This story, titled in another publication as Our Non-Veg Cow and Other Stories, triggered my interest the very first time I saw it on the shelf. Published by Tulika as ‘Our Incredible Cow’, it is my favorite of all that has been written by the author Mahashweta Devi.
In cock and bull stories, cows climb trees, but my mother’s cow climbed all the way up to the first floor and loved eating fish and meat
…and one is intrigued by this cow.
The cow of my imagination could only be sitting under the shade of a tree chewing grass or being worshipped!!
But the ‘incredible’ Nyadosh indeed jumbles and stretches the calm cow in my imagination and rushes into my thoughts just as she brought a storm into the lives of Mahashweta Devi’s family. One can see the miniature illustrations, by Ruchi Shah, around Nyadosh telling how the life of the family revolved around this free-spirited family member. I never thought a cow could have a personality! Nyadosh surprised me. I smiled as I read and imagined her free, uncaring behavior. She does what she likes and behaves ‘herself’ instead of behaving like a normal pet.
The story also offers a glimpse into the life of this family from Bengal from a different time. I wonder, if a Nyadosh existed in current times how would she have reacted to the propaganda of cow worship! What if Nyadosh could speak though she had her own incredible ways to demand! But if Nyadosh could speak what would she tell us about hating the police or what was so striking about the moon that she climbed the stairs one night to gaze at it!
Mahashweta writes towards the end ‘It is impossible to forget her’. Indeed, once you read, you won’t forget her ever, and never look at cows the same way again.