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Archive for the ‘Cows’ Category

Or Countdown to Likely Death in Udaipur (not Venice)

Sussex Prairies could do with a tuk tuk.. one covered in flowers to gad about in on garden visits and other such peaceful excursions .The sort of tuk tuk with attitude and that certain je ne sais quoi that comes hot foot from the mean , narrow, twisting ,convoluted streets of Udaipur. Possibly even the sort of tuk tuk belonging to Crabs our tame tuk tuk driver when we are in town.

Now I am sure you are wanting to know how he comes to have the name of Crabs (we had unfairly wondered if this was due to any slight medical affliction he may have had now or in the past ) but no , this he assured us was not the case but then proceeded to explain the derivation of his name in a series of madly contorted couplets, possibly originating in a pop song and ending on a whimsical limerick.. quite unintelligible but utterly captivating .

As were we , captives I mean , once we had boarded his washing machine styled wagon. Haring through the night street beset by errant cows, weaving motorbikes, inevitable dust, grit , wayward rubbish mountains, wedding parades (AFW alert !) and crazed white horses (without groom). It seems that there is a sort of etiquette of road users at night. Do not under any circumstance put on your lights , if you do put them on, make sure they are  at full beam to blind any oncoming driver… the horn (used liberally) (note to self : How long can horns even last in India having been blown at every minute of the day ?) when blown actually activates the headlights… like dervishes we careered through the night …on corners(of which there seemed to be many) only one wheel felt like it was on the ground…you see double after such a ride and it was nothing to do with the Kingflsher beer this time.

wedding band cart (quiet one)

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the main culprit

There is a place called Du Du. I saw it advertised on a rare traffic sign. But the sort of du du I want to talk about is the kind manufactured in copious quantities by the entire cow population of India as they wander to and fro through people’s lives,houses,rubbish tips and market places. The cow does many things and is a sacred beast granted. But it makes a prodigious amount of poo.Now I have discovered an ancient and  crazy art  which I believe is as yet unexplored and un tapped. Namely ,the fashionable and scary art of making solid poo  igloos . Chris Ofili the artist famed for working with elephant dung could learn a few tricks here. On the outskirts of every village /small holding/collection of huts/houses/plastic bag tents/grass wigwams there is the same thing : and it is beautiful.Imagine a solid block of poo crafted into a huge monolithic and dense sculpture . Entirely made of cattle dung (maybe goat and sheep too ?) it is dense,not smelly really (but everything is relative) and carved with simple and delicate patterns. Sitting like a dried out block of parmesan I wonder how you deal with it on a daily basis. Do you slice off cake like slices  for fire lighting ? do you hack off a chunk like a block of ice ? or is it just some crazy currency and the sort of hedge fund of rural life ? certainly its worth for gardening is high and a golden ingot like that would be much sought after by us gardeners for growing our bananas !

Gold dust

the cow pat scenario is much easier to get to grips with (unless it is wet,sticky and stuck to the bottom of your sandal) you can see these frisbee like things drying in the most unlikely of places but then why not ? these are the perfect firelighter of choice. Dry and crisply dehydrated you will see them stacked at crazy angles and in bonfire type heaps ready for action.Collection of said pats might be tricky one would think in the wet state, but with a blazing indian sun i guess you only have to wait a while until you can scoop it up and carry the dinner plate sized thing back to your treasury.

Firelighting cow pats ready for action

walking in any area of India is fraught with danger as you hopscotch between the poo.On my last trip i inadvertently got out of the car in a village and stood straight in an open sewer. Not an experience I would wish to repeat. The evil residue stubbornly refused to be washed or scraped off my shoes.This time it was the car itself that fell into a sewer. Driving quietly into the quaint little town of Bundi we were checking out the likely accommodation venues and suddenly the car lurched to one side and there was a hellish bang. Scrambling out of a car leaning perilously to one side it was obvious that the open sewer previously covered by an (insubstantial paving stone , had caved in and we were stuck in a rut ! the car tilted drunkenly into the filthy maw. Unspecified horrors floated by. Paul managed to commandeer  some wiry but slim indian onlookers  to help him manhandle the thing out. on dry land the car did not seem to have sustained any damage . Apart from a charming fragrance of course.

if i just stand here.....

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Bridge of Coos

Bridge of Coos

Moo-ve over darling over Lake Pichola in Udaipur there is a footbridge , like the Bridge of Sighs, but not, if you know what I mean. For a start it is arched but that’s where all similarity ends, because this footbridge is the favourite lounging relaxation zone for all the cows in Udaipur to congregate and chew the cud. So much so that you are indeed sighing with frustration and annoyance at the fact that you have to warily edge your way through a potential lethal war zone of ugly horns and slavering ravening bulls. Except the funny thing is ,they are strangely not doing all that much roaring and pawing the ground like you would imagine bulls in Europe would do. Why is that ? Even if I had had a red cape and donned matador garb those cows wouldnt have moved a muscle.

Anyway thankyou so much to Chris (our fellow traveller from India) for sending this to us today and reminding me of this place !!

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