When you think of a buffalo, a very harmless animal comes to mind, which provides us with milk and meat and lives in harmony with civilization. Who could believe buffaloes are violent creatures. Well, I do and I certainly say this from experience.
As a student of Geology, I have to visit various places in India in search of well exposed rock sections. As luck would have it, these places are far away from the hustle of cities. In the most remote areas, where the only mode of transport you find is a bullock cart or sometimes even a ‘buffalo cart’. And if we are lucky, sometimes a tractor.
Sounds peaceful right! It is peaceful for the people and especially for the animals. And when their peace is disrupted, they do not hesitate to let you know of it.
I was once in a remote area in close to the Maharashtra-Karnataka border. Along with my colleagues I was taking readings. It should be noted that we were conducting our work peacefully. But one buffalo in the distance, domesticated buffalo that is, was not happy with these strangely clothed people with their faces covered lurking in its vicinity.
Without any warning, she jumped the fence and in the process freed her bonds and charged at us at full speed. We dropped everything and ran for our lives. When the buffalo chased us away from her familiar surroundings, we pointed fingers at each other, claiming that we must have done something to trigger the attack. Later, we laughed and a few months passed.
Next time I was at Rajasthan with different colleagues this time, yet again working peacefully. In the distance we saw a lot of sand flying in the air like a sandstorm. When the sandstorm approached closer, we realized what caused it. It was not one or two, but a herd of buffaloes charging at us at full speed with the intention of trampling us to death. We realized later, we were invading their foraging area.
At this stage, I began to wonder, “What it is with buffaloes and me”.
If this was not enough, let me tell you about Hoshangabad, a town in Madhya Pradesh, where pilgrims and buffaloes, not to forget ‘harmless and peaceful buffaloes’ bathe in the holy waters of the Narmada.
Well, that’s where I was. Not to bathe but to study the sediments along the banks of the Narmada. And there it happened again.
A buffalo bathing in the middle of the river spotted me. I was with different colleagues this time. As we approached the river, I could sense the buffalo’s discomfort and anger. And as luck would have it, he charged at us, splashing water violently as if to scare us. Yes, the buffalo succeeded in scaring the others away, but this time all I could do was laugh.
My colleagues were puzzled at my reaction; little did they know I was not new to ‘docile’ animal attacks.
May be it is something to do with my past life, that riles the buffalos up when they see me.
I still wonder what it is, so ladies and gentlemen, next time you meet me, make sure there are no buffalos in the vicinity. Because now we all know that I am a buffalo magnet.