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

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

Academic Block 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. Dinning Hall 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! Hostel Room 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

Community of Bhutanese Bloggers Conceived

And finally it happened. I must say that it was by far the most attended Bloggers Meet. In the past we had bloggers agree to attend and cancel at the very last minute. But on June 24, 2015 – almost 100% of bloggers, who confirmed came. I would like to thank everyone for keeping his/her words, especially those who had to come all the way from Wangdue or Paro. Thank you! 35 Bhutanese bloggers met in Thimphu. We were honored to have the presence of senior bloggers like Aue Yeshi Dorji and Dasho Sangay Khandu. The meeting assumed more significance because of their presence. Equally, we were happy to have many young bloggers in whom we see so much enthusiasm and potential. On top of many things that transpired during the Meet, one of the most significant outcomes was the unanimous decision reached to form a formal group of bloggers, a platform aimed at encouraging and inspiring more bloggers around the country. The members decided that we will call it Community of Bhutanese Blogger

Behind the Purple Building?

The following is an opinion piece I contributed to Business Bhutan (June 11, 2016). I reproduce it here for the others, who have not gone through it.  Last week I had a difficult time finding my cousin’s house in town. She had recently shifted to a new location and as tradition has it, my family wanted to make a courtesy call. I was informed of the location, but getting there was a herculean task. And the absence of strange-colored buildings or offices in close proximity made it even more difficult to locate my cousin’s new residence. Darkness descended gradually to our disadvantage. I have never called anyone the way I had to call my cousin that evening. After a series of calls and driving here and there, we finally reached the place by a stroke of luck.  Of course, if my cousin had not come out on the road, after her failed attempt at providing me the direction (and likewise me failing to translate her direction), my family would have returned home that evening. And I