Ok this blog is about the bull festival that happens every year at Olappalayam, Erode, Tamilnadu and its famously referred to as "Kannapuram Mattu Chandhai". This is my second year in a row and I am curious as always to know more. When some of my friends and relatives heard about my visit there, they were like... why would a software engineer be interested in bulls. Well my answer to them is this... as IT professionals we deal with a lot of BULL****, so its nothing but natural for me to be interested in bulls.
Three of us decided to go the bull festival. Two of them dropped out at the last moment but that didn't stop me from going alone. If you decide to be less of yourself, you can just romance the world. You can make friends anywhere, anytime. People would want to befriend you. And of course I did make a few friends here. There was a gang of three who came to enquire about the cows where I was enquiring as well. The only difference is that I was enquiring out of curiosity whereas they were there to buy. So I tagged along with them in their search for the right cow and eventually we became friends.
I had my camera with me to get some pictures of the bulls, not just for memory but also to aide in my research. OK I could see some eyebrows going up... RESEARCH may be a big word... Lets just call it analysis...
Now coming to the festival itself...Its a bull festival with a very long history... maybe a thousand years. And the Kangeyam variety known for its agility and power is the major attraction there. This variety is indigenous to the erstwhile “Kongu Nadu”, which now covers the regions of Erode, Karur, Thirupur and Coimbatore. The bulls of this variety are just majestic (of course the well fed ones) and they have a long history of helping humans in agriculture as well as in domestic purposes. The cows of this variety are well known for the quality of milk that they produce though the quantity is less. But whatever little quantity they produce, is very good and there is a bit of research going on about the curative properties of this milk.
I found three sub varieties of Kangeyam. One is a mix of black, white and grey and they call it "Kaari", another is a mix of wheatish brown, red and white and they call it "Sevalai" and the last one is of course is fully white and I didn't hear any specific name for it.
It was a really exciting experience in many ways though the sun was a bit harsh on me. The villagers are easily acquaintable and highly enterprising and are all the more willing to let me take pictures of their bulls and cows. As I was there alone initially (before I made friends), I will have to teach the villagers how to take a picture, so I could get some pictures of myself with the cows. Trust me they learnt it fast and took some good snaps. One of the people told me, "I wish your snaps bring some luck so that I could sell the bull at a better bargain". I really hoped he sold it for a better price.
On the side lanes of the festival, you find these shops selling accessories for bulls and cows. Man... that was colourful and intriguing. When it comes to accessories, I always envied women for the variety of choices that they have and lamented about the fewer choices that men have. Always felt that in terms of choice of accessories men are a distant second to women. But after visiting these shops, I will have to let go of my opinion. Now I am of the opinion that in term of choice of accessories, its the women, the bulls/cows and the men. God damn it... men are a distant third now.
That brings us to the end of part 1 of the blog. I would talk more about how to differentiate or rather appreciate beauty in a bull or a cow, what to look for when buying a bull/cow, how to find the age of a bull/cow and how we (not me) ended buying a cow and a calf.