My friend tells me that there is a place in Kolkata where one can see a great deal of activity related to animals, particularly cattle. Cows and bulls are traded and a particular aspect of trade that involves cows and bulls is mating.

Healthy bulls of good breed and pedigree are assembled and are eagerly sought by owners of cows to fertilize them to ensure healthy progeny that would further the cow owner’s commercial prospects. So it is common to see a Bengali rustic lead an innocent, nervous cow to this place in Kolkata to be mercilessly used by an eager bull. The bull is securely harnessed, with its master eager for a satisfactory commercial gain from the owner of a cow. It is also common to see that when the rustic leads the cow to the owner of the bull, the latter senses the nature and purpose of the transaction going on between the two and the exciting role he has to play in the whole deal! He perks up his ears, turns his head and watches the whole proceeding with gradually increasing excitement and sexual tension. He tries to break free from the harness, sways his head restlessly from side to side and swishes his tail vigourously. The bargaining goes on. It seems to be endless! “Why can’t they hurry and get it over with?” he wonders.  He gazes thirstingly at the cow. She seems very inviting indeed! The bargaining goes on, and after what seems like a tortuous interminable time, the owner of the cow decides that the price is just not right. The deal falls through! So he leads away the cow to another owner. The poor bull is inconsolable. Furious! It kicks its feet, sways its head and tries valiantly to break free of its harness. But it’s the way of the world. Yet another victim of human commerce!

And we have Bruno!

Bruno was a German Shepherd who had a ‘certified official pedigree’ which lay with his master. He was fortunate to inhabit a rather imposing house with tall walls and an oppressively opaque gate which rarely afforded a view of the external world. He was a philosopher of sorts and did not even seem too keen about it. The compound of the house was quite large and he was content to romp around it, quite satisfied with the territory he could mark as his own by his urine. He was well looked after by his owners, provided adequate food, and as for love and affection – he seemed quite content with the petting and stroking he received from his masters. I wonder if the thought of sex ever came to his mind, for he never seemed to exhibit any signs of sexual tension. Afternoons would see him sprawled under a ceiling fan, and he spent all his time just lazing around like a government worker.

All this was to change! It so happened that a friend of his master had a certified pedigreed German Shepherd too. The problem was it was a female. And being a female it generated the usual problems a female generates. In other words, her master desired to have a generous supply of litter from her as he could make some money by selling them. This man approached Bruno’s master when his dog was in heat and was mentally ready. Bruno’s master didn’t really care one way or the other, but since a good friend had requested, he agreed to leave poor Bruno at the other’s house.

So good old Bruno was led to the other house one evening, and being philosophically inclined, just proceeded resignedly without any desire whatsoever of sinning. On getting to the other dog’s house, he was pleasantly surprised to find a bitch and the first stirrings of sinning gently picked up. As his proximity with her increased, his consciousness was tingled strongly with a strange perfume she seemed to emanate. A powerful wave of electricity ran all through his body and he wondered what it was, for he had never even considered such strange possibilities! As time flowed on, he found his sexual urge rise phenomenally and he energetically tried to woo her. At first she was somewhat brusque with him – the way females are, but when she perceived that he really adored her, genuinely desired her and made her feel quite important, she turned quite coy. Later with an air of feigned disdain, and ensuring not to display inordinate enthusiasm, she turned cooperative. Bruno decided to drop his philosophical attitude and realized that being a hedonist was all what life was about. He decided to mend his ways forever henceforth and swore to enjoy life to the fullest extent and forever. As a first step he sexually locked up with the female dog and the next thirty minutes of intense sex set the stage for what would be his life-style forever and ever.

Only there was a problem! For when the sex act was over, after a brief interval of time, he sensed that he was being led back to his own residence – the dry, empty space surrounded by tall walls and the oppressively opaque gate. He just didn’t want such a life! Not after what he had just seen. But forcefully and much against his wish, he was dragged back to his own house by an iron chain on his collar. He was totally restless and on the first opportunity he could get, when the milkman tried to enter the house, he rapidly sneaked out of the gate and feverishly bounded across the neighbourhood to the other dog’s house. His master however soon followed him, and in minutes arrived where he was. He was again secured in chains and dragged back to his own home. His master realized that Bruno was a changed dog and would run away from the house at the first opportunity he got. So it was, that Bruno lost his right to freely roam around his house and gaily mark his territory as he once used to. He became a dog that was securely chained with iron and collar. He lost his peace of mind and would wistfully think of his lover – a sophisticated, pedigreed German Shepherd – a female dog of his dreams, and he would dream of her piningly forever – another animal victim of human commerce!

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Deepak Bellur

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