Thursday, July 30, 2015

The cat and the mosquito checker

As everyone in India knows, many people here don't particularly like cats. They are superstitious about them, and keeping cats as pets is a relatively new phenomenon. But just keeping a cat leads to a change in approach of all who come in contact with it. Sweetie met many people who visited my house--friends, electricians, plumbers, and several others. She hissed ferociously at some, scratched one or two, made friends occasionally[very rare--I actually employed a packer because Sweetie went and sat on their representative's lap]and ignored others.
Among the latter was the MCD mosquito checker, who arrives every monsoon in Delhi to check that there are no mosquitoes breeding in the water coolers [there are mosquito courts where one has to pay a fine if they find any!]. After checking, he puts some poisonous stuff in the water.
I wouldn't let him do this to one cooler, as I said my cat may get affected. Cat? He wanted to see it,and I showed him Sweetie asleep on the bed. 'You have a cat on your bed?', he couldn't get over it, but after that used to ask about her whenever he came.
One day the doorbell, rang, and there was S, the mosquito checker. 'You just came a couple of weeks ago', I said. 'It's not about that', he said, 'Have you lost a cat?' 'No', I replied. 'There's one in our office. It won't leave, please come and see', he said. I took a cat carrier with me, and we reached his office, just a two minute walk away. Sure enough, a large orange cat was sitting in a high-walled courtyard, where the workers were eating their home-packed lunch. 'I told them they should not harm it, but should feed it', said S. Orange cat was happily eating all the scraps of food that were being thrown to him. But now S and the others felt I should put him in the carrier and take him home! I tried to explain he wasn't my cat--he would go back to wherever he had come from. 'He can't jump these high walls', said S, so I agreed to take him. The carrier was placed on the ground, tempting food was put into it, and the cat soon put his nose and front paws in. An over-enthusiastic worker then gave him a push from the back. Cat hissed, snarled, turned around and was out of the carrier,still hissing, and as everyone moved back,he gave a smooth leap to the top of the high wall and disappeared. By the time we went out to see where he had gone, there was no sign of him.
I was sure he was okay, but I thought that not only S, but all the workers there, had become a little more cat-friendly.

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