“Would you ever hurt your own mother?” Mr.Om glared at the audience, “Would you let anyone else hurt your mother?” Impassioned spittle flew into the microphone. “No” Mr. Om answered himself, “then why is it okay to let our gaumatas get hurt? Why is it ok to allow them to be killed just to feed Ome adharmic rakshas somewhere?” Mr.Om shook with feeling.
“Are we not here today because of our gaumatas? I know I am. I have enough calcium in my bones today because of all the milk I drank over a lifetime, from countless cows. I have enough strength in my muscles,” Mr.Om flexed a hefty bicep, “because of all the ghee I have eaten thanks to the generous gaumatas. Monsoons are here, the weather is changing, I can see a lot of you are sick with the flu, and yet here I am perfectly healthy, talking at the height of my voice. How is this possible? This is possible only because of the gomutra I drink every morning.”
Mr. Om sighed, “It pains me to see the troubles, the torture we let our gaumatas go through on a daily basis. And the moment they stop giving milk they are slaughtered and sold for their meat. Is this what we have come to? Is this who we are?” Mr. Om sniffed, his eyes filled to their brim, “A culture that cannot respect its mother is no culture at all. And I will not allow our culture to degrade to that level. No. Not while I am alive.” A single tear streaked down his staunch face. Mr. Om did not wipe it away.
“While campaigning I had promised you that I would take care of all the cows. Yes, each and every cow. And I am proud to announce that I am here today to keep that promise. I proudly present to you the ‘Brindavan cow retirement home’.” Mr.Om pointed to a few cowsheds to one side. The crowd erupted into a thunderous applause. The band that had been hired for this very moment sprang to life, their cowhide drums beating to a frenzied pitch. Ome of Mr.Om’s followers burst crackers. Mr.Om observed all of this from the podium with pride.
When the crowd had finally settled he proceeded, “This would not have been possible without your help.” And in this Mr.Om was entirely correct as the whole structure had been built with what donations were left after Mr.Om’s party members had upgraded their lifestyles. “And I promise you, this is only the first gaushala. I will not stop until every cow in this country has a safe home and a secure future.” There was more thunderous applause. Mr. Om stepped down from the podium slowly, his hands joined and a wide smile on his face.
The program was a success. As he mingled with the locals he could see the fervent admiration in their eyes. Mr.Om knew he could count on their votes. The only thing left to do was to fill the gaushala with old cows. Mr.Om smiled to himself, that would be easy enough to do for him.
Mr.Om was busy talking to the Sarpanch of this village and his gaggle of followers when his secretary Satya showed up wringing his hands and trying to catch his eye. Mr.Om ignored him until Satya was wringing his hands so hard Mr.Om thought they might come off at the joints. “ Yes, Satya, what is it?”
“Sir, it was about…” Satya hesitated, smiled and gestured to the side.
“It’s ok Satya, we are among friends, you can speak your mind.” Mr.Om smiled at everyone.
“Sir…it was about the plant…” Satya said almost inaudible.
Color drained out of Mr.Om’s face until he looked like freshly curdled milk. He excused himself with Ome hasty comments. He grabbed Satya by the hand and dragged him to the side.
“How many times have I told you not to talk about the meat plant in public?” Mr.Om glared at Satya.
“Sir…that’s why…I tried to…”
“You will ruin everything one of these days.”
“Sorry sir, it was an urgent matter…” Satya stammered.
“We will see. But before that, have you arranged for the steaks for our US delegates?
“Yes, sir…” Satya nodded earnestly.
“Are you sure…the very best…our most prime cuts…?” Mr.Om was skeptical.
“Yes Sir, they will be served the most prime cuts of meat our plant has produced. I have even hired the most celebrated continental chef for this lunch.”
“We will see…” Mr.Om said, “ok, what is the emergency?”
Satya gulped…he stared at his feet, “Sir…there is a shortage of cows…”
Mr.Om’s mouth grew a gruesome grimace that he mutated into a monstrous smile, “you were supposed to prevent this very thing, Satya….”
“Yes Sir, but the demand this Ramadan has been thrice what it was last year…” Satya muttered.
“You were supposed to take that into account…”Mr. Om glared.
“Sorry sir…the sheik is demanding his shipment of meat…it will take at least one hundred cows more…to make the shipment sir…”
“Of course the Sheik is demanding his shipment. And trust me, if we cannot make the shipment, the Sheikh will have us on the chopping block if it will have help meet his requirements. Where are we getting the hundred extra cows Satya?” Mr.Om raised an angry eyebrow.
Satya gulped hard and stared at the gaushala.
Mr. Om stared at the gaushala and glared, “oh no. Absolutely not. I need those cows. They need to be here in this gaushala, retiring. We cannot butcher them and send them to Dubai.” Mr.Om stamped an angry foot, “my political career depends on those cows!”
“Sorry sir, those are the only cows we have right now.”
“Some of those cows are too old…and some are diseased.”
“Yes sir, but those are the only ones we have”
“I cannot have an angry Sheik on my tail and I cannot have an empty gaushala. You might still end up on the chopping block, Satya.” Mr.Om whispered.
Mr.Om sighed and walked around a little, he stopped and tapped his foot, finally, he gestured for Satya, “Ok, send the cows to the sheik.”
“And what about the gaushala sir?” Satya said.
“Well, you will find me a hundred old cows by next week, or your whole family will be living there instead.”
“Now, go get the cows processed and leave me alone, I have this cattle to appease!” Mr.Om dismissed Satya, sighed and put a good smile on his face and began to talk to villagers about the virtues of the cow, their mother.