The Solitary Buffalo on the Dutch Plain




It was raining heavily. My first view of the ancient houses in a quaint little village in Netherlands was through the window of the tram, all wet and hazy with rain drops. That trip was a momentous one in many ways. It was my one of my first trips to a foreign location. It was the first time I tried my hand at photography. It was the first time I got to see a real live red light area with windows lined along the street and women beckoning the passersby with lewd gestures from within. And most of all it was the first time the thought of writing ever entered my head.

I had 3 companions with me on the trip, a couple and another stag like me. The couple often wanted time off by themselves as all couples always want. That left me and this other fellow to have lengthy discussion on various topics, very often venturing into philosophy and the abstract. Listening to me talk on various issues, he suddenly came up with the suggestion that I should try a hand at writing. I had never thought of it till then. He said he dreamed of being a film producer and he has a friend who dreams of being a film director. So he said why not I don the hat of the script writer and the three of us make a film together. I am the kind of guy who gets easily excited by ideas without going deep into the feasibility aspect. So I began to seriously give a thought to what I wanted to write.

Obviously it had to be a novel. I like reading novels best. What would the theme be? I remembered a discussion with another friend a year back, another wild flight of fantasy. That day he had read about a person who had travelled around the world hitch hiking and doing odd jobs on the way without any initial capital to start with. We had speculated how it would be if we could do something like that. We could run away from home, take a train to Cochin. Find jobs on a ship that will pay for your passage to Jeddah. From Jeddah, enter Yemen and then Turkey and then get into continental Europe. Keep moving from place to place, earning your keep along the way and complete a trip around the world. Of course we never really attempted that. But that seemed like an interesting theme for a story. Three software engineers bored with their job decide to break out of the vicious loop and run away on a world tour. The adventures they can have on the way, the interesting lands they see, the interesting people. And the conversations they have. That would give a lot of room for philosophy, humor and random musings. Some kind of a three men in a boat!

The next issue was what would be the title. After all, title is an important part of a story, eh? It had to be appealing and jazzy. It had to have some philosophical significance. And it should be inspired, not something boring like 'Robot'. Probably I should have named it '3 Idiots'. If I had done that I could have at least demanded money from Raju Hirani for stealing the title of my story. But then I looked around for inspiration. I could see a huge green field with an elevated region in the middle. Right at the middle of the elevation stood a lone bovine grazing calmly. I could not make out what kind of a bovine exactly at that distance though. I raked my brain for the title and Presto! Here was the title ‘The solitary Buffalo on the Dutch Plain

The story was ready. The title was ready. Now the two had to be connected. I tried to think what all the title could possibly mean. I had wanted to use the word solitary because I had read the poem ‘The Solitary Reaper’ by William Wordsworth and wanted my title to sound like that. Maybe the theme of the poem could give me some clues. I could write about the buffalo grazing and mooing by herself and her mooing filling the plain with its profound sound. I chose buffalo rather than cow or bull as buffalos catch attention much more easily. Monkey, donkey, buffalo and pig are four animals that hold your fascination from childhood that make you laugh by their very mention. Had to figure out though how the buffalo would fit in with the story I had in mind though. Maybe I could assign some metaphoric significance to the buffalo. I could use the buffalo to portray the change in mental state of the protagonist. The buffalo could probably be elevated to a pedestal like Jonathan Livingston Seagull. All buffalos were wallowing in their own dung while one buffalo chose to graze at the top of the plain. Bring in an analogy to all software engineers wallowing in their own code while one software engineer decided to break free and take on life in his own terms. Maybe to make it realistic, I could portray the buffalo appearing in one of the protagonist’s dreams and sharing words of wisdom. The possibilities were endless.

By the time the trip ended the buffalo had captured my imagination. I was ready to even drop the theme but not the title. But how much ever I tried the story would never take off. I got to write my first piece only 4 years later and my first story 5 years later. But neither of them had any Dutch or Buffalo connection. Today 6 years have passed. The solitary buffalo on the Dutch plain still waits patiently for me to tell her tale. Maybe if one were to peer deep into the picture, one could make out her silhouette far away in the plains, looking at you with a melancholy expression. I still have not found her story but at least I can write a post dedicated to my muse- the one who sowed the first thoughts of writing into my head.

This post is not a story, not a poem, not an article. Then what is this? That is probably as much a mystery as what a buffalo was doing alone on the top of Dutch plain. But let is remain a mystery safe from our dear politicians. Else we will have one politician demanding that we send out MIG-29s to Netherlands to bring the buffalo home. Another would come up with a 1000 Crore scheme for providing fodder to the buffalo. A third would protest against the injustice of considering only cows holy. A fourth would try to get the Dutch plain alloted to his son and a fifth would be interested to know if Netherlands provides a safe tax haven. But then let politicians 'lie'. Let us conclude with a tribute to the ‘Solitary Buffalo on the Dutch Plain.”

Related Post: First Plunge into Chilly Waters

Credits

Image - Window Rain Drops by Eric Alder
Courtesy - http://deviantart.com/ via http://www.blogaton.in/

35 comments:

Sadiya Merchant said...

hehe nice.
fr some strange reason ur buffalo reminded me of kaala bandar from delhi 6.
tell u wat- watch dat movie man!
ull b inspired over n above normal levels not knowin wat to do wid d excess :o
mayb even send d buffalo in a parachute n create a personalised, customised record. tadaaa! :-)

The Fool said...

Thanks, Sadiya. I have seen Delhi 6. Ha ha ha - The Kala Bandar. Your giving me nice ideas. Maybe the day is not far way before the buffalo's story will get told.

Fatima said...

hmm...nice in fact it was humorous somewhere, but we do harbor dreams and all that are just a part of fantasy !

The opening lines were awesome..could connect a lot to the pic :)

Take Care.

adreamygal said...

I liked it , because you had penned down what most of the budding writers /novelists wont - sharing their idea ! And I am actually wondering if just a gist of your novel has made me smile , I am wondering what will be my reaction when i find a novel by that title in bookstores in future ! I hope the buffalo gets the recognition soon ! :)

Shilpa Nair said...

The software analogy was funny as was the statement abt the 4 animals :) I would definitely buy a book titles 'Solitary buffalo' but not before imagining the writer to resemble the animal in question....hahahaha...... :) :)

Someone is Special said...

TF, I remember your comment on my post, "I write for my brain and you from your heart", Hmm, I see your hearts reflection here..

and I am sure you will deliver the novel soon...

The title was awesome, Glad you too inspired by the poem, "The Solitary Reaper" by my hero..

I am looking forward for to read it dude... and I know how terrible is a Software Engineer Life..

Hmm Good luck for BAT and thanks for your boosting comment on my BAT post...

I hope this post makes you a Veteran of BAT..

Someone is Special

neelanjana said...

I read this post three times over, and I still don't know why I like it so much.
There are n number of things we look at everyday, but seldom to we actually 'see' them. And then suddenly, one arbit moment changes everything. Suddenly everything has a story. All stories are linked. There's nothing that's not fascinating.Yes, that happens.

Chetan said...

good one..
a fair connection with pic,

writeen well

Siddhesh 'Ravan' Kabe said...

:)

The Fool said...

Thanks a lot, Fatima, adreamygirl, Shilpa, SIS,neelanjana, Chetan and Ravan.

@ adreamygirl - You words do give the poor buffalo some hope. Hope it sees the light of day.

@Shilpa - Whatever you imagine, I would be glad as long as you a purchase my novel if and when I write one.

The Fool said...

@SIS - Yeah. True. This is something real and it was what really my first ever inspiration to write. Words come from the head but inspiration always come from the heart. And yeah, I have become a veteran. I need to inform Vipul, I guess.

@neelanjana - Glad you liked it so much. Really appreciate your continued support for my writing. A writer needs to know someone needs to know at least someone really enjoyed what he/she writes

Hafsah said...

lol u just made the buffalo stand there for 6 years without doing any justice to it :P write the novel already, before the buffalo starts haunting you :D n i will make sure i read it :)

very interesting post :)

Leo said...

Preview of The Fool's novel? :) The buffalo's recognition is not far off. I think so anyways! :D And the narration was quite captivating as always, TF!

:)


My Blogaton Entry

The Fool said...

Thanks Leo and Hafsah. Not sure if I will really end up writing this novel or not.

kris.c said...

Hey!!! Good news, with some adjustments made i am able to read your blog through my mobile:)
Thoroughly enjoyed this post. Read it twice actually:-)Humor is so beautifully embedded throughout the post and I could relate to the post because even my imagination takes strides without giving much thought to the feasiblity aspect. And i also find good humor in the 4 animals you mentioned:) Thats why i still love the mentos ad with the donkey:)
Well! Here's a sincere prayer that, hope I get to read your personally autographed, novel at the soonest:-)

kris.c said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Someone is Special said...

Welcome to Veteran list.. I just tagged you and Vipul in FaceBook.. I hope he take care of the rest..

Someone is Special

The Fool said...

Thanks a lot, Shweta. (I believe it is you posting from my BIL's id)Good you are able to read it. I was thinking of changing the template but none of the simple or awesome templates which are more mobile friendly seemed as good as this.

The Fool said...

Thanks a lot, SIS. Glad to join the club. I was very particular to pariticipate this type to join the hall of veteran. That was another reason I chose something biographical rather than an usual story or poem..

Golden Vulture said...

The Idea of going on a trip around the world without any money is very fascinating :) I would surely do something like that ;) .. nice post ! :) .. but there were 3 guys right .. so how can there be a solitary buffalo ?:P there must me 3 buffaloes :P

My Blog a Ton Entry

The Fool said...

@Golden vulture - Thanks. There were 3 guys in 3 idiots, na. But still only Aamir Khan got Kareena, right. Same way only one will get the buffalo here.

Enchanta said...

A very unique take to the picture that makes absolute sense.
I liked it as an account!

All the best!

The Fool said...

Thanks, Enchanta.

Arti said...

Beautifully narrated...Humorous in parts yet I could feel the underlying emotions too! I am sure one day we will have a novel printed by the name The Solitary Buffalo on a Dutch Plain autographed by The Fool himself :)))

The Fool said...

Thanks a lot, Arti. I do hope I really manage to write it some time.

trisha said...

the title is really tempting.

i usually write first and then fret about the title. :)

sajeevkmenon said...

Reminds me of my stay in Netherlands for 3 months. I lived at Vinkeveen and enjoyed it there:). Nice post!

The Fool said...

Thanks Sajeev

shail said...

This is only the beginning TF. The solitary buffalo is waiting patiently. You will yet write a book dedicated to her, of which I am sure! :)
Loved reading this. Had an easy flow, subtle humor and more :)

The Fool said...

Thanks, Shail. We have to wait and watch if I manage to eventually write this one

Soham Roy said...

Stags travelling alone to onsite locations is usually boring...bt then ofcourse u gt time to think nd reflect...somethng u dnt gt here at home....aloo , tamatar , nana , nani , chintu , bunti , auto , bus.........phew!!

Rachna said...

This is such an interesting tale and the name is so interesting as well! Is writing a published book really the highest aspiration for every writer? And I love Netherlands. It is just so beautiful!

The Fool said...

Thanks Rachna. Glad you liked it. Answer to your question - I do not know. But that is what all my fellow writers have be believe and I have found no reason to suppose otherwise.

The Fool said...

Actually it is not boring, Soham.

Pankti Mehta said...

Lol...what a thought process. I loved reading through it :)

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