So P has developed a liking for cows. Not cows in the form of burgers or steaks, as when we’re in Montana, but a genuine liking for the cows themselves.
In some ways this is not surprising; in India cows are considered holy and believe me they are everywhere. Literally everywhere – fields, streets, temples, munching on rubbish, roaming into people’s houses. When we took a scooter out into the countryside, it wasn’t the traffic that was the problem, but weaving in and out of herds of rather unpredictable large animals with horns.
But P doesn’t seem to mind. He thinks these big, stupid animals are great, and so his latest thing is to try and pat every cow we see. Which at the moment is quite a few, as Hampi seems to have a disproportionate concentration of cows, even for India. They provide him with hours of entertainment, from laughing at the silly calf dancing along behind him, to trying to pat on the head the ancient one with ridiculously long curly horns. At night they all park themselves in the narrow lane next to our guest house – an interesting logistical exercise when the power is out.
However, this leads to another product of excessive numbers of cows – shit. There are cow pats everywhere. India itself at times feels like it is filled with dirt, but this reaches new heights when you have large numbers of bovines relieving themselves in the roads on a regular basis. It makes navigating the streets a tricky business if you want the hems of your clothing to remain unsoiled.
So while P is chasing the jumping calves in the hopes of giving the cows a pat, I’m busy jumping along behind him trying to avoid the pats of the cows.