The Appeal of a Little Goat Kid

Manipura

The Solar Plexus Chakra

One day when I was a boy of about fourteen years of age my mother gave me a job to do. I had to go into the town and purchase some meat. The problem was it would all be on the hoof, live poultry, live sheep and goats. I had to come back with a leg of either sheep or goat. I had been to market before with Mother and had watched her select an animal. It would then be slaughtered and people would draw lots for the various parts of the carcass, or if they were determined to purchase a particular cut they would have to pay over the odds for it. You had to get to market very early in the morning to accomplish this task, as meat became rank and foul very quickly in the heat of the day. It had to be killed, butchered and brought home to keep it cool in a very short space of time, or it would start to smell horrible. We had a special basket for carrying meat. We would line it with fine grass to absorb the blood and after the purchase was brought home the grass would be burnt.

So off I went to market in some trepidation. I never liked to look into the eyes of the animals that my mother chose to be killed and I certainly did not want to look into the eyes of the animal on whose fate I was to decide! Many people including my father were vegetarian, but the rest of my family were not and, indeed, I have to say that I did enjoy the taste of meat, but on this day I began to consider becoming a vegetarian.

When I arrived at market there were only two animals to be seen. One was an old ewe, the other a beautiful little kid goat. I knew my family would not appreciate any of the meat from the mangy sheep. My eyes travelled over the little goat who was standing with its back towards me. I was hoping it would not look at me as I decided its fate. The stallholder could read my mind. He knew that he could persuade me not just to take part of the animal, but to take the whole kid, live, and pay for it, if he made the right moves. It was his will against mine. He was determined to get me to take a good look at the little animal and I was determined not to. He even picked it up and held it in his arms and stroked its little head.

‘Look at him,” said he. “He can’t be any more than six weeks old. Why don’t you take him home and, if they don’t want to slaughter him, you can keep him as a pet. He’ll eat anything. Mind your shoes. He’ll eat them!”

I had still managed to avoid looking at the kid’s face, I kept looking over the shoulder of the butcher and sideways at the other stalls. I knew that if the goat caught my eye, that would be that.
“I want a leg,” said I, “Better make it two, since he’s so small.”
“Which legs?“ said he.
And as I looked down to show him, the kid raised his head and bleated plaintively and I saw his beautiful eyes and his lovely face.

“I’ll take all of them,” I said. “Have you got any rope?” The old man winked and tied a length of rope around his neck. I handed over the sum required and we walked home, the goat and I, the redundant meat basket over my arm. My little sister met us as we neared the house. She was delighted with him and named him straight away. He was to be called Babu. My mother guessed what had happened immediately. She threw up her hands in feigned anger.

“Ramu, I see you don’t have the stomach for being the executioner. Never mind, there’s plenty of dahl in the sack. Lentils tonight it will be. Maybe your father’s brother will take Babu. He’s certainly very pretty. He would make a good mate for their little goat.”
Babu did indeed become a beautiful billy goat. I became a vegetarian. My courage and will power had deserted me on that occasion and I decided never to put myself in such a position again. If I was not prepared to eat meat, I could not be asked to be a party to its slaughter. My family understood my situation and never again told me to go to market on such an errand.