The author believes her bovine encounter was a case of divine intervention.

The timing was priceless.

We had spent the day admiring 200-year-old trees, a hundred varieties of roses and the faces of hill-donkeys and goats, and were driving home, crawling respectfully outside Sim’s Park, when a vision from either an animals-only story book or a dream at dawn bore down on us. It was a beautiful, hefty heifer, her head stuck in a bucket, rearing and rocking from side to side.

Naturally we came to a dead stop.

Like with all bizarre situations, we were simply a part of the scene and sat helplessly as the 20-second drama unfolded. She had been feeding off leaves and leavings in a plastic bucket and must have buried her whole head in the container reaching for the last bits, when the edge of the bucket closed over her well-formed head, with just her horns sticking out. Like any animal with its vision cut off, she panicked. Having lived all my life with the sight of cows and bulls wandering the streets of Indian cities, it was strange to see one of nature’s most benign creatures suddenly turn dangerous to herself and to others.

Her chief object was to get the offending bucket off her head, so she darted across from the point of her entrapment, not knowing where she was thundering off to, shaking her head vigorously, moving as fast as her weight would permit. She both leapt and lurched towards our car as we sat waiting, though we had no time to even hope she would cross the road away from us. It all happened so quickly. I’m sure we were sent by the gods to rescue this cow! When she thudded into the front of the car, the impact shocked the bucket off her face/head. She ran away, relieved, and we drove away saying how lucky we were that her horns hadn’t smashed into the windscreen, injuring both herself and the car, not to mention possibly the occupants of the front seat, one of whom had been picked out by Destiny to go in search of chocolates an hour earlier, thereby delaying us and weaving us neatly into the grand plan of saving the cow from at least a broken limb, and perhaps some people from being run down by a powerful and frightened animal, pounding around Coonoor.

More In: Magazine | Features