Sandeep Kumar Rana, an established writer having penned films of repute like Yaad Rakhenge Aap (2005) – a Limca Book of Records listed film and Auzaar (2016) that’s screened at the prestigious Third Eye Asian Film Festival, has dedicated his debut book – The Hungry Cow – to his English teacher, Mrs. Kamini Soni. She taught him from class VI to VIII, using special initiatives like class library, a newspaper in education, and story writing. Her classes were full of interactive sessions and homework checking. As a result of this solid foundation in English, Sandeep went on to study English Literature and later worked for The Times of India.
The Hungry Cow’s story revolves around eleven-year-old Raju who aspires to become a veterinary doctor because in every cow he sees his Gaura maan – the cow his father Gopala has reared. When he sees any cow limping/bleeding, he feels that it is Gaura maan who is hurt, so he aspires to treat them all. Alas, the good work has to begin early and at home.
As Gaura maan begins to yield less milk, Gopala maltreats her, like no feed, no vaccines. Gaura maan’s condition worsens when she feeds herself from stinking garbage bins. Raju discusses her plight with his friend Qasim and decides to transport her to a cowshed. But that’s easier said than done. Gopala doesn’t allow this transport, Qasim can’t help him being Qasim, Gaura maan refuses to leave him and he himself gets cold feet realizing that separation from his Gaura maan is imminent!
Eminent theater teacher, Barry John, has blessed the book and author Sandeep by writing a foreword. He writes “It’s a relief to enter a world that is not full of rape, murder, drugs, and violence. It’s a delightful read with a clear-cut set of characters that includes thinking, feeling, talking cows. I love the way Sandeep begins the story simply and grows it in meaning and importance. The central issues around the cow as a mother but also as a neglected, abused and starved symbol of animosity between the two main communities, one of which eats beef, are real, contemporary and serious. The Hungry Cow is extremely relevant and deserves to be read widely.”