Summer holidays were spent at my grandparents’ house. My maternal grandparents stayed in Vijayawada, and my paternal grandparents stayed in a small village in Nalgonda district, Telangana. Every other year I’d go to my father’s parents’ house. They had cattle – two bulls and a cow. My grandfather would give lots of love to the cow. Every time I wondered at the behaviour of my grandfather.
One summer he telephoned me asking when I was coming, and he asked me to come as fast as I could because there was good news for me. There were two more days left for my final exams to be over. I just longed to finish those 48 hours in a moment. Somehow those hectic days passed soon.
As I reached the village, my grandfather told me that our cow was pregnant. I did not understand the meaning of the word “pregnant”. A question arose in my head – why can’t the bulls also be pregnant? I asked my grandmother the mystery behind it. My grandmother had a good laugh and said I was too small to know such matters, and she also said that we would get a calf. I leaped with joy when I heard this news. Then only I knew that pregnant means it would give a baby. I tried to explain it to my brother and sister; since they were too small they could not understand.
I began to observe the cow’s stomach. It was bigger than the other animals. My grandfather would feed her with special care. Slowly I too fell in love with that cow. Every morning my first job was to check if the baby was out. One day out of curiosity I asked my grandfather when would the baby cow come out and why he could not take it. He said that three more days are left for the baby to come out, so we must wait patiently.
Three days passed, the time for the delivery had come. The cow began to cry in the morning around 5:00 a.m. The duration of the delivery was supposed to be 40 to 60 minutes, but two hours had passed and there was no sign of the baby. I could see how the cow was struggling and the trauma that was going on in my grandparents. One strange thing which I observed was that the two bulls also began to cry. My grandfather ran to fetch the doctor. By the time he returned, water bag fell and a leg of the calf appeared. Doctor looked and said that there was nothing to worry, baby had turned over.
Doctor held the leg and pulled the baby out and then the baby cow was on the earth. I felt sad for the mother cow but as soon as she saw the baby she forgot all the pain that she went through for hours. She cleaned the baby so well with her tongue. Immediately my grandfather fed the mother cow with jonnalu. He told me that it would reduce the stomach pain.
I grew to love that calf very much; it was pure white whereas the mother had black spots on her body. My siblings and I played with it whole day. We would run behind the calf. We named her Lakshmi. As soon as she sees us getting down from the bus she would make a loud noise. We too wait to meet her and play with her new born. We loved her so much.