Skip to main content

Animals that Talk and Feel

Dzongkha or Tibetan word for animals is Semchen, which is roughly translated as one that possesses mind. This in turn implies that one has feelings and emotions, assuming one that has mind can ‘feel’ also. So, I am wondering … do animals have the feelings? I always ask this silly question. But if you look at the Dzongkha word for animals one more time, everything is clear. Of course animals can feel! Now if some scientists can prove that even plants have feelings; then surely one that has a mind has to feel. Although they may not enjoy the power of speech like the wise humans, they can at least feel.

It was in late 1990s I was in Phuentsholing for the first time. Everything was new to me … sheer number of people, cars and traffic…everything amused me. So, I accompanied my uncle to a market in Jaigaon. And as we rounded a corner, a horrible sight stuck me. Even now when I think about that, I get choked up. A group of vendors were selling meat. And right beside him a man was holding down a goat onto a big bowl. Blood was oozing out like waterfall. I didn’t understand what was happening. When my uncle busy at a shop, I went to the place for a closer and look better look. I could never forget the sight I saw that day! A butcher had already slain a goat. He was collecting blood in a big bowl.

And that was not it, near the scene, tied to a log is another goat waiting for his turn. Believe me I saw it with my own eyes; the goat was shivering in fright. How could it not feel the terror when right under his nose his friend was being slain? I saw human tears in the goat’s eyes. That scene of crying goat made an indelible impression on me; one that repeats in my nightmares and I cry.

At home, one of our favorite cows called Phurjan fell off a cliff and broke its leg. It could not move from the spot where it lay. We consulted a man who knew the art of fixing the dislocated limbs. With the help of a group of villagers, the man fixed the broken leg and padded the problem area with small pieces of wooden shingles and bounded it with ropes. It was such a terrible sight. Every time, Phurjan saw us, it used to look at us from her place and call us for help … bey bey. But how could we help her? That broke my heart and even after a month, Phurjan showed no sign of improvement.

One early morning, my mother took some fodder and some food. I accompanied her. The sick animal tried to move in sheer happiness, but when the food was laid before her, she showed no sign of appetite whatsoever. My mother cried and said something like this:
“It is all your karma. What can we do? We cannot help you. Don’t suffer like this for long. It is better to die and go to heaven. Phurjan …don’t worry about the calf … please leave…” I saw tears falling off the cow’s eyes and my mother cried like never before. I could not contain my emotions either.

Towards the evening, Phurjan left us and her dear lovely calf.
In loving memory of our dear Phurjan and the two goats that went to heaven right under my nose, I am a pure vegetarian today.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Alive and kicking

This feels like ages since I last posted anything here. That shows how inactive I have become on my blog. It is such a pain to let it go empty, day after day. And I am sure that all bloggers share the same sentiments.

I have attempted to blog about something for a long time now, only to find myself failing to do so. Maybe that is my laziness. But sometimes, there is nothing new or interesting to blog about. Topics are crucial. As far as my idea of blogging goes, a post cannot be a mere record of personal events - everyday affairs - although there can be blogs about such topics and interests. For example, the one I am writing now - has nothing about anything in particular,  besides citing some personal excuses.

Bhutan is going through yet another interesting era in that we have just had our third parliamentary elections and the new government is in place. I take this opportunity to welcome the new government and a new set of cabinet members, the speaker of the National Assembly and th…

Our throw-it-away culture

Like all grandparents, my late grandma would call food 'tsampa rimpoche' and any fuss made about it would invite everyone's sneer and scoldings. Food is always treated with respect and is never wasted. "If you waste food in any manner," she would admonish us. "One day food will discard you and you will go hungry." 
What remained from the previous meal would be turned either into porridge or sometimes leftover rice would be dried in the sun. The dried rice would then be fried into puffed rice and consumed with cups of suja. When there was so much food left, especially during big events, leftover rice or kharang would be mixed with a small amount of yeast and brewed into ara.  
The only thing that I can vividly recollect from my primary school days is how we would be hungry most of the time. Food we were served was hardly enough to tickle our throats. We would be sent home only once a week on Saturdays and that was our opportunity to replenish our popcorn s…

Utpal Academy - Bhutan's first All-girls High School

Welcome to Bhutan’s first all-girls school. Isn’t that wonderful news to all our parents? Certainly, as a parent of a one-year old daughter I am excited about the coming of a school exclusively dedicated to the needs of girls. Our girls need special treatment, which we can for sure entrust the responsibility to Utal Academy, Paro.
I really like the name – Utpal – in Buddhist world, Utpal is another name for lotus flower, which is believed to grow from mud and yet blossoms into a beautiful and majestic flower. It stands for purity and many deities are depicted holding flower Utpal, more prominently Jestusn Dolma, the Goddess Tara. Symbolically, it also stands for the transformation of our girls. What an apt name for the school!
The Principal’s message posted on the academy’s website promises providing our young women an “opportunity to participate fully in a wide range of extracurricular activities to develop skills and qualities that will lead to successful and fulfilling life.” That’s…