You get used to seeing cows everywhere in India – temples, city centres, bus and railway stations, in the middle of busy roads. And I have to say I find them quite fascinating. The just hang out, look a bit melancholy and pretty much ignore what’s going on around them.
I’m sure everybody looks at these cows and thinks it must be terrible for them, having to eat all this rubbish when they could be in a nice green field munching on grass. But eating grass uses a lot of energy – and a lot of stomachs and there’s very little nutritional value. How much easier it is to digest the fruit and veg that we don’t want.
In Mysore the cows have got it really sorted, just hang about the Devaraja market and eat all the stuff that isn’t good enough for sale. And I’m not talking about rotten fruit. The average market throws away tons of perfectly good food every day, just because it doesn’t look quite right. If it doesn’t people won’t buy it.
But it doesn’t stop there, the cows beg. They stand in front of a vendor till he gives in and hands over some food. Or sometimes even a restaurant or shop. You see this elsewhere but the Mysore cows seem to have the edge over the others.
The people provide for the cows because they see the cows as representing Nandi the bull, Shiva’s vehicle. Cows get food, people get good karma. Everybody’s happy.