There is plenty to choose from: hundreds of chickens stacked layer upon layer on the back of trucks and pick-ups, gawking around at their last views of the world as they head to a certain fate; herds of goats wandering anywhere they please, eating whatever they find or dusty donkeys laden with impossibly large cargoes, picking their way through rush hour traffic.
I am particularly fond, however, of the interaction between man and buffalo.
You see, for a man from Africa like me, the African buffalo is a very bad tempered fellow – highly likely to visit his anger on a frail little human. Not so it seems, the Asian buffalo! This is without doubt a gentle giant.
On the way home from work each day, I find myself smiling uncontrollably at the site of groups of buffalo, hot and tired after a long day in the sun, thoroughly enjoying being bathed. This simple spectacle takes place in the river that runs through our town. The buffalo, their heads just visible above the water, relax in a state of bliss as their human attendant scrubs and rinses them each thoroughly, hopping from back to back until he has pampered them all.
Something else which lightens up my day is witnessing groups of buffalo loping by, all with henna-coloured hair! Yes, bright oranges and reds between their horns – just for fun of course.
But the sight which made me think to write this post, was that of a small boy (weight: 30kg) who couldn’t have been more than 6 years-old driving a very large buffalo (weight: 800kg+) across the street. In order to do this he was using his stick enthusiastically on the buffalo’s large behind.
No African buffalo would ever put up with such treatment! But this placid soul continued to stroll leisurely along, seemingly without a care in the world.
Pakistan can be a perplexing place, filled at times with anger and hate – unfortunately this is too true of most other places as well. But in the midst of this, we might take a lesson from a peaceful buffalo, and not let the little things get to us.
So, perhaps I can suggest that a luxuriating bath, a new dye job or a gentle walk, can all be ways to leave the frustrations of life behind for a while.
Have an Asian buffalo day!