The Buffalo that explored his Wild Side

Today, the life of a water buffalo living in the city is mundane. All they do is eat, walk about, cause traffic jams, wallow in gutters, then eat some more.

If these buffaloes were to catch up for a cup of tea, the general gossip would revolve around topics like ‘near death experiences with big old trucks and zippy two wheelers’ or ‘sad plastic-flavoured diet’. We humans have domesticated the water buffalo to work for us. We’ve used them to carry loads that were too heavy for us to carry and to plough our fields. We’ve also been drinking its milk, eating its meat and wearing its leather for over a thousand years now!

So, what happens when a buffalo decides to run away from all this madness and abuse? Well, here’s a picture of the one that ran away! We’ll call him the Big Maddu for now.

Plastic-free, noise- free home with no human rules for Big Maddu.

Photo credit: Sairam Sagiraju

The picture might not be that great but it will give you an idea of what home looks like for Big Maddu now. Fresh, green grass all around him to eat at leisure, with wild jamun trees to tickle his taste buds… it gets better! He is sometimes spotted grazing among elephants; like a celebrity surrounded by big bouncers!

Big Maddu has a bad reputation around the Galibore Nature Camp. There are many stories of forest guards and staff who needed immediate medical attention thanks to the not-so-pleasant meetings with him.

I had the honour of meeting Big Maddu personally, at 11:30 one night! It was a heart pounding four seconds! Heavy breathing and sporadic snorting was what we heard, and before our brains could put two and two together, we heard something charge. Instinct took over, and, with blood rushing, we took to our heels. The genius inside however didn’t realize that we were running towards the noise! Some people faint when they experience sudden fear, but we just froze in shock. So did the Big Maddu, after giving us the look which meant ‘if you talk about this to anyone you will be harmed’. His dark frame disappeared into the night leaving us to control our racing heartbeats. This was just one who ran away from his masters of domestication.

Before I end, I would like to introduce to you the real wild buffalo. India is among the few countries in the world that can boast of having the Asiatic Buffalo; a wild species still found in forests around Kaziranga, with a reputation worse than Big Maddu’s!