Only six months old and already hen-pecked, K2 a pure white goat with a tan blaze on his forehead, gleefully capers around a small farmyard with his great friend a two month old rooster, Shera.
Shera alternates between playing hard to get by hiding under scattered tables and boxes and launching noisy guerrilla attacks on K2, darting out with a staccato clucking, administering a perfectly positioned passing peck as he heads for new cover.
K2’s contribution to the game is looking under, over, and around each object, piece of junk, placed in the compound for their entertainment, in search of Shera. Sometimes he overturns the object to see if Shera is hiding inside.
When Shera tires of the game he climbs on K2’s back. With his light weight, the goat either cannot - or pretends he cannot - feel his presence there and continues searching for him. After a while the chicken jumps down, much to the joy of the goat, but respecting Shera’s unwillingness to continue playing, stays away.
At one point, Rahat Ali Khan, who is in charge of the chicken farm, took the chicken out of the goat’s sight. The worry on K2’s face was immediately apparent. He searched the farmyard, bleating anxiously and running from corner to corner looking for Shera.
Neither was Shera comfortable, pacing worriedly about and constantly clucking.
When reunited, a kind of peace dawned on their faces - their eyes telling it all. In celebration, they again played hide and seek for a little while.
Bravery is only feather deep. At the first hint of danger from a third party, often a marauding farmyard cat out for a takeaway chicken dinner, Shera darts under K2’s body and uses his companion’s legs for cover. They move away in lockstep from the threat, K2 instinctively lowering his head as a challenge. It was how their relationship started.
As Rahat and his wife Kaikashan Khanum, who have lived in the Kingdom for 30 years and on the Munifa Farm for 10, said the two struck up their relationship a month ago. They were shifting the 3,000 chickens to bigger housing when Shera broke away from the group and flew off to a neem tree overlooking the wall surrounding their house at the entrance to the farm. Shera spent the night there and the next morning flew into the compound.
For a few days, the animal and the bird stayed away from each other. One day two cats surrounded the chicken and as they were approaching for the “kill,” the goat came to the rescue. He took the chicken under his legs, and protection, and “dared” the cats to approach. To this day, whenever they approach, K2 is always alert and fends them off.
Alternatively he flutters up on to his companion’s shoulders and jeers at the intruder with a raspy squawk.
Shera, younger and far smaller, runs the relationship. K2 is allowed to eat first, but when disturbed by his little chum, makes way for his splendidly coloured friend.
As Maghreb approaches and the sun sets, the two have a final scamper in the yard and then Shera struts proprietorially off to select the sleeping quarters for the pair. After much un-lion-like “tut-tutting” and imperious turning over of unconsidered trifles, the young rooster settles on a spot and calls K2 to heel. Dutifully, the goat trots over, settles down and the rooster clambers into position onto his self-propelled goatskin bed.
“When he senses some danger, Shera sleeps between the goat’s legs,” explained Kaikashan. “We are very worried. What will happen if one of them dies? They have become inseparable. You have seen how they ‘cry’ and long for each other when separated even for a short while,” said Rahat.
He confided that they were rearing the goat for sacrifice during Eid Al-Adha. “Now that is out of the question,” both Rahat and Kaikashan said.
Kaikashan said that K2 and Shera have adjusted to each other so well that they have even begun to like each other’s food. Earlier, the goat never ate “roti” (Indian bread), but now he relishes it; the chicken occasionally eats grass.
She said that she has seen so many times that when grains fall outside the plate or when the vessel is empty, the chicken digs up food from the ground and pushes it toward the goat. “They eat from the same plate and drink water from the same bowl,” she added.
“The friendship seems to be based on love and respect,” she said.
(Courtesy: Arab News)