Home  -  Back Issues  -  The Team  -  Contact Us
     Volume 6 Issue 49 | December 28, 2007 |

  Current Affairs
  Cover Story
  Straight Talk
  Writing the Wrong
  Special Feature
  View from the   Bottom
  Food for Thought
  Dhaka Diary
  A Roman Column

   SWM Home

Straight Talk

A 'Tail' with a Happy Ending

The last few weeks have been rather bizarre to say the least. I have been a victim of the equivalent of Chinese water torture, been kidnapped and had my life put in the balance. I almost sound a bit like the female version of James Bond. Oh alright, I might be exaggerating just a tiny bit. But admit it it did get your attention for a moment!

The truth of the matter is that when I say Chinese water torture what I really mean is my kids trying to convince me to get a pet for them. It was a well executed onslaught that actually lasted for months. Basically, Chinese water torture consisted of a prisoner being tied to a table or the floor, with their head strapped in place so that he or she would be unable to move. Water was then dripped onto their forehead, one drop at a time. It drove the person insane, and after a period the victim would reveal the secret, confess to the crime, or agree to do anything his or her captors requested to get them to stop the torture. Now if you can imagine three children bringing up the same topic over and over again, looking at you with beseeching eyes, you will understand what I mean. “Can we have a hamster?”, “Can we have a dog?” I even got a “Can we have a snake?” Being a very hard hearted and cruel mother, I vetoed these suggestions rather vehemently. The two reasons being a) my asthma might get worse with a furry animal and b) that at the end of the day it would be me looking after “the pet”, which I absolutely refused to do. Three children were enough for me thank you very much!

However, things only escalated when my dear husband got embroiled in the conspiracy. A few weeks ago on a Saturday afternoon, I went off to run some errands oblivious to the goings on in my house at that particular time. On my return, I was ambushed by my family with a pile of information on cats. During my absence, the kids, with the help of their father had managed to research on the internet different types of cats and also locate cat breeders in and around London. Let me also mention here that the type of cat they had focussed on was a “Bengal cat”! Playing the Nationality card was very ingenious. The Bengal cat, I was informed was a mix between a domestic and Asian Leopard cat. They had very friendly personalities and liked to be around people. This did nothing to soften my resolve. However, I underestimated my family. The next morning, I was woken up at seven o'clock, a Sunday morning I might add. That in itself was brutal but then to be told to be dressed within the hour so that we could go and actually see one of these kittens was preposterous. So it was on a cold and grey Sunday morning, that I was kidnapped by my family and whisked off to Oxford to meet one of these “friendly” kittens. On my way there, I told my husband in no uncertain terms that I would only consider having a kitten, if it did nothing more than eat, sleep and co exist in the house with me. I absolutely did not want a bouncy creature running about the house scratching up the furniture and I especially did not want it following me around the place.

As we arrived, the children were bursting with excitement and I on the other hand was dragged reluctantly into the house. On our arrival, the cat breeder welcomed us inside and started off by telling us that she had kept all the kittens (there were four) in their room so that we could meet all of them. But she went on to tell us that they were running around the room desperately keen to get out as Bengal kittens were extremely playful and had bundles of energy. My other half took one look at my face and tried to stem this artless flow of information before the lady in question could elucidate any more on how bouncy and energetic the kittens were. We were then ushered into the room where the cats lived and I have to tell you that it took my breath away. No I do mean that the room was lovely and the kittens were magnificent, I mean literally. The smell in the room made me gag and I had to hold my breath to avoid passing out! The fact that they were climbing up the chair and jumping off the table was not exactly the best way to woo me into wanting to suddenly be the proud owner of a cat but the looks of utter delight on the faces of my children while they played with the kittens was rather touching. And the kittens were very cute two white ones with grey stripes and two cream ones with brown stripes. I had come armed with my inhaler just in case proximity to these furry creatures brought on an attack of asthma (you see my life was put in jeopardy!) but luckily nothing more dramatic than a sneeze came from my direction.

After an hour we left with a promise to let the owner know whether or not we would be adopting one of her kittens and unsurprisingly the drive back home was spent discussing the relative cuteness of the kittens and which one was more “adorable”. If I thought that having gone to see the kittens was going to put an end to the emotional blackmail I had been living with, I was spectacularly wrong. Now the kids had my husband on their side, the guerrilla warfare was taken to a higher level. Not only did I have to deal with pleading looks and “oh, please Ammu”, the whole time, I was sent “miaow” text messages and emails with pictures of extremely cute kittens as well! Finally I put up the white flag and gave in to the pressure and before I had a chance to re think my decision, my husband raced off to Oxford to pick up the little kitten. I was surprised at the speed with which they even managed to procure a bed for the kitten, a scratching post, a litter tray and even a toy mouse for the new arrival. I had not realised how resourceful they were when put to the test.

Well what can I say, our newest addition to the family has been a bit of a revelation to me. I tell myself that I have actually lost my mind totally and completely otherwise why would i go around the place calling the kitten “little baby”, tell anyone who will listen how adorable she is and play hide and seek with it. I even check on her at night to make sure she is asleep and my husband wakes up at the crack of dawn to keep her company. Right now I am typing with one hand as a little furry creature has made herself comfortable on my lap with her head resting on my arm and fallen fast asleep. I just tell myself once a mother, always a mother. To me it is a baby that is in a new environment, separated from her family and my heart just melts. Even if it is just a cat, I still want it to feel loved and cared for.

The year 2007 has been an interesting one and right now I feel blessed to have my family plus one around me and can only hope that 2008 is a happy and joyful one for not just my family but for all of you. Wishing everyone a Happy New Year...


Copyright (R) thedailystar.net 2007