the fishes.
Outside the house, it was scorching summer at its peak. The atmosphere seemed to hold a dense blanket of dust hanging in the air and the swirling dry winds slapped on my cheeks. A stray cow looked at me intensely from beneath the bald tree.
The beeline of streets urchins before the hand pump only helped to make things worse and I stood impatiently at the far end of the queue waiting for my turn. I lunged for the handle when I my turn came, filled the water and started walking towards my house. As I turned the bent, I saw the cow, I had seen, standing right in front of me, blocking my way. I tried to dodge her, but was in vain. Something told me inside that she was thirsty and I kept the bucket before it. The water simply vanished within seconds. I thought that I would be able to fill the water and reach back fast; but soon realized how I mistaken I had been and saw myself at the far end of the queue once again waiting for my turn to come.
I filled my bucket again when my turn came and turned back only to see the cow blocking my path for the second time. This time it came closer and drank the water with a display of authority and right. I was aware of the half an hour that passed by and knew for sure that I have indeed missed my meeting. Picking up my bucket, I turned back towards the queue for the third time. The crowd was now looking at me though none said anything. As I placed myself at the far end of the queue, a young girl at the front with her dented aluminum utensil came out of her he place and told me, “Uncle, aap mere jaga le sakthe”. Thanking her, I filled the water and turned back. The cow was still looking at me at the turn and I kept the bucket for the third time before it.
It came closer, looked at me and exalted a lung full of air and slowly turned away without drinking a drop. As I reached my door, I saw the cow still looking at me and it seemed to tell me,
“Thank you Mr. Devidasan; thank you very much for offering me two buckets of cold water on a hot summer day” and I wished, I knew the language Cows speak; I wished my teachers taught me the language of Cows at my school as I wanted to tell it,
“You are welcome, any time!”
May 1, 2000