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A collaboration over too much coffee.
coffee and pen

03 November, 2004

The last goat

Frisky and fearless
Full four years old
Butting at the slightest provocation.
Locking horns with his brothers
He struck his hoof on the ground
And heaved with his hard skull.

One by one
His brothers and sisters
They had all gone
Sharp knives, blood on stone.

Today on the eighth day of the waxing moon
On this holy ashTami night,
The deity's hunger raged, and
It was his turn,
He, who had never lost his testicles,
He, who was whole
It was the last goat's turn.

They brought him into the little hut
Husband and wife
Seeking divine benediction.
Before a picture of kAli
(Purchased after much search)
They anointed him in sindur
And he bleated playfully,
Butting his adopted herd-mates
Jumping around within reach of the rope
Stomping with his stubbly feet
On the leafy branches,
They gave him for food.

And then at midnight
Under the moon -
Just a tad fuller than a halfmoon
Under a clump of trees off the weed-grown path
They took him, bleating playfully
Off on his new adventure. Then
They tied him to a tree
He struck his hoof against the soft ground
And butted his new playmates
One last time. Then
In the light of a besmirched moon
The sun-dried soil
Was stained dark red.

The next few days
We ate mutton stew.

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4 Comments:

Blogger manisha lakhe said...

okay now i'm pissed off...

and not just because i am a vegetarian. blood and gore is fine by me if the facts are right. ashtami is for durga, not kali (i forgive the inadvertant capital letters), kali puja is roughly during diwali...kali likes full grown goats not frisky young 'uns.

which adopted herd... if the damned thing is as the title suggests, the last one?

and it must have been a very large young frisky one for the stew to last you days...or you have niggardly appetites...

have you seen a frisky four year old, goat, that is? they are more blase, look more disdainful than mrs. godrej herself...and sport a world weary expression at all times...not unlike the dahling mrs.g

then the bloody offering (literally and figuratively) is under the tree...wrong...if you had really seen offerings to durga, they happen in front of the diety, and you would have known they bleed the goat to offer blood in cupped hands, the newly forged blade swoops down in a silvery arc to spew red everywhere EXCEPT the ground, because you are not supposed to let it fall on the ground. that also goes for buffalo sacrifices that i have seen...

we live in violent times...i hope your intent wasn't light.

03 November, 2004 22:06  
Blogger rats said...

bravo manisha.....
khuto, my boy, you are so badly effed ....and not to talk only of your suburban capitalisations.

04 November, 2004 17:02  
Blogger khuto said...

Hi Manisha!!

Thanks for the flame!

Now for the facts. The people concerned are
my Nepali housemaid family who lives behind my
house in the feudal setup that is India.
They sacrificed
the goat on durgApujA ashTami day and used a
idol of kAli. The goat was
purchased nearly two weeks in advance, and used
to play around with their kids. It was a
very spirited fellow and I also liked him.
It was known however
that it was to be sacrificed - since they
had had a son recently.
I was told it was four years old. I saw
it and it was really frisky. A number of communities
hold a sacrifice on ashTamI day.

As for the bloody offering, it was done at night
under some tree in some woods nearby. Subsequently
the meat was stored in my fridge, and i was also
offered some "prasad". That's it
for the facts.

Sociological speculation - presumably
all these are evolved
from ancient pagan practices and different
regions evolved differently . . .

But thanks for the flames!! Any more and you will
have grilled khuto-steak instead of khuto-stew, and
lose your vegeterainity permanently I am afraid!!

05 November, 2004 13:25  
Blogger manisha lakhe said...

hope the next time you will write about life experienced, firsthand, not merely observed. eyes can mislead...

and again...the meat is never refrigerated, as the animal is never skinned? better get that fridge decontaminated...

05 November, 2004 23:06  

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