Witness to a slaughter


London, Sept 2010It was my second year at BIT Mesra.

My friend was the hostel mess secretary (hostel #7). One of the secretary’s responsibilities was to accompany the hostel mess manager for the weekly groceries+produce shopping.

For one of those weekly trips, my friend couldn’t make it so I substituted for him.

Pretty uneventful stuff for the first few hours. Auto ride to the city market with Singh-ji (mess manager). Buying large quantities of vegetables and basically nodding yes to the negotiated prices. The final stop was at the butcher’s shop. If you are familiar with the area, the shop was on the approach road to BIT Mesra (soon after you turn from the highway).

A goat was the last item on the shopping list. (I don’t remember chickens being bought on the trip and, since chicken was definitely on the weekly menu, I reckon there was a separate delivery run for that)

Singh-ji knew I was a vegetarian. With an understanding smile he said, “aap baahar wait kar sakte hain.” (you can wait outside)

I refused.

It’s too long to recall exactly why I refused. It could have been a sense of duty/responsibility. Or, more likely, a morbid fascination to see an animal being slaughtered and see what it could do to my psyche.

There were several goats tied in the courtyard. They were probably bleating but I have no recollection of sound. My visual sense was on high alert for what I was about to witness soon.

Singh-ji didn’t take too much time to pick his goat.

(Shikha’s tweet this morning was the trigger for this post)

The chosen one was untied and brought to the center. The struggle to escape began in full earnest while the (temporary) survivors watched.

Three men – two restrained the goat while the third wielded the blade.

A quick slit to the neck was all it took to bring an end to the goat’s life.

The blood started gushing on the floor. The limbs thrashed around spasmodically.

The spasms reduced and my spell was broken.

My curiosity and morbid fascination had been quenched.

I walked back and sat in the back of the auto, waiting for Singh-ji to return.

I didn’t peer to see the state of the carcass as it was loaded at the back of the auto.

Was it skinned? Probably.

Was it cut? Probably not.

There was no idle chatter on the drive back to the hostel.


Questions to readers:

  • Have you witnessed  an animal being slaughtered?
  • If yes, how old were you? and did it have any impact on your psyche?

Do leave a comment if you are so inclined.



4 thoughts on “Witness to a slaughter

  1. Amit

    Hi Vishy,

    I was 7, me and my sister were in our village for summer vaccation. The smell of mangoes and litchies were all around the house. One hot day, we both were going to a near by relatives house for some ceremony. Just near the mango trees, we saw few people surrounding a goat. We rushed towards them in excitement. What followed was horrific, to say the least. One swift movement of the blade and the tan, dry sand turned red. I puked a lot that day, maybe because of the hot sun or maybe because how for our own happiness we could kill someone else. The smell of mangoes and litchies were replaced by the horrific sight. I am a vegan, not because of religion or family values, but because of what I saw that day.

    • vishy

      Thanks for sharing your vivid memory. ” I am a vegan, not because of religion or family values, but because of what I saw that day.” > Bravo!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *