Sunday, 27 September 2020

The Fight!


A mock bull fight in action

Two months passed after Anandi had the traumatic episode ofa prolapsed uterus  just after Somavathi’s birth.  The first few weeks were tough -  administering her medicine thrice a day with all 3 of us holding her down while one of us poured the medicine down her throat, keeping her area spotlessly clean,  applying ointment on the stitches taking care to avoid her well aimed sharp kicks  and ensuring that there was no other unwanted problem.  Slowly things came back to normal and she started looking her healthy self again.  It was time to start letting her out to graze.

Anandi eager to go  for her walk..... the large doorway behind her through which all the cows proceed towards the gate.

During the time when we were not letting her out, she would bellow her protest as the others trooped out of the cow shed each morning.  We did realise that she was extremely upset about it, but there was nothing we could do.  And how upset she was and how much pent-up anger she had was displayed only when we finally released  her one morning.

Our farm hand always releases them out in the same sequence beginning with the left most – and they all make their way  in a peaceful line, out  of the large doorway from the cow shed which leads to the gate.  This day when Anandi was released, she shoved her way   towards the exit and butted Saraswati who was walking out.  Saraswati was taken by surprise, and stumbled heavily causing a little blockade.  The ones behind halted a bit too close to them and Anandi turned around and butted the one nearest her.  The cows are generally unperturbed by a little shoving and butting, but Anandi was persistent and Kaveri got agitated and started flailing her horns menacingly.  There was a bit of a melee but with a bit of yelling and thwacking the long herding stick in the air we managed to sort it out and all of them trooped  out.  I   followed them out with the herding stick as our farm hand proceeded to clean the cow shed.  I just presumed that once out of the gate in the open air, they would all go their normal friendly shoulder brushing way in search of green pasture.  But how wrong I was! 

They walked  out of the gate  and I latched it and turned to get back when I heard a heavy thud and scuffling sound.  I turned around to see that Anandi had butted Kalavati so hard that she had fallen on her side and Anandi was repeatedly butting her as she struggled to get up.  The other cows seeing this started butting Anandi and in a  minute it looked like a free-for-all… everyone seemed to be butting and fighting with someone.  Eight or nine of the adults were raising up  a dust storm and the younger ones were running helter skelter in panic.  All my thwacking of the stick and yelling made no difference – a full-on fight was in progress.  I yelled out to Vivek and our farm hand, both of them hearing the panic in my voice rushed out.  It took a good deal of yelling and thwacking to get them sorted out. I scooped out a tub of water from the drinking watertub and hurled it at them.   Finally peace was restored, the three of us were left  a bit shaken while the cows nonchalantly went up the hill tossing their heads, swishing their tails and maintaining  a ‘I’m not speaking to you’ distance between one another.  Giving each other a  Cold shoulder of the bovine kind.  I was worried that they might get into another nasty scuffle once they were out of sight.  We watched them for a long time and it appeared as if peace was really restored.

Watched them go down this path until they were out of sight

And so it was indeed.  In the evening they were all at the gate shoulder to shoulder with happy expressions.  None of them showed any resentment towards Anandi and none of them wanted to prolong or repeat the fight. 

Cool animals indeed!

Anandi as a baby.

Friday, 18 September 2020

Inspiration for an Artist!

 "An Artist sees what others only catch a glimpse of" - Leonardo da Vinci.

Truly an artist sees beauty even in the simplest of things and then brings it alive on paper /canvas for others to see it as well!

And when a simple photo clicked on my farm inspires an artist, it brings immeasurable joy to see the paintings.  

With much thanks to Shyamsundar Savkur  and Anuradha Dhareshwar for their paintings :

Painting by Anuradha Dhareshwar

The Photo clicked just outside our farm after a day of relentless rain

Painting by Shyamsundar Savkoor - my ever-young uncle who at 90, is an inspiration to others as well!  Love the brilliance of the green and the sunshine in the painting! And even Zuki's and Johnny's expressions have been captured perfectly


The Original pic

Thursday, 10 September 2020

An emergency!


Monday morning.... I still get the Monday Morning Blues. although we have no weekends on the Farm.  I was just thinking that I really need to stick to a strict schedule  and  focus on getting the important things done on time.....such as Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner...  and of course.... all the other paper work, the bank work, replying to emails...... I seem to be running behind on everything.  So I started the day on a steely resolve .... yes today I would clear the pile of papers on my desk , clean up my PC and sort out the storeroom and make sure that All our Meals are on Time. 

I had just finished my coffee and was about to go to the Cowshed to check on Anandi (she was due to deliver a calf – her second one)  when Yogesh, our farm hand came running to call out to me. 

“What is the matter I asked him?  Has she delivered already?”  

“No  I don’t see a calf but ‘IT’ has come out” 

“What?”  I asked as I ran to the cow shed.  

Anandi was sitting morosely and behind her was a large bulbous sac streaked with blood.  It appeared to be pulsating.  

What this?  Was the calf still inside?  Where was the calf?   Was this a case of the ‘Prolapsed Uterus’ that I had read so often in James Herriot’s tales of veterinary practice? 

I ran back to the house and picked up my phone.  I was just 6.30 am and hopefully I would be able to catch our vet Dr. Gourish Padukone.  He is a busy doc , travelling quite a lot to remote farms and if he was already out on a case, we could do nothing but wait.  

I sent a silent prayer as the phone rang.  He answered and I described the condition  in as calm a voice as I could muster.....and ended on a panic stricken squeal ...   "Please come over soon.......”  

Thankfully he was at home and  said he would arrive within half an hour.  He instructed me to place a clean  plastic sheet under the protrusion and keep pouring cold water over it. "Don't let it dry out" he said.

I instructed Yogesh to milk the rest of the animals quickly, give them their feed and release them out of the cowshed. Vivek joined in and the three of us worked on top speed – we had to get the other cows out of the way and clean the area before the vet arrived.   In all the panic stricken activity, the new born calf was almost forgotten – she was sitting coolly in the farthest corner with her 3 aunts – Kalavati Saraswati and Purna! 

Dr.Gourish came in just as we finished washing the cow shed.  In a few minutes he assessed the situation and got down to work.  

In all these years of revolutionary advancements in science and health care, some problems of veterinary science are still dealt in the same way that James Herriot has documented in his memoirs during the pre- First world war Era.  So the Uterus had to literally shoved back in place with the 3 of us holding down the cow and  the vet using every ounce of his strength against the resisting cow.

It was a struggle. 

Anandi was obviously not happy being held down and was not too keen on receiving back what her body had just seemed to expel a few hours back.    She in turn tried her best to push it back out.  After what seemed an endless struggle, finally the uterus was pushed in all the way and positioned properly.   But we were not done yet.  Anandi had to receive stitches to prevent the problem from recurring.  She had to receive a drip and several injections.  

Finally all done!

By the time it was all over it was almost 12 noon.  The vet had to rush off to another case in a far flung village.  We got back for a much needed bath and to catch up with the rest of the work.

Well,  for the record,  we did have lunch  on time.....forget about the breakfast!

The next few days were critical for Anandi, she needed constant monitoring,  quite a few medicines to be poured down her throat and she had to be tied in such a way that she could not crane her neck and pull out her own stitches.  She also had to be tied on  a mud flooring .  So we tied her outside under the guava tree. In a weeks time everything seemed back to normal.  The little calf Somvati frolicked around and grew sturdily, little concerned about the upheaval her birth had caused.

Anandi and Somvathi under the Guava tree

We were also instructed not to let Anandi out to graze for at least 2 months.  She would bellow her protest with all her might when the others trooped out happily each morning.  She took it very badly that the others left her behind inspite of her protests, but we did not know it until the day when we decided that she was healthy enough to join the others for their daily outing.  But I leave that for another  post.

And I cannot  end this  without a Special Thanks to our vet Dr. Gourish Padukone  who incidentally, like us, moved several years ago from Mumbai (where he had a bustling small animal practice) to  rural Karnataka  to provide good veterinary care where it is needed the most!

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