Rohan crouched so that no one could see him. It was past midnight on a dark, moonless night. The only sound Rohan could hear was the rhythmical buzz of the crickets. He was facing a small square - an open area between buildings where kids played during the day. The square was faintly lit by street lights in the adjacent street. In the middle of the square was a giant statue of a cow. The cow was black in color, and the statue was made of granite. Rohan walked up slowly to the statue. He had with him a huge barrel, something that had been used to store wine many monsoons ago. He placed the barrel below the udder of the cow and started singing a song. He had to sing at a low volume so as not to wake anyone up. The song was devotional in nature, written in the praise of the Mother Goddess. A trickle of milk came out of the udder. Rohan increased the pitch of his song. The trickle turned into a steady stream and soon enough milk started flowing out like there was no tomorrow. Rohan relaxed and reduced the singing to a steady humming. The barrel could hold 10 gallons of milk. That was easily worth $50 tomorrow. Right as the barrel filled up, he moved it away, hoping that the flow of milk would stop. It did stop, and Rohan was off on his way, with a sneaky smile on his lips. He sealed the barrel shut and rolled it sideways to the garage where he lived.
He had discovered the statue on a drunken night out with his rowdy friends. After consuming litres of shoddy toddy, he was slowly trudging back home when he saw the statue. Something about it made him want to play with it. He would never dream of doing something like that while sober.
For ten nights, Rohan went to the statue obediently, singing before, during and after his gift. Every night, he chanted verses dedicated to his favorite gods. Every night the gods blessed him with abundant milk. On the eleventh night, the milk stopped pouring. Was the Mother Goddess sleeping, wondered Rohan. For five more nights he went back, hoping that the statue would yield to his prayers.
After many such fruitless nights, Rohan gave up on the Goddess. He went out drinking with his friends again. After consuming toddy, fried pakoras and potatoes, Rohan was walking home. In his drunken stupor he automatically walked towards the cow, forgetting that there was nothing for him there. When he reached the square, there was a small, blue creature fiddling with the udder. It was no taller than a 5 year old child and was wearing a bright, blue dress. The creature was talking to itself. “Add the powder to the square compartment, the manual says. I can’t find it. Whoever wrote this stupid manual? Hmmph.”
Rohan watched in wonder as the creature fiddled around the statue, adding powder to one spot, and water to another. He stepped up slowly so as not to scare the creature away and spoke. “Hi there.”
The creature gasped suddenly. It turned back, saw Rohan walking towards it. It disappeared in a poof, leaving behind a bunch of things.
Rohan walked to where it had been. He saw a big plastic container filled with powder and a giant water jug. How on earth did that tiny creature carry all of that? There was a small book next to the container with the powder. It contained notes and instructions in a script Rohan had never seen. The script had dots, circles and dashes in random sequences. There was a label on the powder container, written in the same script.
As Rohan was fiddling with the manual, he heard shouts. “There he is! The thief who has been stealing our milk.” The cries came from a group of seven small, red creatures whose faces were red with anger. Dressed in red, and wearing a bow and a quiver, they ran towards him.
Rohan fumbled with the manual and looked at the creatures, not knowing what to make of the situation. As the creatures ran towards him, they shot arrows at him. The arrows were made of bird feathers.
Rohan guffawed. What kind of creatures were these? Shooting feathers at people! Suddenly, he started laughing hysterically. The band of red creatures stood around him, grimly satisfied. Their leader stepped forward and shot once more at Rohan. The feather pierced his belly and Rohan collapsed. “That will teach him not to steal milk from the red dwarfs.”