TIRUPUR: A famous fighter, admired by all who knew him, his death two years ago plunged his entire village of Pappapalayam near Vellakoil into grief.
Now, P Chellamuthu has done his bit to keep his memory alive. On Monday, the 43-year-old farmer unveiled a statue of the object of his affections, neither an athlete nor activist, but a beloved Kangeyam jallikattu bull named Kaaramkalai.
"Born in a family of farmers, I have always been aware of the importance of cattle. I had four Kangeyam bulls but Kaaramkalai, who was born on our farm in 2010, was my favourite,” Chellamuthu said.
Kaaramkalai was a veteran of many a jallikattu contest. He attained the sobriquet of 'Othai Kombu Kalai' (Single-horn bull) after losing one horn during a fight with another bull.
"He was very loving and affectionate with people and attracted quite a following among my friends, relatives, and the villagers,” Chellamuthu smiled.
Unfortunately, Kaaramkalai’s developed breathing problems in September 2018. A veterinarian provided some medication which helped but the condition recurred a few days later.
“He was found dead on September 16, 2018. I just broke down. The entire village was shocked and upset," he recalled.
As he was so important to the family, Kaaramkalai was buried in Chellamuthu’s coconut grove.
“Even after his death, guests, who visit us, ask about him and reminisce about their experiences with him.”
With so many villagers also sharing and recollecting their memories of the bull, Chellamuthu decided to install a statue in his memory.
“We laid a granite foundation and created a concrete statue of Kaaramkalai on the spot in which he was buried," he said.
The entire project took over four months with a sculptor making the statue from photographs of the bull.
“The statue cost more than Rs 2.5 lakh, but love and affection are more important than money,” he said.
The statue was unveiled in the coconut grove in the presence of 50 people -- family, friends and villagers -- following Covid-19 norms.