Monday, April 27, 2009
One of Delhi's unique features is the cows in the street. I can't imagine there are many other cities of 20 million people where livestock are a common site almost anywhere in town. I've read that the city has a brigade of cow police trying to remove all of the animals by 2010, which a very optimistic goal. First, the cow police can't simply turn the cows into hamburger. Because cows are sacred, they have to be removed to farms outside the city. Second, there's a black market for the cow's milk, so the cow catchers are often attacked by small mobs.
Most foreigners get used to the cows after a week or two. But not me. While I'm no longer surprised to see a cow in the city, I have discovered that I am terrified by them. Cows are scary animals. Quiet, expressionless, enormous. Willing to eat trash. Good at staring. Some have horns, some don't (which is weird -- and I'm talking cows, not bulls). I don't think cows in a field are scary, but a cow in a dark, narrow, city alley is a terrifying creature.
Anyway, there's arachnaphobia, ophidiophobia and lots of other phobias. Does anyone know if there's a word for the fear of city cows?