A special report by the Myna Chronicler
June 5, 2011: Kanha National Park
It was a bright and sunny day at the Kanha National Park, Madhya Pradesh- venue of the National CattlEgret Treasure Hunt. The prestigious annual event that attracts hoards of visitors every year is a gruelling competition testing every skill of the Cattle and the Cattle Egrets.
The rules of the game are obscure and hardly understood by anyone outside the Cattle or the Cattle Egret circle. “It is essentially about hunting the treasure by a team of Cattle-Cattle Egret. The Egret finds the clues and passes on the message subtly to the cattle who then finds the treasure or tries to find it” disclosed one enthusiastic egret.
In fact so obscure are the rules that the guest refree Peacock confessed to only be there to prevent any undue violence. “Otherwise I can hardly figure out what is going on until someone yells out that they have won at which point the game ends.”
Although most of the teams had been formed and decided before the event, there was also allowance for last minute registrants to pair up with a Gaur (Cattle) or an Egret. “This game takes a lot of skill and practice. A good team has had a lot of practice runs and has worked out all their non verbal clues to perfection so that the message is not leaked out to the competition. It is all about winning.” said the Egret from last year’s winning team Canhagrets. The team competed once again this year and was slated to be the favourite.
So much secrecy surrounds the game and the treasure that questions about the treasure itself drew answers like “The treasure is a treasure is a treasure is a treasure…..” and “The treasure is what you make it out to be..” and “Treasure!!!!!?????? Where????????”
The chronicler was not confident about the measures of control in place to monitor cheating. For example the winning team only has to announce that they have won to stop the game. There is actually no proof that any treasure was found. When the refree Peacock was approached with the question the only response that was received was a “Sqwak”.
Some young tearful Gaurs had to be turned away. “This is no competition for Children” said a celebrity Egret who had come to just witness the event.
The competition commenced at 10.00am and there was much hustling and bustling. Cattle and Cattle Egrets raced with one another to find and decipher clues and search for treasure.
Some of the participants who had “just registered for fun!” decided to take it easy in the middle of the game much to the annoyance of the hardcore participants who had to then uproot immobile Gaurs before clearing area for the treasure.
In the end it was a close call but the Canhagret team once again came out in flying colours yelling out after 3 hours and 27 minutes that they finally had the treasure. The peacock promptly declared the game over and rushed over to lunch.
The winners were warmly congratulated by the visitors. Truly Canhagret the Great.
(This special report forms a part of the Cattle Series. The first part Cattle Battles can be found here).