When study holidays started at college each semester, most of my friends went home. I traveled to my aunt’s place in the village instead of staying on at the hostel. The open countryside and simple living were a welcome change from the cramped hostel quarters.
One beautiful morning, I dutifully set about the task of revising another few chapters. I gathered my books and study material, went outside and stacked them up on an old chair in the shade. I took my textbook and started to read, walking up and down the narrow strip of the yard along the side of the house. Beautiful birdsong livened up my day, and I looked happily across my aunt’s beautiful garden. Beyond the garden was the well, and beyond that, the open area where my aunt’s cows grazed lazily. One particularly grumpy cow seemed to be looking right back at me. I hadn’t been expecting an assessment by a cow during a study session and this felt rather uncomfortable, and on looking harder, my discomfort transformed into alarm when I noticed that the rope securing her to a stump had come undone.
I called out to my aunt, who was inside the house. My aunt stuck her head out, looked at the cow and then went back inside, presumably to finish whatever she had been doing first. Cows on the loose apparently didn’t give her cause for concern. Meanwhile, I sensed a change in the cow’s expression; then she stopped her eternal chewing and stood watching me intently. Somehow I had a feeling that I had offended the cow, and that things were about to get bad. I could almost see the conversation bubble above her head, screaming “You dared to put an end to my freedom???!!!” Before I could think of a suitable way to appease the cow’s hurt feelings, she charged.
Having never been chased by a cow before, I was at a loss for ideas. The rapidly approaching bulk of the cow, however, sparked my instinct for survival and I turned and ran. I’m pretty sure that the sprint speed I achieved that fine morning has not been surpassed to this day.
I ran like the Roadrunner until I reached the fence around my aunt’s yard. The cow was hot on my trail and I was breathless. The little gate on the fence was open, and the village road lay beyond, winding away to a river. Sharply to one side of the fence was my aunt’s small rice mill enclosure with a heavy door and brick steps. I veered suddenly and leapt over the sacks of rice and hid behind the machinery. When I think about the calisthenics I managed that day, I still wonder that I’m not a star athlete in the Olympics by now.
The cow, luckily, chose freedom over revenge and ran out onto the road with gusto. My aunt and uncle spent several hours looking for and bringing her back. All three of them seemed to be fuming at me, although I really don’t see how I ended up being the bad guy this time.
The excitement died down after that and soon everybody’s good humor was restored. I spent the rest of the study holidays cooped up in the attic, though, just in case.