May 7th – In the morning the EleBus crew was asked to collect the camera when they went to pick up the kids.
In the meantime I went to meet Mahathun, a farmer who had a large herd of cattle and goats. Over the years we had given him cows and goats to increase and improve his herds. Mahathun very graciously provided a young heifer to give Gunewardena.
Mahatun’s cattle range freely grazing over a vast area and are enclosed in a fenced stockade only at dusk. When the time came to separate the heifer from the rest of the herd, that’s when things started to go south. Having never been tethered in its life before—the moment it was lassoed the heifer ran amok. Deciding it would be less stressful for the heifer and our vehicle won’t get destroyed as well we decided to walk it with the rest of the herd part of the way and then continue on to Gunewardena’s stockade. Hopefully by then the heifer would be somewhat used to the rope around its neck. It turned out to be the worst decision we could’ve made.
Soon as we parted from the herd and started our walk to the village the heifer took off bucking and cavorting in various directions like a bull in a rodeo dragging Mahatun’s teenage son Sanju along with it. In whatever direction it gamboled we too pranced and ran along behind to keep up with it.
The heifer went in every direction: over hill and dale and everything in between other than where we wanted it go. It would rest for a split second which allowed Sanju to get it heading in the right direction and then it would go again dragging Sanju as if he were water skiing in the bush. It did this repeatedly and in this manner we would’ve covered more than 7 kilometers and come no where near Gunewardena’s village. To say we were exhausted by then would be an understatement and on top of that we were totally fed up with the heifer’s intractability. I would’ve gladly exchanged the heifer for an ass.
When we came to a stream the heifer had a long and refreshing drink while we looked on in envy. Not expecting this to turn into a such a long and tiring fiasco we had not even brought a water canteen with us.
After having drunk from the stream now with renewed vigor the heifer led us again on a merry dance and then just as suddenly decided it was not going anywhere! It laid down on the ground and to our consternation simply refused to move. Our frantic efforts were of no avail it would not move or budge an inch. Like in the song “My Grandfather’s Clock” it laid down never to get up again. I always thought mules, asses, and camels were stubborn but this heifer put them all to shame.
Finally as a last resort we called Sampath to bring the Land Rover.