Be Careful of Cats, Particularly Black Cats

My grandmother had no affection for my lovely feline friends. She had a particular and a serious dislike for one such friend of mine that had a dark complexion. This jolly good friend had often found a way to enter my house in search of food and, if I may say so, love. I liked it immensely and named it Darkie. For giving such a name, I could have been accused of being a racist, I could have been tried in a court of law as well, but it was a cat and I knew cats could file no law suit; all they can do is say ‘meow!’ So every time I called Darkie by its name, it meowed!

The dark complexion of the cat, said my grandmother, was a sign of pure evil. To get some attention when Darkie came to me and purred and rubbed its body against my legs, my grandmother would say that the cat was cursing me in its language, that it was spreading its nefarious power over me, and that something bad would now befall me. She used to scold me whenever I had walked past a path that the cat had crossed before me. She used to say that I must call the names of all the gods and goddesses before I dare to take a step ahead. “But, granny,” I had objected, “the cat is going its way, and I, mine.”

She did not like the way I gave my time and attention to Darkie and she made faces and said that I had no respect for her, that I was arrogant for not heeding the words of a wise old woman. I knew, like any other cat, Darkie had a heart as well, and I could vouch for the fact that Darkie had a heart of gold. But my grandma said that if Darkie had a heart at all, it would be darker than its complexion!

My grandmother was unreformable. Her beliefs and opinions, though superstitious, were strongly held and she had lived with her opinions for over 80 years, so any newfangled idea hardly mattered to her. Before my grandmother bid adieu to the world, her last piece of advice for me was: “Be careful of cats, particularly black cats.”

Copyright © 2017 RAMU DAS

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Mr Nobody Writes a Letter to His Son

My dear son,

I have reached London. Oh, what a beautiful city it is, and even the strangers are friendly and helpful here. Just a while ago I lost my way, I wanted to go to McDonald’s to have a Pizza, but McDonald’s was nowhere in sight; I was going in a different direction altogether. Then I saw a lady passing by – a beautiful lady she was, white and all, you know, but not as beautiful as your mother, mind you – and I asked her as to where McDonald was. She said it was half-a-mile away. “Half-a-mile away!” I exclaimed.

I told her that I was new to the city, I said it just for the sake of saying, nevertheless the lady started showing me the direction to McDonald’s and giving me information about every nook and corner of London, but I could not get a word of what she was saying. No, no, it was not the way she spoke that confounded me. She spoke all right. This people of London do manage to speak English; what truly confounded me were the names of different places that she blurted out. It was too much to absorb.

Then, you know what happened next, my dear son, the lady herself led me to McDonald’s, and what’s more, she sat beside me, and paid my bill too, though she ate nothing at all. Such a soul in this century! She must be a lady of quality I believe. But, of course, your mother is the best.

Yes, true it is that I am supposed to come back home in the next 10 days, but this lady of quality says that I can stay here as long as I please, and she means I can stay in her house without paying a penny. So, I am extremely glad to inform you, my son, that I’m staying here as long as I please, and if at all I shall be displeased by anything or by anyone, I shall be home in a jiffy.

Now that you are grown up, I am sure you can explain the matter over to your mother, and do tell her not to panic; I am only staying here as long as I please.

Your loving father,

Mr Nobody

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Note: Mr Nobody will get a reply from his wife, and not from his son, in the next post. Stay tuned.

Copyright © 2014 RAMU DAS