Archive for quest of knowledge

Kalagacchu kahani- the way of being…

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on August 4, 2009 by Naveen Bagalkot

A buffalo always fires up my imagination! The drooping eyelids did me in I guess, or maybe the way the skin shimmers in sunlight just after the bath, I can really never tell. Lying in the cold comfort of the muddy waters under a warm sun, she always looks down upon at the madly hastening world in utter contempt. Contempt that, I suspect, arising from possessing a superior intellect. Slowly munching on the grass, in a way similar to Einstein turning thoughts about relativity in his mind, she must have attained what most of the scholars of the world desperately aim for. The intoxication of her mind from the grass, the cold waters hitting her thick skin and the heat from the sun above, must have made her realize the truths about the universe, which is the only explanation I can come up with the way she looks at her life. In fact it is this way of reflecting is what did me in. Her attitude, none a worry about the nitty-gritties of survival, munching on thoughts and ideas of a much higher calling and deciphering the secret of life itself, what a way of being! She is, for me, the epitome of coolness and of supreme intellect.

So she fires up my imagination, makes me want, not her, but to be like her. I have tried all that I could try as a person of a lower species in the pecking order of intellectual powers. When I was a kid, I used to lie on the grass below the sun, munching on the juicy stalk of the grass and hoping some truth will dawn upon me. To my despair, all that came out of this obsession was split teeth, sun burnt face and itchy legs. And then there is the kalagacchu. Every buffalo in the northern parts of Karnataka at the least, gets to savor on this, what I consider as the ultimate culinary experience. At the end of each day, all the vegetable skins, seeds, roots, the left over food, mostly parts that we humans of a weaker gastronomical tract think can not digest, are mixed up in a bucket of water and fed to the hungry buffalo as a multiple course dinner. As she lapped it all up making the potion touch all her taste buds through her mouth and the two stomachs, I could just imagine with fascination if the gurgling sound is emanating from a deep guttural satisfaction. I always used to think how wrong my papa can be when, in the ignorance that is a trait identifiable only in we humans, he used refer to a bad coffee or tea as kalagacchu. And then here, last week in a South Korean restaurant in Kobenhavn, I realized that not all humans are ignorant of the sublime delicacy of kalagacchu. Not the South Koreans at the least!

As I stared at the menu, realizing that what we thought as a Chinese restaurant was a Korean one,  my pent up aspirations of attaining a buffaloish nirvana, subconsciously forced me to order what was written in Danish as ‘oksekød suppe med ris’. With the ignorance that I have already given credit to the human species, I thought in anticipation that it would some beef curry with rice, with some pickles. As the petite waitress placed the bowl in front of me and as the wafting fragrance of the beef, innumerable vegetables, egg white and rice hit my nasal underlinings, “for what we are about to receive, thank you oh Lord!”, blurted out of my mouth almost 10 years after I passed out from my school! I slurped the heady concoction forcing myself to stop from gurgling in consideration for the person in front of me, which is one of the other trait identifiable only with we human species. As I reached the last of the drops of the boiled delicacy, which highlighted the actual taste of each ingredient by not adulterating it with spices and salt, I again had to stop myself from lifting the bowl and licking it off.

But then the supreme intoxicated form of the knowldege of the buffalo eluded me again! As I biked back to my ‘room with a corner window’, I realised that maybe it was due to the meat of the male version of the buffalo in the soup. Or maybe that the consideration that I showed to my fellow species was, in due consideration, the folly of the highest order. To attain the supreme state of being like her, I guess I will have to be born as her! But till then this naive ignorant human quest continues…

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