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Holy Cow Sarah Macdonald

Holy Cow

Sarah Macdonald

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 About the Book 

1 ] Through the Looking GlassI have a dreadful long-term memory. I only remember two traumatic events of my childhood--my brothers near-death by drowning and my own near-death by humiliation when I was rescued by a lifeguard while attempting myMore1 ] Through the Looking GlassI have a dreadful long-term memory. I only remember two traumatic events of my childhood--my brothers near-death by drowning and my own near-death by humiliation when I was rescued by a lifeguard while attempting my first lap of the butterfly stroke in the local pool. I vaguely remember truth or dare kisses in the back of a bus, aged about twelve, dancing to My Sharona at thirteen, behaving like an absolute arsehole in my adolescence and having a hideous hippie phase involving dreadlocks and tie-dye when I was at college.For my twenty-first birthday my parents gave me a plane ticket and a blessing to leave home and Australia for a year. This middle-class rite of passage had become a family tradition--my mother had hitchhiked around Europe in the fifties and wanted us all to experience the joy of travel before we settled into careers. My trip through Europe, Egypt and Turkey is a bit of a blur and recollections of the two-month tour of India on the way home are vague. I can see myself roadside squatting and peeing with women in wonderful saris, sunset games of beach cricket with a trinity of fat Goan men named Jesus, Joseph and Jude, and the white bright teeth of a child rickshaw driver wearing a T-shirt printed with come on aussie come on. I recall angst, incredible anger, deep depression and a love-hate relationship with the country, but I cant remember why. Id filed the soothsayer, his prophecies and my vow never to return under young stupid rubbish and let it fall deep into the black hole of my brain.Until now--a month short of eleven years later.As I walk into the plane in Singapore, a seed starts to sprout in the blocked sewer of my memory- a seed watered by the essence of stale urine and the whiff of vomit coming from my window seat (where the pink and orange paisley wallpaper artfully camouflages the spew). The high-pitched, highly excited jumble of Indian voices almost germinates a recollection. But after too many going-away parties, involving too much indulgence, Im too wasted to let the bud bloom. I fall asleep.Somewhere over Chennai I become aware of an increasingly rhythmic prodding of my inner thigh by something long, thin and hard. I open my eyes to see a brown finger with a long curved nail closing in on my crotch. The digit is attached to a scrawny old Sikh in a turban sitting beside me. He is slobbering and shaking with excitement. Im too sleepy, shocked and, for some reason, too embarrassed to scream, so I buzz for sisterly assistance.An air hostess with big hair, long nails and drag-queen makeup slowly strolls over. She looks cranky.What?This man is touching me when I sleep, I bleat indignantly.The hostess rolls her eyes and waggles her finger.At me.Well, stay awake and dont let it happen again, madam.She wheels on the spot and strides off, swishing her nylon sari.Months later a friend will tell me that many Indian flight attendants are rich girls whose parents pay a massive bribe to get them a job involving travel and five-star hotels. These brats view passengers as pesky intrusions way beneath their status, and detest doing the job of a high-flying servant. But right now, Im floored, abandoned and angry.I stay wide-awake and alert until the hostess with