Celebrations erupted in Madurai district's Palamedu on Tuesday, when Lakshmi, a cow that was sold by its owner to a milk farm returned to be reunited with her companion Manjamalai, a bull. Lakshmi was given a grand welcome as she strutted around town, with garlands around her neck. Lakshmi was taken straight to meet Manjamalai, whose apparent affection for the cow compelled people to request for the duo to be reunited.
On Monday, visuals of an agitated Manjamalai, a temple bull, went viral as he circled and paced around the lorry in which Lakshmi was, in distress. The lorry was to transport Lakshmi out of Palamedu as the cow’s owner, Vellaiyan, had sold it to a milk farm due to financial difficulties due to the ongoing lockdown in Madurai.
In the video, Manjamalai could be seen grunting in frustration and attempting to push his snout through the lorry’s grills. Lakshmi too could be seen looking at Manjamalai, but was unable to get off the vehicle. When the vehicle finally left, an aggrieved Manjamalai chased it for a kilometre, Vellaiyan’s brother Manikandan had told TNM.
This affection between the bovines, captured on video, tugged at the heartstrings of many in the state, with several coming forward to help the owner buy back the cow. It was finally Deputy Chief Minister O Panneerselvam's son, OP Pradeep, who paid the cow's new owner and helped bring Lakshmi back to town.
"We went at around 1 am to Sattur in Virudhunagar district and brought Laskshmi back," says Manikandan.
As soon Lakshmi was back in the morning, residents garlanded the cow and paraded it across the town. She was then reunited with Manjamalai who was also seen garlanded in the video.
"The owner of the cow gave it away due to poverty. We all saw how Manjamalai protested against Lakshmi leaving and even chased the vehicle for one kilometre," said Solavandhan MLA Manickam, who had arrived to see the reunion, to the media. "Deputy Chief Minister O Panneerselvam heard about this through the news and asked that the cow immediately be brought back and reunited with Manjamalai. His son Pradeep then helped bring back the cow from Sattur," he explained.
Manikandan adds that Manjamalai was thrilled to have Lakshmi back. Lakshmi has now been handed over to the Palamedu temple, where the cow will be taken care of along with her Manjamalai.