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Saturday, May 7, 2011

BEING BULL


Since my birthday this week, I’ve been holed up at home, nursing two relentlessly bleeding eyes.

With not much too do except dlieo comatose and ruminate on life, I’ve been checking Facebook on my cellphone and discovered that there is an alarmingly large population of bovine people out there, including many of us gorgeous heifers from the St Mary’s batch of ’92. So I switch off mobile, lie down again and chew on what it means to be the biggest of the horned ones.

Ever since I first read Linda Goodman’s beloved tome of psychoanalysis via stars - and discovered what it meant to be a May-born - I was mighty pissed.

I didn’t want to be a bull. I wasn’t born to be a bull. Sure, I was a tad indolent and vulnerable to pleasures of the skin and stomach. But did I see self as a creature defined by Ms Goodman as “salt of the earth”? Did I envision myself a future as Domestic Venus Goddess, excelling in folding bedsheets, taking scented baths, laying award-winning dinner tables, whipping up large batches of sex, reserving my free time for fixing lightbulbs, chairing community centre meetings and helping my man with his taxes?

Gaah!

I’ve never cultivated close Taurus friends. I still don’t. Not even one. Amongst women, I’ve inevitably befriended the most Amazing Aquarians, occasionally an empathetic Cancerian - affording the world’s most superb shoulder to whine on. Just a few months back, I’ve struck- what seems to be showing signs of legend - friendship with a Lioness. Amongst men, I’m karmically drawn to scorpions and goats, straying for sporadic dalliances with a Lovely Libran or Artful Archer.

Here’s my lifelong tussle with being Taurus. I have no problem with rooted sensuality and fierce stubbornness. What I’ve always deeply balked at is the Bull’s reputation for being un-cerebral and stodgy. Earthy is just code word for stupid. All the chap does is hang around the meadow and graze. At his ballsiest, the Bull goes berserk in Spain and charges upon men in tight pants like a misspent force of force. Neither of this suggests any serious sort of revolutionary spirit. Meanwhile the Scorpion is ripping souls with a mere slant of his eyes, the Virgo is bringing clarity and cleanliness to the world, the Goat is skipping up all mountains that dare fall in his path, the Archer is darting arrows into hackneyed conventions and the Fish is swimming his way to coke-fuelled nirvana.

You see, all the other animals and mythical creatures are doing something. My Bull no doing nothing. My Bull no going nowhere. My Bull, only Shaggable Piggybank.

Somewhere still in my teens, I tore into an astrologer and demanded to know the starry secrets to my brainy virtues. He sprinted through my horoscope and announced that I had a fiery Aries (Mars, yeah!) ascendant and naughty Gemini (Mercury, yeah!) moon. That explained how clever I was, thank you. He went on to blabber about a large gathering of planets in my first house and an exalted Sun, all of which I conveniently interpreted as explanation of my un-bullish awesomeness.

A few years ago, one esoterically-inclined friend from the Osho Commune in Pune sent me an online link that espoused an interesting theory. The sign of Taurus, it said, was erroneously owned by planet Venus, that decadent star of all bodily pleasures. In actuality, the owner of Taurus was a new planet, the name of which I …ahem…teehee… tend to forget. In any case, the thrust of the thing was Taurus, being the twelfth sign (not the Mad Fish), was a consummation of all the signs that preceded it. This had severe philosophical connotations. This was the complete anti of the sensual Venusian burden that Taurus carries. The other-worldly qualities of Taurus, the article said, echoed the principles of Zorba – The Buddha.

Buddha was Taurus? Score! Right up in the hyper-cool section, next to William Shakespeare and Adolf Hitler.

The article made fascinating interpretations of Taurus’ materialistic leanings. This was the sign – the article said – that was born knowing what it meant to live in the moment. The Bull wasn’t a stodgy, stuck-in-the-mud traditionalist. Much ego-massaging followed. I was happy. But ironically, I hadn’t yet got sensory evidence of the essence of Taurus. We bull people need tangible proof.

Everything changed in the monsoon of 2009. I was driving my mother in a battered little car on a mud-sloshed semi-rural road between Pune and Satara. It was 4 pm in the afternoon; a drizzle was building up. I was struggling to get the car tyres moving on the slippery narrow road. All of a sudden, a vision appeared on the horizon and our jaws – literally – dropped. At the end of a sturdy rope held by a man, was the largest, most magnificent Taurus I’ve ever seen.

He was one of those prize bulls, the ones that farmers rear exclusively for hawking proudly at cattle markets. He must have been at least 250 kgs, powerful muscles rippling softly under a perfectly-toned fawn skin. He flashed a pair of immaculately curved, 2-foot horns, the kind of weapons-of-wild-destruction that could easily pull out your guts if they as much as tickled you. His eyes were a bright brown and – I amplify not - I could feel the lushness of his long curvy eyelashes even from inside the foggy windows of the car. I hadn’t ever imagined a bull would arouse so much awe in me, a feeling I reserve for big cats and elephants.

He stood tall, graceful, poised. But it wasn’t his beauty that had us slack-jawed. It was the enormous strength of the creature, so admirably controlled. He could afford to be in a rage, being dragged by a silly rope held by a pint-sized man, under irritating rain. They were possibly off to Pune; it would take a while before they got there. But he was so stoic. His posture and eyes displayed neither frustration, nor boredom. Yes, he was rooted to the earth, like he’d sprung from it. But no, he wasn’t stupid and dull and angry. He was just there; utterly finite in that moment. He wasn’t going to bring about the Revolution. He was the Revolution. He was the Buddha.

That fine afternoon, I made my peace with being bull.


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