Moo-ving series of cow-on-the-run tales

By Nury Vittachi

A rural friend was worried that his hens might come down with bird flu. I was about to say: “Give them chicken soup,” but then I thought, maybe not.

Everyone is health-aware these days. Last weekend, a colleague lifted his T-shirt to show off his six-pack abs, or abdomen muscles. I told him that I only had one ab but it was a biggie.

In truth, it’s hard for “weird news” columnists to be fit as our main job is to sit patiently until readers do our work for us. Luckily, you always come through, and the Universe seems to guarantee your contributions follow a single theme.

On the day of writing this, a reader reported that a cow had been accepted for a polytechnic entrance exam in India. The cow filled in an application giving its name as Kachir Gaw (Brown Cow in Kashmiri), its father’s name as Gur Dand (which means Bull), and added a mugshot of its brown, floppy-eared bovine face. The cow was accepted, and an admission card bearing its picture and name was issued – and soon went viral.

The reader who forwarded it said: “Either they made the card without reading the application or they thought the cow would make a pretty good medical student.” Cows are associated with healing in India, so this makes sense.

In fact, I can just see the movie now. Given the respectful attitude to cows in India, a Bollywood special (“Doctor Moo”?) could be a cash cow. (Sorry!)

Later that day, the Universe arranged for another email to arrive also about the unlikely topic of cow identities. A US farmer felt his herd of cows didn’t look quite right, so he examined them close up and was shocked to find that it was a group of cow imposters pretending to be his. He told North Carolina police he knew what his cows looked like, and I was thinking how sweet that he thought of them as children.

Then he explained that when they were slashed into pieces and sold as steaks, his cows could be sold as “Angus beef” which was way more profitable than regular beef, making the abduction and transportation of a herd of cows worth the difficulty.

Watch out for “Have you seen this cow” posters appearing around the world. (Could one of them have made it to India to apply to medical school, one wonders?)

Before day’s end, a third cow-related item arrived on my desk, this time from Australia. Fishermen who went out from the coast of Darwin a few days ago to net queenfish ended up catching a live cow. They towed her two kilometres back to shore. News reports said the cow had fallen into the sea while being loaded on to a cattle ship, but I can’t help wondering whether this is another US escapee.

Anyway, a colleague said that the cow movie we were planning should include the bulls doing hip hop. “You could call the dance ‘beef jerky’,” she said. Groan. But I did smile when she started singing a song for the movie’s male lead: “Something in the way she moos attracts me like no udder lover.”

(Nury Vittachi is an Asia-based frequent traveller.)