The Buffaloes

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Written by: Hafsa Bint Yar Muhammad Nizamani

Whenever I visited my maternal grandmother, she always instructed me
to be cautious of buffaloes in the streets. "Hina beti, be careful of the buffaloes. Never come here alone or with little children. I afraid that the buffaloes might harm you," she used to tell me. But I never paid any heed to her. I said, “Yes, nani I will,” only to pacify her. ‘She is a timid old lady and that is why she is scared of the creatures otherwise what can the buffaloes do to me?’ I said to myself.
"Beti, recite such and such dua when you see donkeys on the roads and such and such du’a when you see dogs in the streets and you won’t come to any harm,” she would tell me. “If you see the buffaloes even from far away stop walking. Try to find some shelter because these buffaloes are very dangerous. They attack women wearing black abayas."
Even then I wasn’t afraid of the black beasts. I did not pay any heed to my maternal grandmother's instructions.
It is said, "Experience is the best teacher." It so happened that one day I got late coming back from my grandmother's home. As soon as I put on my abaya, my grandmother began to instruct me as usual. What happened next taught me well what my grandmother could not teach me.
After leaving my grandmother's home, my son and I had hardly walked a few yards when we saw a herd of buffaloes coming towards us. My little son got frightened and said, "Mother, the… the buffaloes are coming." "Let them come,” I said. “They are coming on their side of the road, we are walking on our side." I continued on my way, unafraid.
When we came near the buffaloes the herdsman shouted, "Run! Run! These buffaloes will attack you." And then one of the buffaloes started running towards us. I didn’t know what to do. I had a six-month old daughter in my arms, my six-year old son was in front me how could I run? I held my daughter tightly, gripped my son's hand and started walking as fast as I could. We entered the nearest house and stood inside the door to escape the buffaloes. It was a mud-plastered house, usually found in our villages, with a big courtyard. We didn’t go near the rooms on the far side as we were just waiting for the herd to pass but then we saw that the buffaloes were coming straight towards us. We started shouting, "Help, help." As soon as the women of the house heard our cries, they came running towards us. They welcomed us with warm smiles and seeing our plight, they understood everything. One of them quickly brought water for us. They offered us a charpoy to sit on. One of them said, "Sister, these are our buffaloes. They do not attack anybody. Maybe they were chasing you because you are wearing black.” Those kind women served us cold lassi and saw us off. This was a poor man’s house. The inmates of the house were also very poor. But even though they were poor, they gave us a lot of respect.
After that incident, I fear the buffaloes. I am always very cautious when I see them even from far away. I remember my grandmother’s advice and keep as far away from them as I possibly can.