Vibrant flowers adorn the neck of a cow, and a bright yellow and green rope is draped over her muzzle. Doe eyes blink at the gathered crowd, and the smoke from a diya tickle soft ears. A child cautiously pets her flank as adults perform a puja before the cattle, a sight that is normal in the city on the third day of Pongal — Mattu Pongal. Her horns are painted orange, white and green.
The third day of Pongal is reserved to respect the cattle for all their help, but no one knows this better than the Chennai-based farmers who rely on the cattle for their crop.
land in Kizhar Kollai, a village near Kuvathur in ECR, around 80 km from Zero Madras, with the intention of setting up a self-sustainable forest. He introduced a Kankrej bull and calf in 2014, to help him produce manure to cultivate the land. This native breed, known for helping with farm work and milk production, originated from the Rann of Kutch in Gujarat. Hussain now has 19 bulls and cows on his farm.