An Omen for the New Year
Traveling along the desolate Indian road, night enveloped all I could see with a blanket the shade of pitch. My headlights, feverishly attempting to penetrate the foggy embankment that had slithered in, only secured 3, maybe 4 feet ahead of me to view. The ominous tone played a melody that sent chills through my body and heightened my senses.
The passage home narrowed as I hurriedly made my way. I rubbed my eyes in an attempt to see more clearly, in the distance, peering back at me, I thought I saw two red eyes. I rubbed my eyes again, for surely this could not be true. As I refocused, there it was… (enter ominous music here) a creature straight from the bowels of hell erupted from the surrounding darkness barreling straight for our team’s vehicle.
The massive dark blue-grey animal had the head of a deer, horns and mane of a goat, body of a horse, and eyes of a demon. It was a powerful and ghastly sight and resembled only the creatures from my worst nightmares as it thundered down on the car.
With a rush of adrenaline and fear for our lives, I swerved, barely grazing the unholy terror. My mind riddled with the events that could follow next. Would he hunt me down? Would I see him again? For certain he would haunt my dreams for years to come. I did not stop. I did not look back. With speed and determination, I continued through the unhallowed night, bringing my team to safety.
Truth be known, there wasn’t any fog and it is possible we were traveling a little fast on the way to Udaipur; and well, the creature wasn’t from the bowels of hell, it was a nilgai, commonly referred to as the “blue bull”. Although aptly described (minus the demonic eyes), the blue bull is closer in relation to an antelope but because of its association in Hindu culture with the venerated cow, it has been considered sacred for centuries. As an unfortunate side-effect, the reverential status of the nilgai has led to an overpopulation of the species in many northern provinces. In fact, the province of Bihar has officially declared the nilgai vermin due to its untamable tendency to raid and pillage crops. Basically, for us in the west, it would be comparable to an uncontrolled deer population from Hades.
Going forward into 2017, the lesson we should all take away from this narrow escape is to watch out for blue bulls on highways at night – or to avoid driving down unlit narrow roadways after dark – your pick.
Here’s to your New Year being nilgai-less… or at the very least, a wonderful new beginning.
Thanks to Pradeep, Sanjay Malik, Ramneek and Neeraj for sharing your encounter with the nilgai, and for graciously allowing us to add a few colorful embellishments to the story. Happy New Year from the entire Litéra team worldwide!
A collective creative writing from the Litéra Marketing Team.