A Visit to Bubbi in Ramkrishnapur; 30 December 2009

This is Bubbi looking at me before I left in the evening.  She does not like to see me leave.  Sometimes she moos and moos when I leave.  It was a good day, a good visit, but I have to pay more attention to her care.  I’ve known that for a while. 

Thirty five of us descended on the village — a visit to Beau’s family who take care of Bubbi.  It’s a sign of improvement at Shishur Sevay that teachers wanted to go.  Soma Mukherjee, our new Program Director came, and so did our accountant.    The girls were very excited to dress up, which they like to do for a trip to the village.  But this time they also wore the running shoes that Andrei and Heather had brought for them.  They went in their finest salwar suits, sequined, and sporting their running shoes.  They could have been in NYC, a trendy mix of clothes….

Notice the shoes!

More sequins and shoes.

We arrived and parked the bus.  By the time I was able to take pictures the girls had headed off for the village, I was able to get photos of the stragglers — most of us..


This landscape is typical of the agricultural areas.  The fields are along the highways, and the villages set back in the trees, a long twisting path leading to the mostly mud huts.

My first stop was Bubbi, who was tied up outside when we arrived.


I had brought bananas, and the peels from the bananas we ate on the bus.  I learned she clearly knew the difference.  You can see how happy I am here, back feeding Bubbi.  They say that over time people and their pets look more and more alike.  Notice my hair color, and hers.  I have finally got it right.  We match.


It was always my intent to have Bubbi with the children, and for them to be close to her.  It hasn’t worked out that way so far, but the girls are more and more comfortable and more and more interested in her.


The girls think about animals and their welfare a lot.  They notice animals on the street, want to know about care, about “why” people aren’t good to animals.  On this trip the girls asked about the rope on Bubbi’s horns, and particularly how short she was tied.  Of course I’d noticed and I’d hoped they wouldn’t.  I said I wasn’t OK about it and would have to do something, which I did.  I’m so happy the girls notice such things.  One of our teachers couldn’t join us for the day because her cat was at the hospital on iv drip.  The girls are used to this.  People loving animals and caring for them are part of their every day lives.  But I don’t think anyone else’s hair matched their pets as well as mine matches Bubbi’s. 


Lunch!  Our hosts offered superb food for us.  The rest of us ate after the girls, and then we went off to the field to play.  The weather was warm but a bit crisp too, so it was really great for running and playing.  Three of the little ones had fallen asleep, but Ganga came to the field with us.  Next time I have to plan better so they all play out in the field.  Each trip is a learning; sometimes too it’s just hard getting everyone going.  I do get worn down and let things go at times. But then it goes on my list for next time — things I can’t just let go.

The girls at Shishur Sevay get little time to run and play outside. the fields are dry now; the rice has been picked; the field has been picked over for the straw which is used for burning, bedding, and feeding the cows.IMG_3138w

While we were playing in the field, a laborer came across the field carrying a huge bale of rice straw.


I really felt pretty stupid and embarrassed when no one seemed to notice him or try to get out of his way.  We were city invaders of rural life.  


Ganga played with Beau’s neice, who lives in the village.



This is the little girl whose mukhabhat we had attended.  We have watched her grow.  The girls really love having little ones around.


Then there was a tough game of “Kabadi” (sp?) which I’d call a mixture of tag and football.  I don’t like it.  The girls tried playing it in the house and soon we had two major accidents of water spickets being knocked off, a tree being downed, and resulting no water until the pipes could be fixed.  But this day, out on the field, that was the game of choice for some. 





And finally victory!!!!


While they were playing I took a picture of a snake skin laying among the brush at the edge of the field.  The girls are studying nature and I thought it would be good for them to have the picture.  I was clearly more involved and interested than they were.  But here is a picture of the snake skin.


There was a big snake hole right near the skin.  I’d thought of trying to get the skin, but I imagined some angry snake coming at me to get its skin back.  I do know better…. but I wasn’t taking chances.

Next we all went up to where the railroad tracks cut through the fields to see the afternoon train coming from Sunderbans to Kolkata.  


The Train!


A farmer and his cow on the other side of the railway tracks, looking… at me I think, as the train had already gone by.

The kids then played on the tracks (under our careful watch)


And one of the girls lost herself in thought as she walked along the track.  Maybe she was thinking about God, as she often does, or homework which she often doesn’t, or maybe she was hoping I’d take a picture.  


Back at the house, Bubbi was brought into her new stall I’d had built. I requested the rope be taken off her, and they had to cut it free.  




Bubbi didn’t pose well at this point.  She was too busy enjoying the freedom of her head movement.  One of the girls was with me, just standing and watching Bubbi, and I asked her to take a picture.


Bubbi was more interested in scratching or licking her hoof, enjoying the freedom of movement.  I was happy to watch her.  Yes, it is complicated.  Clearly there is another chapter coming in Bubbi’s life.  I once imagined writing a children’s book of Bubbi’s sayings.  I still do.  In the photo section of this blog there are some Bubbi pictures, and some words that go with/from her.  In the next chapter of her life, we will hear more of what she has to say.

End of the day and we headed back to Shishur Sevay, the girls tired but happy.  We talked about Bubbi over dinner, her history, what I must do, what I must look for.  In this visit, maybe because of the girls’ upset at how she was tied, she became more a part of our family, not just Mummy’s cow.  That’s also how I wanted it, from the beginning…. 

Happy New Year.  May all our wishes come true; may all those we love be well and happy!



1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. Shreya
    Jan 03, 2010 @ 16:18:27



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December 2009
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