A Bull of Banaras

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Nandu was great-great-grandson of Mahaanad the great. Mahaanand the great had acquired the title of ‘king of all bulls’ in Banaras. Such a mighty bull he was. But many-many years after the time of Mahaanand, Nandu enjoyed his life in solitary. He took his residence in a calm gulli (those typical narrow streets in Banaras) near the a small Shiva temple. Time of kings were past; for humans as well as for the cows and bulls. Nandu lived life of an ordinary bull.

Nandu was happy with this life in the gloomy gulli. Bulls can live and roam freely because devoted Hindus respect them. Lord Shiva chose the bull ‘Nandi’ as his ride. Therefore, bulls are respected animals. And Banarasi people pay respect to bulls in particular because Banaras is city of Lord Shiva. The gulli in which Nandu lived, was inhabited by some very devoted people. They gave him food and were kind to him. So, Nandu was also kind to them.

Most of the Banarasi bulls seem to be oblivious of existence of humans. They would walk as if they don’t see you standing in their way. They prefer to relax sitting in the middle of busy roads. If you look at them carefully, you would find that they are more relaxed than you could be when lying in a hammock on a tropical beach. They appear to be blocking the road, but actually they act like a road divider making sure drivers would stay on their sides.

As said earlier, Nandu was kind to people, because people were kind to him. He was particularly kind to a woman named Savita. She gave him fruits while others gave him only vegetables. Savita had a ten years old son called Bunty, who wasn’t very nice to him. He teased Nandu now and then. He would pull his tail and make faces to him. On last year’s Deepawali he tied a firecracker to his tail and lit it. Panicked Nandu ran through the narrow street tripping over carts of many vegetable vendors. He was very humiliated but yet said nothing.

Kallu, the street dog was also tired of the mischievous boy. Kallu was the only friend Nandu had. Kallu lived in the same gulli. Community of street dogs has a system of their own areas in India. Dogs cannot walk into area of other dogs. If they do, there will be a gang-war. Kallu had alone held this area of his for years. He was afraid of no one. N0one but Bunty. But Savita was graceful to him too, so he was kind to the little human cub ignoring his mischiefs.

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Life was going peacefully for Nandu and Kallu both. But that was the day of Mahashivaratri festival when they first saw that huge bull near the border of their territory. Name of this new bull was Lallan. He was huge, young, and fierce. Nandu knew peace of his life had come to the end when he first saw Lallan.

Within a week of his arrival, Lallan was seen two houses inside Nandu’s territory. Nandu was furious. But he decided to ignore. He wanted to avoid a clash. And Lallan did not stop there. His intrusions continued to take place and it took only a month when he had captured half of Nandu’s territory without receiving any objection from Nandu. Nandu was getting old.

Kallu was not happy with this. To make things worse, Lallan began to chase even him out of his territory, while territories of bulls and dogs have no relation. And it was beyond the strength of Kallu to have an encounter with the huge bull like Lallan. Even humans feared the bull. He often chased men after being upset on trivial matters.

But one day something happened that change their lives. Young Bunty felt bored of teasing old Nandu. He walk into the territory of Lallan and found him sleeping careless of all worries in his domain. The boy saw an opportunity. He pulled out a rope from his little pocket and tied it carefully to the tail of the sleeping bull. Then he proceeded with tying the other of end of rope to an electricity poll near the bull. When he was done he looked at the bull with ear-to-ear smile on his face. Then he walked few steps away from the animal. He prepared himself to run and threw the small piece of rock onto the bull and began to run away.

The huge bull opened his eyes and found the boy running in front of him. The stone had landed on his nose. He knew it was done by the boy. He threw her massive self towards the running boy. But he had to halt. He found the rope tied to his tail and the pole. He was flushed with anger seeing this. He got rid of the rope and dashed after the boy.

Today’s day for not the best day for Bunty. After running a small distance, he lost his balance and fell on the ground. He felt distressed. He looked in the direction of roaring bull who was coming to get him. The boy got up again and ran to his home. But he was late. Lallan was very close. Little Bunty ran as fast as he legs could, but they had no match to the angry bull. Out of desperation, he made a quick turn to escape from the bull. But it was a huge mistake. He found himself in a corner. Lallan also realised that he had cornered him. He walked slowly and looked at the boy like a lion looks at his prey. Bunty began to cry but there was no one to help. There was no one to be seen in the gulli. No one except for the old bull and the dog.

Nandu and Kallu saw the whole incident. They also realised that Bunty’s life was in danger.
“We have to do something Nandu. That bull will kill the boy!” said Kallu.
Nandu looked careless. “The boy deserves it. Did you forget how much we have suffered from his hands?” said the old bull.
Kallu could not believe what he heard. He always believed Nandu was a noble creature. How could he betray the little son of the lady who loved them and fed them?
“Is it you? Nandu bull, descendant of the Mahaanand the great.. the king of bulls?
Nandu looked in despair. He said, “I am getting old my friend; and cannot defend even myself.”
“A bull came from nowhere and captured half of your territory. And now he is on verge of killing the most beloved thing of a human who is the only one in this world who loves us. And you are making excuse of being old? Did you forget that you grew old on the food of the kind family of that lady?” shouted Kallu.
“I apologize Kallu, but what is a territory? Just some borders drawn on face of the earth that does nothing good. All these borders do is taking love away from the world and spreading hatred. Humans kill each other for it and us animals kill each other for it.”
Kallu was speechless. But then he said slowly, “You may be right on the topic of border, my old friend. But here I see loss of love and victory of hatred. The child is a naughty one, it is true. But since when we began to take such trivial mischiefs of cubs as such a big crime that they should be killed? You have lost your nobility and liability, Nandu bull. But I haven’t. Although I am a weaker creature but I shall do whatever my strength allows. Goodbye, old friend.” Saying this, Kallu leapt towards the boy.

Meanwhile, at the corner Kallan pushed the boy with his long and strong horns. The boy fell on the ground and blood came out from his forehead. Lallan was in no mood to spare the human cub. He advanced to him again, but them came Kallu and stood between him and the human. Lallan was taken by surprise. Kallu growled at him holding the ground firmly. Then Lallan attacked the dog and both of them were engaged in intense fight trying to defeat each other. Kallu was quicker than the huge bull, but he couldn’t defend himself for long and he was on the ground soon. Enraged Lallan walked further to crush the dug with his feet. Kallu was too tired and wounded to move. He had a look at the boy who still stood there shivering. Kallu was in dismay. He had hoped that the boy would flee when the bull was distracted. He sensed deep disappointment and closed his eyes in anticipation of being crushed by the angry bull.

Suddenly Nandu appeared between them. He couldn’t see his old friend being killed by the evil bull. Nandu stood there pawing the dirt, shaking his horns, and snorting. Lallan immediately launched an attack on him. But Nandu turned backward and fled to a side. Lallan laughed at this cowardly behaviour. But he wasn’t in mood to spare anyone today. He ran after Nandu.

The Great Fight

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Nandu did not run away scared of Lallan. He only wanted to draw the opponent far from the scared child and his wounded friend. He ran into a gulli which opened at a main road. Traffic was busy on the road. But Nandu decided it was his arena. He halted in the middle of the road and turned back to face Lallan. Lallan was stronger, but Nandu was furious. The realization that his friend Kallu was probably dead, made him wrathful.

When two large bull begin their fight in the middle of a road, traffic has to stop. Vehicles and walkers stop at the both side and between them was the arena of the great fight. Never try to cross the road when two bulls are fighting.

Nandu was the one to launch the first attack. Answer came immediately. Their horns crackled. Both animals snorted and roared. Some of people watch them silently from distance and some of them cheered for their favourite bull. Thirteen minutes passed but they were still fighting. Blood began to come out but it did not stop them. Police had arrived but their endeavours to break the fight had gone in vain. They kept themselves at distance for their own safety.

Nandu was extremely enraged but the younger and stronger enemy began to overpower him. The crowd began to see the end of the fight. At last Nandu fell on the ground. When he was touched by the sunshine in the morning, he had no idea that they were going to be the last morning sunshine of his life. Lallan prepared for the last strikes. But he was interrupted once again. He felt a sharp pain at his tail. He turned quickly and found Kallu holding the tail between his teeth with full strength. Lallan roared out of pain and tried to kick the dog. But determined dog didn’t lose his grasp.

Nandu saw this. His friend was alive. Some minutes ago an unknown energy had run through him seeing his friend dying. And now an unknown energy swept through him seeing his friend alive. He got up on his feet and threw his horns on the enemy once again. Attention of Lallan was now divided. Nandu and Kallu attacked him from opposite sides. Crowd cheered again. Policemen admired the show.

Lallan saw his defeat coming. There was only one way to save his life. He fled. Now people cheered for the victory of the team of the bull and the dog. Nandu and Kallu walked towards home with victory. Meanwhile fleeing Lallan was caught by animal catching squad. Bulls are rarely caught by the squad in Banaras but they are caught and left in jungles when they are found disturbing the peace. So, even if Lallan managed to recover from the wounds he had received, he would never see Banaras again.

Nandu and Kallu returned to their gulli. They reach at the small temple of Shiva.
“You saved the boy.” Nandu said to Kallu softly.
“We saved the boy.” replied Kallu.
Nandu smiled. Then heavily wounded bull looked at the idol of his lord. “Thank you my lord. Take me to your domain now.” saying this he closed his eyes. Thus passed Nandu the bull, ending the line of Mahaand the great.

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