Saturday, January 30, 2010

Purrfect bus ride of a cat and the story of our Andrew!

Today I came across this interesting video:

A cat has become such a well-known user of a Devon bus service that its drivers know where to let him off.

Casper has been queuing with other passengers to get the number three service from his home in Plymouth for months, bus company First said.

The company says the cat often curls up on a seat during the ride.

This reminded me of our dog, Andrew who was behaving like this, yes, nearly!

We lived in a Colony in Hosur (Tamilnadu border town near Karnataka) for some six years. The place is an Industrial town and most of the residents were people from outside the States. All of us had family friends, who were very close to each other.  We, three families were very very close - when the children had holidays, the children lived in each others' houses for two three days too!  And we had the habit of leaving our children with our friend's family, if we had to attend some function of our relatives in Chennai or Udupi or they used to send their children to our house if they had to go out of station.  All the three families had two children each, nearly of same age group. All of them went to the same school too.  I had one extra child, Andrew, our dog!  

One of my friend's house was some 3 Km. away from my place.  We had an auto stand in one corner of our colony and the autowallas were very familiar with our families.  We used to use these autos for going to their (my friend's) colony.  Sometimes, we sent our children and Andrew together in these autos to their house, if we, I or my husband, didn't have time to go there.  The auto drivers and all the colony people were familiar with Andrew, our house was in a corner on the main road and the house was called 'naai veedu' (dog house!) by some people, I was told!

Once my friend came home with her children in the morning and planned to leave in the evening.  When she started bidding us farewell, our Andrew went out.  Initially, we didn't give much  importance to his behaviour.  After 5 mts. we were still chatting on the door step and heard an auto coming and stopping near us! And the driver came out and laughingly said that Andrew went to him and sat inside the auto and he brought him home! Then, it struck to us...this fellow thinking that he was also going to my friends house or wanted to go with them (outing!), happily went and brought the auto! 

Actually, they had just come for a visit, but feeling 'paavam' at Andrew took him home along with them and my husband went and brought him back the next day!

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Happy Republic Day to all of us, Indians


When I was very small, I started hearing this song, 'Vande Mataram', in our old Murphy radio in my grandma's place. Later on, we had this song in our morning prayer in our Udupi (Karnataka) School - our flag was hoisted everyday and we sang 'Jana Gana Mana' in the evening after school. After coming to Chennai, we sang this song only on Independence Day and Republic Day. Till some years back, this song was played in theatres after the movie ended and I am happy that it is not done now, because most of the people were leaving the theatre as soon as they sensed that the movie was over, without standing up and waiting till the song ended, which is a blatant insult to our national anthem and our country.

Here, is my favourite song:

Our generations' patriotism came out when Shri Lal Bahadur Shastri became Prime Minister of our country (1964-66) and he is one of the best Prime Minister we had and most of us became familiar with him when we did not have TV or reading newspaper was not a day-to-day habit for children, in those days. During the war with Pakistan, Shastriji asked us to skip one meal a day at least once a week and our whole school children skipped Monday night dinner. It was unanimous. We started reciting our 'National Pledge' in our school prayer which ended with the slogan created by Shastriji, 'Jai Jawaan, Jai Kisaan' (I must have been in 6th or 7th std.). My children are not familiar with our 'National Pledge', which I feel is not right. At the current situation in our country, even including these lines in our school prayers might create a big hungama, like 'Vande mataram' has created. People who are born here should not hesitate to sing in praise of our nation, irrespective of any religion, I feel. Religion and language should not be a barrier to the progress and peace of our or any nation. Will someone take the initiative to insist on including our 'National Predge' in our school prayers?

Indian National Pledge:

India is my country and all Indians are my brothers and sisters.

I love my country and I am proud of its rich and varied heritage.

I shall always strive to be worthy of it.

I shall give my parents, teachers and all elders, respect, and treat everyone with courtesy.

To my country and my people, I pledge my devotion.

In their well being and prosperity alone, lies my happiness.

It is high time some action is taken to curb the dirty acts started by some mad people to split our country for flimsy reason like 'local languages' now. War of religions was there for ages, but creating havoc because of languages, is new. Whoever wants to survive in their places of work, can learn the local language and blend with the community. It will be for their own good. It is up to the individuals and the political people need not poke their dirty noses into it.

Let us live happily together and help our next generation also to live peacefully in the future. This song says so:

Aditya Arya Archive:

This link contains unusual photographs of our struggle for Independence period, taken by the then press photographer Kulwant Roy.  Born in Ludhiana, Punjab in 1914, he started his photographic career in his twenties. One of his earliest landmark works was documenting the meeting between Mahatma Gandhi and Khan Adbul Ghafar Khan in the North West Frontier Province in 1938. He then joined the Royal Indian Air Force in 1941, where he used his newly acquired skills to take aerial shots from the cockpits of planes. Headstrong and patriotic, Roy found it difficult to tolerate the discriminatory policies of his British superiors and had to leave the air force after being court-martialled.

His photographs of pilgrimages, religious events, ethnic costumes and the snow capped mountains of Kashmir eventually found their way in scores of picture stories in different languages of the world. He also took photographs in the twenty countries he visited and all these images funded this early global traveller.  Rare photographs of Gandhiji, Nehru and his family can be seen here.

Aditya Arya Archive conducted an exhibition of the photographs sometime back.  This is like a tribute to our country as well as Kulwant Roy. 

I think this is an important link and included after I published this post an hour back. 

Ganatantra Diwas Ki Shubh Kaamnaayen!

Jai Hind! 

Flag photo courtesy: google

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

The Story of our cat, Zorro, his wives and kids (kittens)!

This is our Saadhu Maharaj, Zorro!

Our family's first cat was Koyla (she was a black cat!), who came home on a rainy day! She was with us and entertained us for around 3 years and then fell into our neighbour's well and died. Her story will come later! Everyone knew how she was pampered at our home. After she died, a person who knew how much we missed her, presented us with another black kitten! He was named 'Zorro' by my son!

He was a tiny skinny kitten, very scared about any moving thing. My husband started feeding him so much that he was bored to - forget about running - even move himself. He loved to sit on my lap and if I lifted and cuddled him, talked to him, he used to touch my cheek with his hand, with a happy, small meeyaav sound! In the beginning, he used to open our bedroom door at night, by jumping on the handle, come inside and sleep with us! Slowly, we changed that habit by locking the door and he stopped waking us up at night!

He comes home often with wounds on his face (it looks a bit distorted now with all the war-wounds he had with other male/female cats!) and my husband promptly applies 'Nebasulf' powder on them!

Two years back, we had gone on a holiday tour for around 3 weeks. My son said that whenever he came home, he saw Zorro sleeping on the diwan and another black cat, which we had seen roaming in our backyard sometimes (we had misunderstood it to be his kitten because she was black and small made!), lying on the sofa set or sometimes on the diwan! Both of them must have come in through the netlon window. After we came back, she did not come inside but was visible in our back yard. Then we saw her bulging tummy and one day she came inside through our window with her kittens (carrying one by one with her mouth) and settled down at home with her husband!

This is Ammaakkaari, who invaded our house with her (and Zorro's?!) kittens!

We called her Zorrotti in the beginning (Zorro's kutti) and then changed it to Ammaakkaari after she came home with her kittens! She was a very smart cat. She delivered for the second time in the wardrobe in my son's room upstairs, where we kept old bedsheets. 3 black rat-like kittens. After maybe two or three days, one day she came down the stairs, making some weird sound as if she was trying to convey something to my husband. My husband was looking at her, not knowing what to do. She just started going back up on the stairs, looking back at him. My husband and I followed her. She went and stood in front of the wardrobe. I bent and checked the kittens. One was missing. When I searched for it, I found it under the 3 bedsheets' bundle! I took it out and showed it to her and she was so happy! I could sense it. She just sat with all the three kittens, licking them and feeding them. Who said that the animals don't talk...Ammaakkaari did talk!

This is Ammaakkaari with Zorro, at our backyard!

The above photograph was taken, after her first batch of 3 kittens were almost 2 months old! I had seen a tigress lying down like this in front of a tiger, in a programme in Animal Planet. Ammakkaari was rolling on her back on the ground. Zorro was just watching her!

She delivered twice - 3 black velvet bundles each time and we distributed them to our friends and relatives after the kittens were 2 months old. Kept Nero from the first batch and ET, from the second batch. But they went missing after sometime. They were beautiful black velvet kittens with fluffy tails. Somebody must have taken them home. We sent off Ammaakkaari also to one of our friend's house, because she kept on delivering once in 4 months...phoof!

This is Jinju - Zorro's (known) second wife!

We had seen Jinju, sitting on our compound wall often in the mornings. She was just sitting there, watching the surroundings or dozing till afternoon. Sometimes she used to make some familiar sound, when I went out for plucking flowers in the morning. She was also small-made like Ammaakkaari, when we saw her for the first time.

Once Zorro went missing for 3 days and on the 4th night, came back and asked my husband to open the backyard door (my husband always stands in attention in front of all our pets, whether it was our dog or cats and they used that attitude of his to the hilt! He runs to them to open the door or feed, even when he is watching a 'winning stage' cricket match!). Zorro was standing on the first step, trying to come inside and then my husband saw another cat behind him and it was the one which was sitting on our compound wall! My husband blocked Zorro and said 'nee varathunna vaa, un friend varakkoodathu! (you come inside if you want, your friend should not come in)!' You won't believe, he turned and went off, with the other cat behind him! He came back home after another 2 days, this time alone!

After this incident, the new cat was visible on our compound wall, for another week or so. Then, one day, my husband was standing on the front door steps and the new cat came down from the compound wall and started talking to him. My husband was just watching her. Then she slowly came up, brushed herself on my husband's pant, walked inside the door and my husband turned and saw Zorro standing inside the door, just looking at her! Hmmm...'paavam, irukkattum ithuvum' my husband said (poor thing, let her also be here)! That is how, Jinju settled down in our house! Now she is VERY pregnant and we might have more kittens roaming in our house any day and I can do another 'kitten' post!

This is Zorro and Jinju, relaxing!

I have noticed that the female cats are more ferocious (like female dogs) than their male counterparts. Ammaakkaari used to hit Zorro on his face with her left hand often, when she was bored! Jinju also does it! They do this when Zorro just sits and watch them or when he walks past them! Sometimes they hit him 'tup tup tup' continuously 2-3 times! Zorro just walks off! I have got photographs of Zorro, Ammaakkaari and the black kittens together, in the album of 'Zorro's family'! Have a look and enjoy!

Nero is learning to play guitar, seriously, from his Anna!

More interesting photographs of 'Zorro's family'!

You can also access this album directly and post your comments for each photograph, if you so wish.

Edited to add a new photo of Jinju with her new kittens (18.01.10):


Earlier posts of the kittens!

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