Forty three-year-old Abdul Mannan from Kolkata, West Bengal started Sunday morning like every other day. He walked to the local market at Masjid Bari Lane in Tiljala to buy fresh vegetables and other essentials for his family.
At around 8am, as he was checking out cucumbers at a roadside shop, however, his day took a turn for the worse. From the skies above, something heavy fell on him, causing him to collapse on the road.
Injured and fast losing consciousness, Mannan still managed to catch a glimpse of what hit him: an 85kg calf.
Locals and bystanders quickly whisked him off to a private nursing home, from where he was later shifted to a public hospital.
The cow, a six-month-old, which had dropped some 70ft, unfortunately died on the spot. Though Mannan survived, he now has a fracture on his left leg, cracks in a rib and wounds on the back of his head, as well as multiple injuries all over his body that required as many as 18 stitches.
Much as it looked like it was raining cows, the reality was simple enough to explain. For the past week, the calf had been kept captive on the terrace of a nearby four-storey building by one of the building’s tenants.
[caption id="attachment_3690" align="aligncenter" width="800"] A cow attempting to break free of the shackles of Qurbani tradition
Latif Hossain/Dhaka Tribune[/caption]
Locals explained that the cow had torn the rope it was tied with, jumped over a 3ft wall and had fallen directly on top of Mannan.
According to Times of India, one of the neighbours who lives opposite to 15G Masjid Bari Lane said: "After it [the cow] was bathed on Sunday, it grew restless and ran around the terrace before the rope around its neck tore off and the animal plunged from the terrace.”
Subsequently, Anjum Alam, the owner of 15G Masjid Bari Lane, confirmed these facts to Mannan’s family.
“It is unfortunate that Mannan was standing right where the calf fell,” Anjum Alam told BBC Bangla, adding: “The tenant, Md Alam, left two months ago. Possibly, he still has the keys to the terrace and that is how he smuggled the calf into the building without our knowledge. We are trying to track him down.”
Speaking to BBC Bangla, Mannan’s wife Sima Begum said: “Unfortunate as it is, I guess this was what was in his destiny.”
“I cannot believe my husband was almost killed by a cow falling from the sky. I thank God he is alive,” she said to the Times of India.
Mannan is the sole breadwinner of his seven-member family. He sells peanuts and sprout mixtures outside schools. Since the doctors’ primary suggestion is that he should not work for at least the next seven days, things are looking bad for his family.
However, lucky for them, Anjum Alam, the landlord, has decided to bear the cost of Mannan's treatments.
According to locals, several residents in the Tiljala and Kushtia area keep cattle on the terrace.
Cowsheds, locally popularly known as khatals, were declared illegal in the area in the 1980s.
Despite the ban, several khatals and khatal-like clusters still exist in several parts of the city, including Tiljala, according to the Times of India.