Long have I read in books where the author describes of the scent of fresh blood, especially in crime novels where a gruesome murder had taken place, or a horror novel where some unfortunate soul gets his or her skin flayed for whatever reason. Long have I also thought (each time I read such thins) that I know not the scent of fresh blood. Perhaps it was because I rarely visit places where gruesome murders, or supernatural flayings, or accidents in blood banks occur.
Recently, during Aidiladha (Happy belated Aidiladha everyone) we went back to Pasir Mas where as it was normal during the celebration, many bulls and cows were slaughtered for food to be given to family, friends and the less fortunate.
So there I was at the yard of Ain’s uncle’s home in the neighbouring village of Lati. We were there a couple of hours late, so we missed the slaughtering of the cow. When we got there, Ain went up into the house to greet her relatives while I wandered onto the yard where many family members and volunteers were cleaving flesh from bone. Here was where all the internal organs were piled. Here was a person carrying the cow’s stomach which had been cleaned thoroughly by water, ready to be made into tripe. It looked and had the texture of a small rug.
There was a man putting an axe to the cow’s decapitated head and cleaving flesh from bone.
I remember being in secondary school in Perlis. We all were taught to slaughter chickens. A blade slice to the jugular was the technique and they should depart in the least painful way. Most others did it. Not me though. I don’t believe I could not end the life of any living animal willingly. Also, I was too busy joining everyone else laughing at two of the doomed goats having one last physical homosexual relation before their end. (Homosexuality is against nature? This episode seems to suggest otherwise.)
However, as I looked at the eviscerated bovine that day where bits of meat (I guess you can call them beef at this time) were being chopped up and divided on banana leaves into groups of five kilograms each – and not feeling in any way disturbed by the scene – I think I wouldn’t have any problems with slaughtering any animal for food now.
[[image:korban01.jpg:Each group is 5 kgs in weight:center:0]]
[[image:korban02.jpg:The table where the main bulk of the meat is chopped up:center:0]]
[[image:korban03.jpg:A closer look at the table:center:0]]
[[image:korban04.jpg:She’s looking at you… the cow:center:0]]
In the midst of all this, I finally discovered that the pungent scent my sense of smell was registering was the scent of fresh blood.
I frequent the meat section of the wet market where fresh meat can be found. I have caught the smell before. But I never made the connection between it and blood. Probably because of the dozens of other strong smells emanating from other sources in the market, like fresh seafood, chicken, vegetables and spices.
So now I have something to refer to if I read a novel and it tells me that the smell of blood is strong.
Finally, we had lunch which had several lauks which were made from the recently deceased cow. It was delicious.
Several nights later in Kota Bharu, I came across something very unlikely. It was a signboard for a shop, and… well take a look: