The Bull Fighter


Blood… sand… raging bull…courageous matador….Crowd watching tensely. 

Well, well, it was nothing like that. But still my son did have an encounter with a bull and he has a T-shirt with a hole to show for it.

Let me start at the beginning. The scene was in early 1960’s when we were staying on BULL temple road in Bangalore. The house was situated deep inside a big compound. The ambience was as usual a combination of rural and urban. A few cars had been parked in the compound including an old DKW which was still running though only in reverse sometimes. Teen aged children were playing ‘catch’ in the compound. My children along with their cousins had camped on top of the doghouse next to the compound wall. This structure had a flat roof and a small parapet around it so that it was an ideal place for children to sit on it, chat and watch the road safely. The thick shade afforded by the huge champak tree made this cosy corner an all season favorite.

On this particular day, some stray cattle were trying to glean some green shoots of grass which had grown wildly in the crevices of the ill maintained sidewalk. Grazing slowly they came near our open gate greedily eyeing the lush greenery inside the compound housed in innumerable flower pots. But with all the children playing there they could not venture inside the gate. Nevertheless, the frustration must have built up.

My three year old son Arun, an adventurous guy, was very fond of animals. He got down slowly from his perch on the doghouse and sauntered towards the cows. Thinking them to be as approachable as the dogs in the house he went to touch a cow (his version). In all likelihood, he must have tried to shoo them off with a stone or two.

 A grouchy bull (being a lone male in the herd heaven knows what tension he carried in addition to the aforementioned frustration) eyed the 2ft kid. Probably thinking that a miniature man was not as formidable a foe as a full grown adult, the bull lifted the boy high with a pair of sharp horns and dropped him suddenly on the ground. He must have had all the intention of trampling the boy to a pulp. Fortunately, the children who were playing in the compound noticed what the angry bull was about to do. They ran out. One of them snatched the kid and ran inside while others drove the marauder out and closed the gate.

On being brought to me, I noticed that my son had been lucky to survive with only a hole in his T-shirt of ‘turkey’ material as a thick sweater worn inside had prevented the horns goring the body and doing further damage.

Thanking my good stars, I warned the child and put away the green white checked T-shirt as a souvenir of my son’s bull fighting episode.