Sema, the local plant doctor

Our village Q is primarily agrarian, nothing new you would say. Well, a background. Here, everyone works for the bigger landlords. Q is a mixed motley of Sikhs, Hindus with a sprinkling of Muslims and a few odd Christians who have names which started out as English but became Punjabicized. Bladder, named after the football bladder, the village cowherd, and Sema, adapted from Sam, the affimchi (one who is an addict to poppy husk) are the two English names. In fact, Sema is the local plant doctor on the farm. If you looked at him, you would look at the craggy wizened face and you would dismiss him at the first instance but he has so much practical knowledge and is the green fingers of the village. What keeps him going is his daily fix taken every morning. Yes, he is an addict, a harmless one at that, who just farms away his life.

Chhinda and the Buffalo

It is a daily practice for the cattle to be milked two times a day and milk is brought for distribution after keeping a specific amount at home. I asked the helper, how come the milk of a specific buffalo had dropped considerably?
This was my attempt at being smart, cocky and being a know-it-all thinking that I, a city-bred girl being initiated into this secret world that had been alien to my upbringing, could out-smart the guy as the quantity of milk being brought in was dropping considerably. Well, I was never prepared for this retort.
Chinda, the milkman looked up and said, “Biji, the cow has low BP!”
I was in splits! How did a cow get Blood Pressure? And if she did, how did he check her? How did he know that this was the reason? Man, I was stumped and have not stopped laughing ever since. His expression and the way he delivered his reply, that she has blood pressure – the reason why the level of the milk has dropped, was priceless.
I had no answer to this effective reply and found myself unable to challenge his acumen. Well, who says you need a college degree?

Tomorrow is another day and I’d like to tell you about the letter sent to the Sarpanch (village head) complaining about the cow who was being mysteriously milked by the pair of snakes living near by!