Don’t confuse it with the Cattle fairs which reportedly happen in the IIMs. It’s about the real cattle fairs where the cows, buffaloes, camels, donkeys, horses etc are brought to be sold. They also come to participate in the competitions like beauty pageant, races and bull-fights. Some people even come to look out for their lost or stolen cattle.
So what is special in the cattle fairs which led me to think about it and write this blog? Yes, it’s the psychology of the buyers and sellers which intrigues me.
The preparations farmers or cattle herders make before taking their cattle to the fair are quite elaborate. The buffaloes and cows, generally painted in mud, get a good bathe, and then an oil massage. Some even get their horns and tails painted. They even tie a necklace of colored rope or peacock feathers and human hair around neck almost suffocating the poor animals. Camels get a nice haircut with designs brought up on their dark brown body. So elegant they look that all you want is ride on their back, at least once!
So far so good, the real fun begins in the fair. Farmers from all the nearby places bring them to the market, laden in the tractor- trolleys or trucks, most of the times its too crammed for the spaces that poor animals feel suffocated. You don’t need to be an expert to see the pain in their eyes.
A buyer may want to know, how much milk a buffalo produces daily? So, live demonstrations happen. The owner milks it in front of the potential buyer. The little ones are deprived of their mother’s milk as she has not been milked for two three days before bringing her to the market. They must believe that it’s better to keep the milk accumulated in her udders for a better show!
The evaluations go on for whole day, buyers keep coming, most of the times leaving them just after initial inspection, roaming around, checking the features of the animal. Looks of the buffalo is one of the most important parameters. Looks? You must be wondering! What do looks have to do with the quality of the cattle? But you guessed it right, we are humans after all. We are so much worried about the looks of anything feminine that we tend to simply ignore other important factors! The breed has to be good; it’s the matter of pride to have a Murra or Khundi at home.
At the end of the day, most of the cattle are sold off. The owners who have reared its cattle for so many years just let them go. For the emotional types it’s a tough choice which they have to make. But the deal is done; they have to send them, this time, laden in yet another vehicle.
For the rest, who are not sold, it’s the journey back to home. I don’t know whether the animal feels happy about returning home, to be with rest of the herd, but the owner is definitely not! How will I feed it in the times of inflation, when there is no fodder in this dry season? Monsoon too has not been favorable, and I need the money to pay the debt, to purchase other house hold items or to pay off the tuition fee of the kids who have just got into a college. The questions keep busy his mind as he return home.
The animal must be wondering, what was lacking in me? They didn’t buy me just because I didn’t look good enough to be accepted into their herd? For an Oxen, the owner might be heard whispering, had you been able to pull the cart, why would have I brought you in the market? There are no buyers for you in the fair. I’ll have to sell you to the Butcher now! I can’t help it.