By Bikram Keshari Jena
The wagging tails of a cattle herd stationary on the middle of a road not only chops the air flippantly, but also shreds one’s patience to pieces with equal nonchalance. No one colonizes the road as stray cattle do, albeit with no imperialistic ambition.
They wear a disdain which is even contemptuous to a grievance box hanging outside a public utility office. They move like a clock tower- which shows movement of time, but is utterly unmoved by the passage of it. They change directions like a train and keep moving right on their nose until the end of the road or till the culmination of their pursuit. The frequency of one’s encounter makes one feel that they are so timeless that they cannot care less about time.
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They are a challenge to a commuter – who always seems to have a train to catch, regardless of the mode of transport he is in.
One’s encounter with them is annoying more often than not. As one advances towards them, they advance their somnolent gaze. If in a hurry, one can easily feel one’s time being masticated between the incessant locomotion of their jaws.
Moved by the unmoved, one concerns himself with finding the way around the unconcern – which is quite an exercise. Experience is of no use here. Trying to establish a pattern here is akin to finding a pattern in randomly generated OTPs that are sent out by banks on mobiles prior to pushing an online payment through - There is no point!
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The cattle herds occupy the roads in a formation which like an optical illusive maze. As one enters the maze, it starts to animate with the perambulatory impulses of the animal. There are a lot of things to negotiate here – the horns at the front, and the cracking whip at the back of the animal.
Use your own horn instead and one is presented with a platter of reflexes of astoundingly varying degrees from the animal. While honking in an effort to poke them with the shrill sound of your vehicle, one finds that some of them are their meditative best while others are at their belligerent worst reacting like a Miura bull as if unleashed into a bull fighting arena.
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One darts out of the maze with haste to make up for the lost time without even looking back and it befalls that one is staring at the spectre once again.