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In the Newsroom

November 24, 2008
Sacred cow commune clogs Indian superhighway

Producer Ara Ayer reported on India’s outsourcing with Mary Lockhart and Daljit Dhaliwal. Along the way, he encountered many roadblocks. Below is an example.

Words may be the building blocks of television journalism, but image is the mortar.

Cows resting on a superhighway outside New Delhi. Photo: Ara Ayer

When I saw the above scene of cows literally blocking a four-lane superhighway outside of New Delhi, as if in protest for some insult, I had to capture it.

As our driver, Ashot, narrowly bypassed the bovine congregation, he was met by screams from the back of our van to pull over. My screams came first, then a chorus from colleagues Mary Lockhart and Daljit Dhaliwal.

Jumping out of the vehicle, I popped off a few still photos while condensation dissipated from my wide-angle video lens. I knew we could use this moment as a metaphor to help describe India — a nation of great contradiction and promise.

A slice of this sacred cow commune will be included in tonight’s feature story on India. We probably won’t use the bit where an amorous cow gave me lick and tried the same on our Indian fixer Mahima.

Or, when Mahima cajoled the horned heifers’ advances with a heavily accented: “Chill OUT, Chill OUT, just Chill OUT!?”


– Ara Ayer

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