You edge past him nervously on the road or make a detour, fearful about a sudden dash he can make towards you. But he stands there, benign and cool, perhaps thinking about what to eat for the day or where to find a new girlfriend. Be careful still – this calm might be quite deceptive.
Within a moment, he may just be doing what you feared the most and you will have no option but to run for cover. ‘Take the bull by the horn’ may be the best way to deal with beastly issues in your life but not with the beast itself. You cannot even touch his tail, let alone hold him by his horn.
His ego is as big as mountains. He would still stand there like a malfunctioning car, bringing the traffic to a complete halt. Then as if he is magnanimous enough, he would move a bit, giving the passersby and the stranded passengers a narrow passage for making a move. It might take quite some time before he relents and clears the way.
By that time, the passersby would be restless, and buses and cars might be honking their horns to express their displeasures. But to ruffle him would be risky because if he runs amok, no one knows who might be gored and who among the crowd might be injured while trying to flee.
A bull is a bohemian in lifestyle and the way he leads his life could be the envy of even an artist. His close relatives are toiling hard in the fields, but he would eat the produce as a freeloader once the crops are ready or barge into the vegetable market and feast on nutritious food. he had no contribution in making. Thus, he would make a strong build for himself, which his brothers and sisters can only dream of but never have in reality.
He would loaf about markets, streets or lounge in a temple complex like footloose teenagers. While the teenagers themselves would do so up to a certain age and eventually settle down and live a life of responsibility, bulls could afford to remain carefree and have romantic relationship all throughout their lives.
I had a tryst with a bull in my childhood. We grew potatoes in the agricultural fields near our home. A bull would come regularly to eat the plants and potatoes that were still growing under the soil. Those should be quite tasty, or else why would he visit the place every day? One day, I called my friends and together we chased the bull away through agricultural fields by throwing the dry balls of soil that would be plentiful in the fields in the summer. As those dry balls crashed on his back, he ran. Once or twice he turned back, grunted, pawed at the ground and charged at us.
But that was to scare us momentarily. He would eventually go away and we would come back home, victorious. But he would return the next morning to devour our crops! Again we chased him and this continued for a few days until the bull stopped coming. Making a bull run is quite an act of bravery, I, as a 16-years old, thought then, and I patted myself on the back for it.
Their symbolic presence in the stock market is one of strength and aggression. Bulls constantly fight with bears and when they take control, stocks rally and people make money. In Hindu religion, the bull, Nandi, is the vehicle of Lord Shiva. The statues of bulls are installed in temples where they are worshipped.
There are bahubalis (strongman) among politicians who have a strong influence in their localities and make their presence felt by intimidating people around them. But ultimately, they are brought to justice and often serve terms in jails. On the other hands, bulls generally do not trouble you unless you trouble them.
Their occasional aggression is perhaps to remind you, ‘Don’t mess up with me. My horns are enough to toss you up like toys and shake your whole make-up.’ Their mere presence sends shivers down your spine and you keep distance. They build a strong physique and live lives on their own terms. They are the real bahubalis of India.