This is the story of eight-year-old Rani, wedded to a farmer’s son. In those days, small girls were married off to a man much older than them. For it was believed that a man’s best partner would be a woman one-third of his age.

Unlike others, Rani’s in-laws were kind people and loved their daughter-in-law. Her only duty was to feed the cow which she loved doing. Spending a lot of time talking to the cow became her daily routine.

All was going well, until one morning when the little bride burped a bit loudly while in the shed and that made her feel too embarrassed, since back then, it was something profane for the lady of a house to make any type of sounds. So her natural instinct made her feel, what if the cow discloses it when she goes to the field.

She started petting her, “Please Gaumata, don’t reveal it to anybody when you go to the fields. You can understand, it was an unconstrained thing. If the people come to know about it, they will rebuke me.” But the poor cow, not aware of human dialect, kept nodding her head and this made the silly girl think that the cow is in disagreement with her. She went on crying and requesting her, “Please dear, save my dignity”.

Meanwhile, her mother-in-law appeared and anxiously asked, “What happened dear? Why are you crying?”

With utter unease, wiping her tears with the corner of her aanchal, she related, “Mataji, it’s that loud belching sound that I could not control, and now I am terrified that this cow might pass it on to village people, so much of convincing is also not working.”

Her mother-in-law also became very concerned. “You have been caring her so much, still she doesn’t have any feeling for you.” Then turning to the cow she said, “Gaumata, our bride is too young and innocent, it’s up to you to save her modesty. At least, for our honour don’t reveal it to anybody.” And both went on patting the cow. But alas! All in vain, the more they patted, the more she nodded.

As the lady worriedly said, “It’s time for them to come back, we have to get out of here now,” the farmer and his son came searching and found them in a pool of tears. After hearing the whole story, they fell silent sinking deep into thought. Next morning, the village head, a dear friend of the farmer, was called in to discuss.

“Oh god! it will be a great shame for the young bride if the cow reveals the matter. By any means, we have to stop it,” very seriously told the octogenarian. “Come to the Sabha today evening, we have to take a call on this.”

The next morning, gongs were beaten in the village declaring, “The cow is a liar, our bride has not made any type of sound.”

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Kaberi Mukherjee
Kaberi Mukherjee currently working into teaching, has ventured in many fields as a professional, loves to read, write and spend time amidst nature. The vibrant daylight gives her the zeal to fight all odds and the soothing night sky gives her the passion to write her experiences.
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