I went to Dubai

I was in Dubai last week. It was super fun and super exhausting. It was my very first trip to the Middle East  – and Dubai was absolutely fascinating. Here are my observations in a nutshell –

1. They don’t seem to do anything on a small scale. Everything is in superlatives. Biggest mall, tallest structure, biggest this, largest that, most expensive this, fastest that. It’s quite a spectacle really.

2. They also don’t seem to allow themselves to be limited by anything at all. Not even physical realities. There is money and there is science – and nothing is impossible. If there’s water – they make tunnels under it and land over it. If there is no vegetation on the sands, they seem to literally plant full fledged trees on the soil till the roots hold firm. They build massive palm shaped islands on reclaimed land and then build the most magnificent hotels in and around them. When they are bored with building structures that are simply tall, they twist them. It’s an architect’s Disneyland, I think.

3. Even the un-shopaholics tend to indulge in Dubai. I know I did. Apart from the huge shopping malls and the the fact everything you can think of is available there – as an Indian, I admit I enjoyed an additional kick knowing that you don’t get ripped off during a purchase paying half the money to the government in taxes.

4. Dubai Mall makes you exactly aware of all the things you can afford and all the things you cannot.

5. The city and its government probably have issues that need sorting out – I really don’t know. But most people I met were delighted at the way their city has transformed in a matter of a single decade. From a barren desert to a super modern global city with an enviable infrastructure. And I think thats pretty awesome.

6. I was also told that the city is relatively safe for women. It seems I can hop into a train at 3 AM and nothing untoward would happen. Whether or not thats true – the fact that people have such faith in public safety and law enforcement is a great thing. I can barely think of places in my country where I am confident about the safety of female tourists.

7. Democracy is awesome and I wouldn’t trade that for anything. But Dubai just makes you wonder – is such a transformation really possible in a democracy where there is opposition politics? Or are these possibilities restricted to monarchies and single-party States or places where the head of State is virtually unopposed for many years ? Just something to think about – there are too many factors involved for one to ever get to real answer.

On a side note – we met up with our family friends and I must say – the cat in their house was a beauty. A ginger tomcat called Simba – isn’t that purrfect ?

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Cat Chronicles #1

I met my cat yesterday! Wohooo !

I am finally doing it. I am getting a cat! Wohoo !

I am adopting a stray (no more) from a lovely lady who rescued and fostered a pretty little Calico kitten a few months back. I was able to contact her via World For All – an awesome NGO that that rescues strays, helps foster them and treat them till they are healthy, and then puts them up for adoption. Several thousand animals have found their forever homes through WFA! Isn’t that lovely ?

Her foster mom has lovingly named her (the cat) Mimi. I had first considered changing that to Molly after I brought her home – because I always dreamed of having a cat named after a Potter-verse character. But I met little Mimi yesterday and realised – she is really a Mimi. Plus, how could I take away the name that was given to her with so much love by her rescuer ? I cannot take away that legacy 😀

Mimi’s foster mom, Mrs. N, was a lovely lady! She was wonderfully sweet to me and it’s obvious she adores Mimi to no end. Mimi loves her too. I breaks my heart to think that I am separating these two. But more cats need TLC and lovely fosters like Mrs. N. And Mimi deserves a forever home.

Oh and did I mention that Mimi is an absolute beauty ? She is slender and graceful and quiet and all things beautifully feline. A bit reticent with strangers – but gentle and lovely! She follows Mrs. N around the house all the time. When I entered that apartment, Mimi was enjoying herself, snugly sitting on the couch. And I fell in love. Well, as deeply in love as the permanently anxious heart of mine would allow me. I would take her home right away but I am travelling a lot for the next few weeks. So Mimi will be coming home around mid-June.

Until then, I have several things to get done :

1. Get over my nervousness. I’ve always wanted a pet. I need to stop making up excuses to make it look like a bad idea just because I’m worried about actually taking this decision. Even though I am sure about it. How does that even happen?

2. Buy a scratch post. Mom will wring my neck if our couch is ruined. I am hoping I can train Mimi to use the scratch post before that can happen.

3. Buy kitty food and a litter tray.

4. Read every online resource on having a domestic cat.

5. Ensure I don’t still have allergies to cat hair. I was super itchy after I met Mimi. But the itchiness started before I even entered the foster’s apartment – so I cannot be sure what caused the allergy. Must meet her once more to make sure. *Fingers crossed* Like my friend Sookie said, it would suck to be allergic to adorable. Plus I am already in love with Mimi

6. Find a good pet store and a good vet around the area where I live.

Twiggy is both super excited (very much in love) and hopelessly nervous! Cannot wait to have Mimi home! Here you guys, take a look! Isn’t she the cutest ?

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On My Cat-obsession

Currently, the biggest tragedy of my life is that I don’t have a pet cat. It has been the tragedy of my life since 25 years. I was born on a very rainy day 24 years ago.

I have an unhealthy obsession with cats. Cats are all over my Tumblr dashboard and YouTube subscriptions and laptop wallpapers and Facebook walls and Twitter feeds. They are everywhere except in my house.

I want a cat because:

  1. They are cute
  2. They are furry
  3. They are cute
  4. They don’t need to be taken out to walks everyday
  5. They use litter boxes and are relatively easy to litter train
  6. They are cute.
  7. They are cute and therefore therapeutic.
  8. They spend most of their day sleeping.
  9. They purr.
  10. They are cute.

I also hear they make good friends. I am not banking on that.

Here are reasons I don’t/shouldn’t have  cat.

  1. Dad dislikes cats
  2. Mom doesn’t love cats
  3. We have a lot of crystal in our house. I hear cats like breaking them
  4. Nothing non vegetarian has ever entered our house. As far as I know cats can’t survive on rice and vegetables.
  5. When I was very little I was allergic to cat hair. [But then I was also allergic to pulses and rice and eggs and eggplant and grapes and wheat. Not any more.]
  6. Dad really doesn’t like cats
  7. I like my furniture without scratches.
  8. Some of our furniture is expensive. Dad will have me on the noose if something happens to them. Worse, the cat will be on the noose.
  9. Toilet rolls are expensive in India. I hear cats enjoy destroying toilet rolls.
  10. I like symmetry. So there had to be number 10 in this list too.

How do you solve a problem like wanting a cat ? There is only so much pleasure I can get from YouTube. I want the real stuff. The furball on my lap.

I think cats might help me out if I ever face an existential crisis. They spend more than half their life sleeping and are still confident and wise beings. There HAS to be a secret to that. They know the meaning of life. I think that’s why T.S. Eliot loved them so much, they slept and slept and still didn’t measure out their life in coffee spoons. My theory – when Eliot wrote that poem, he was actually talking to his cat. He asked her, “Hey Kitty! Should I, after tea and cakes and ices/ Have the strength to force the moment to its crisis?” or “Hey Kitty! Shall I part my hair behind?/  Do I dare to eat a peach?” Yes, I am certain.

Yes, yes – I am conveniently forgetting all the serious and painful stuff that comes with having a pet. I know that, okay? I choose to be an optimist for once.

Cats are awesome. Lincoln liked them. Einstein loved them. Eliot was obsessed with them. Also Johnny Cash and George Harrison. See what I mean?

Maybe I will foster a cat. If it works then I can keep him/her for myself. If the cat manages to scratch and pop my fancy bubble, she can go to a home where her scratches are more welcome. Or she can stay at mine and I’ll buy her a scratch board. Cats are more adaptable than dogs; I hope my plan is not an insensitive one.

I wonder if the cat will clash with my neurotic quest for cleanliness and order. The scratches and the hair. But I could invest in lint rollers and scratch boards.

Must first convince Dad. In this life. I am not leaving the cat for the afterlife. I have several hot dead men waiting in queue there. Maybe the foster-idea is good. Dad can’t get mad if I tell him the cat is there only for a few weeks. The purring might just melt his heart in the end.

I can also threaten to bring home a dog. Or a boyfriend. A junkie boyfriend. Worse, an unemployed boyfriend. That might make him fall in love with the cat.

Here are some awesome kittyful links as my appreciation for bearing this cat-rant –

1) Cat massage

2) How to hug your cat

3) Cats in boxes 

4) Emergency Kittens on Twitter

5) Search “Cute Cats” on Youtube

6) Also, meet my friend’s brother’s unbelievably cute cat –

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Enjoy!