A horse, a dog and 3 cows
By Julia Fernandes
July 18, 2011
This incident happened in the year 2002. I was working at Nariman Point -- Mumbai’s premier business district. One evening, as I was standing at the bus stop waiting to catch a bus for Churchgate station, I noticed a horse-driven carriage coming along. With nothing much to do, I kept marveling at the horse and the horse, too, was looking at me. We both locked eyes with each other for almost eight to ten seconds.
As the horse drew nearer, suddenly, the horse changed its direction and started trotting towards me. Startled, the owner pulled the reins at the right time and guided the horse to walk straight. As the horse was passing by me, the bewildered owner threw a what-did-you-do-to-my-horse kind of look towards me while I just put my head down.
I did not feed the horse nor did I pet it. I did not smile at the horse. I did nothing, except just look at the horse -- giving him some of my attention. That miniscule attention was enough for the horse to change his tracks and veer towards me. I know love is a universal language understood by all. What I did not know was that the smallest amount of attention could draw a horse with whom you have never bonded before towards you. If an animal can respond to attention from a rank stranger, how much more is that animal capable of responding to love?
In the year 1995 we had shifted to Virar. I was still in my last year of college. My colony has quite a fair number of stray dogs. Every day I would feed one particular dog. Over the months, the dog grew fond of me and vice versa. I was sad when I learnt that this dog has a serious disease that left him thin and gaunt. From the terrace of my building, I would feed this dog some biscuits once in a while. He would sit in one obscure corner all day long. One day I was walking towards my building when I saw an unfamiliar dog happily running towards me. Scared, I shooed him away and entered my building. Only when I reached my home, I realized that this was the same dog that I used to feed every day.
The dog had become so thin that I could not recognize the dog when I came face-to-face with him. I had gone so used to watching him from the terrace of my building. I ran to the terrace but I could not find him. Next day I learnt the dog had died. This dog that was fighting a fatal illness kept himself alive with the hope that maybe he will see me face-to-face and I will pet him or feed him as usual. He lived on that hope, staving off death. He gave in to death only after he ensured he saw me. Till today, I cannot forget the look of disappointment the dog had when I shooed him away. His hope was only to see me.
Few days back I was sitting in an autorickshaw heading towards Virar station when a heartwarming sight greeted me. Three cows were sitting bang in the middle of the road serving as natural speed breakers. They made themselves so comfortable on the road busy chewing their cud, totally unmindful of the vehicular traffic. For me, that sight was the most powerful statement of faith -- three cows reclaiming the road as their own and sitting safely on it knowing that there is somebody up there to protect them. Every single vehicle had to maneuver around them. None of the three cows were harmed.
These cows decide to sit on the road not knowing that anytime a large vehicle can come and run over them. We think we own this world, but these three cows showed it’s the Big Boss -- our great God who really owns every corner of this world. And all creatures are free to use God’s resources. And that’s exactly what these three cows did.
Animals cannot talk and express like us but they can feel every emotion and there is much we can learn from them. Just as I learnt that faith means three cows sitting in the middle of the road, hope means a dog postponing death just to see the person who liked him, and love means when a horse gets drawn to a rank stranger and decides to change tracks. All the three redefined faith, hope and love in their own unique ways!