It was 4am and we were rattling down the deserted, dry and dusty roads of Jodhpur in an old, worn-out rickshaw. Our driver spoke little English and we had just bargained a price for the ride to the train station before settling down into the seats which comprised of two wedges of yellow foam.
The city was unusually quiet at that moment and the normally ambulatory cows were all lying by the side of the road when the driver pulled up abruptly, next to a group of them. From under his shawl, our driver produced a ceramic plate, piled high with chapattis. He hopped out of the vehicle and went from cow to cow, stopping to stuff a small stack into wide and eagerly anticipating mouths. The driver stepped back when done, intoned a little prayer, and climbed back into the rickshaw.
It was a nice reminder of just how entwined the Indian culture is with the autonomous cow, and how much respect and care they can offer to what at the best of time appears to be a nuisance.