On December 18, Parvathamma, a vegetable vendor, was attacked by stray horses. The attack was so swift and severe that the horses killed her within a minute!
Now, while the horses are branded killers, the real killers are the irresponsible horse owners who let these horses loose on city streets, and with that, as if we did not have enough stray dogs, pigs and cows to deal with, we now have a stray horse menace on our hands.
In a strange coincidence, the very next day after the attack on Parvathamma, as I opened my gate to go for a walk, there in front of me stood a team of horses. Suddenly I was reminded of Parvathamma’s death, and I became paranoid. Were these horses Parvathamma’s killers? Should I call the Police or the MCC? But then I remembered that the MCC veterinarian Dr. Suresh rounded up the killers the same day. Phew!
But I was paranoid with their presence as I knew how deadly horses could be. I was then reminded that horses get “spooked” very easily as they have blind spots which is right in front of their face and behind. So one has to move by its side so it can see you and if you have to walk behind a horse, then make a noise so it knows your moving behind and doesn’t get startled.
So as I passed them, I nickered just so I don’t get a deadly kick. By the way nicker is a low-pitched, guttural sound made by a horse considered a companionable greeting. A sound a horse makes is called neigh, and nicker is to neigh softly.
Now, we Mysurueans have learnt to deal with feral dogs, handle cows, avoid pigs and also stray horses. Makes us wonder, do we live in a city or a farm?
Over the last few years especially for people like myself, who live in KC Nagar and people who live in Alanahalli, which are both at the foothill of Chamundi, morning walks have turned a bit risky, and the risk factor has been changing.
A few years ago, my walks were marred by cat-fear. When I say cats I don’t mean the regular little “meow…meow” cats, I mean the roaring kind. In all the time that I have walked up Chamundi Hill I had never seen a leopard, then one day early in the morning just as the sun was breaking through I saw one cross the road.
I got goose bumps; I was filled with joy and fear…while also experiencing momentary lapse of bowel control.
After this I started making noises and clapping as I walked up the Hill so as to warn the shy leopard that a human was approaching, so we didn’t have to face each other. A few months after this incident a leopard strayed into an apartment building in KC Layout and it was captured.
May be it is a coincidence but before this leopard was captured, there were hardly any street dogs in the area. After the big cat was relocated, we had a big dog problem. While the Big Cat was shy, the dogs are anything but.
Soon, walking back from Chamundi Hill I noticed a pack of dogs baring their fangs at me with a menacing stare and low growling, they didn’t look like they would back off. And suddenly with the adrenaline rush I too turned into an animal and started awkwardly roaring at them as if to confuse them into thinking that I was a leopard from the Hill that ate them. But my roars tapered off like a pre-pubescent boy’s voice. Soon, the dogs just sat down and let me pass.
So with leopards, I was clapping and with dogs, I was roaring and started carrying a stick and now with aggressive horses around, I guess I’ll have to neigh, nicker and carry a whip.
But the important issue is what is MCC doing about it? MCC has hardly taken any action against the owners of stray cows, dogs, pigs and horses, the four creatures that have turned into a traffic hazard and a health hazard.
We wonder would the MCC be so lax had the horses kicked to death the son of a Minister or a bureaucrat like Parvathamma was?
Now a days I find myself wishing bad upon the family members of politicians and bureaucrats because I want these two categories of people to suffer the same pain that an ordinary citizen suffers due to their incompetence and apathy, only then will they do right by the common man.
The MCC can so easily book these owners of stray animals. In fact, an Allahabad Court has stated that the owners of such animals that are let loose in the city should be prosecuted under the provisions of The Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960, Police Act and Sections 289, 428, 429 of IPC as well.
For now, since we cannot except much from our authorities, it’s time we learn to adapt to the presence of strays, be it crazy dogs, dirty pigs, lazy cows or angry horses they are everywhere — on the roads, in front of our homes, and even inside our government offices…no pun intended.
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