Thursday, August 11, 2011

Straight from the horse's mouth

I’ve realised that city slickers are the real country brutes. We can’t tell a jackass from a jennett (female donkey). We wonder why cowboys don’t ride cows. We’re in a state of shock without electricity. We are tongue tied when we have to speak in the native language. We are like the proverbial frog-in-the-well hopping between office and home. Our daily vocabulary has 100 humble words. Our offline social circle consists of 5 friends, 6 relatives and 7 acquaintances. And whatever we know is just a regurgitation of whatever Google throws up.

How exactly did I figure this out? It all dawned upon me when I decided to pen a piece on horses. Two sentences into the article, I discerned that I knew zilch about them.

Honestly, I didn’t know the difference between a Foal (baby horse), Yearling (1 to 2 year old), Colt (under 4), Filly (female colt), Stallion (non-castrated male horse above 4), Mare (female stallion) and Gelding (castrated male horse). I wasn’t even aware that Ponies are stronger, sturdier, stockier equines with a height of 58 inches or below. I had no clue that horses cannot vomit or the fact that they drink around 40 litres of water, daily.

Thankfully, not everyone is a hoofus doofus like me. There are still a lot of big-city big shots who fathom the value a horse brings to the table. Barons like MAM Ramaswamy and Vijay Mallya, jockey for power annually by racing their steeds in Derbies.

There are a few other corporate knights who saddle up by bestowing their brands with names of champion horses. Rahul Bajaj was the first in India to have the horse-sense to christen his scooter as ‘Chetak’ (Maharaja Rana Pratap’s legendary warhorse).

Rahul was, perhaps, inspired by Frank Mars, the creator of the Snickers candy bar which was named after the Mars family’s favourite racehorse. Frank’s innovative naming technique might have also prompted George Smith to call his stick candy Lollipop (the horse he used to bet on). In 1964, Ford cantered along the same path with Mustang. I wonder why dark horse brands aren’t deploying this strategy anymore.