From the East—
for all Seasons


A Cat Quoteth Her Bible

A sainted she-cat and a saintly mother were living in great happiness. One day came Jnan, a son of the mother on a visit. He was a foolish cat-hater.

When the mother took her food, the cat used to sit near and feed off the crumbs. Sometimes the sight of well-cooked fish was too tempting for the cat. She would venture and snatch a piece from her plate. The mother would shoo her away but the cat knew that was just pretence. The cat did her act once in front of Jnan. Jnan fell into a rage and the cat got a terrible whack on her head and had to flee in hurt surprise. She stood at a corner and carefully scanned the scenario.

The mother was crying. She said to her son, Jnan, can the cat do a job to earn its living? She will have to steal. That is her Dharma

Jnan was surprised but not yet convinced.

Then the saint looked up at her foolish son, Jnan, don't hurt the cat. Even in her am I she declared.

The cat now looked up. Here is really a wise cat, though she looks like a human she thought. She wrote Humans may be fools, thinking they rule us, while we really do as we please and use them. But even among them there are some who have the wisdom of a super-cat and narrated the incident.

How come I know this? She, whom I used to think as my pet cat, had read this in her cat Bible and deigned to quote to me when I denied her a fish-head today.

The Wag-Gummandi Cat

In Greek monasteries, if you look hard enough, you'll find a grinning cat at the base of a pillar at the North-eastern corner of their common prayer hall. There is the mention of a common practice of tying up a cat to the north-eastern corner pillar in old monasteries in Alexandria in Egypt. Academicians have long debated about the origin of this cat.

Now the cat is out of the bag, literally so.

Near Indo-Pak border Wagha, in village Gummandi, a cowherd found some old scripts in birch barks wrapped in a bag, which have helped scholars to establish that many religious traditions and practices have gone from India to Greece through Alexandria. Students from Egypt had come to learn at the feet of Saints in India and Indian scholars too had gone to Egypt to teach there. One of the factors that helped to arrive at this
fact was the cat story mentioned there in the scripts.

Once some disciples were meditating beneath a tree under the guidance of a Guru. A mischievous cat troubled them. The Guru told them to tie up the cat. There was a bush at the North-eastern side. The cat was tied up there. The disciples soon became masters in meditation. When they became Gurus themselves, they regarded their Guru's every instruction as sacrosanct and duly arranged a keep a cat tied at the Northeastern corner of their meditation places. Most of the scholars accept that this practice traveled from India to Greece. But there is a minority which believes that Greek cat precedes the Indian cat.

Perhaps the original cat is grinning away in its grave.

Where All Prospects Please

It was a sprawling estate. Flowering trees and plants were everywhere. Friendly insects hummed about them. Wayfarers, especially the innocent young, were much attracted. They came in, met the chief of the estate, and were allotted their lodgings. They had a creepy feeling when they faced the chief. There was nothing to explain it, in his behavior. His talk was like a gentleman, though a little on the shorter side. They left shaking their heads. Soon the largeness and the pleasantness of their surroundings helped them to overcome their unease. But if they lingered a little too long in their rooms trying to figure out their perplexity, they started to feel creepy. It was as if the walls of the room had ears.

Then they met the buffoon of the place. Their hearts gave a joyful yelp when they saw him. His presence was soothing. His jokes disarmed them. But suddenly the Chief came. The youngsters froze half-way on their smile which now formed a hideous pattern.

They could feel that the Chief didn't want them to mix with the likes of the Buffoon, though he didn't say it in plain words. Soon their room walls closed on them. They felt the bugs that
eavesdropped on their thoughts.

They tried to slip away. Some were successful. But will it be of any avail?

The Basilisk Chief smiled happily. Even those who slipped away would carry the venom.

But the buffoon's antidote may work in some of them. He frowned when thinking of that. No, he would let the buffoon be for some time. After all, he had amused him somewhat, not long back.

The Rush

Hormones of his parents had rushed him into conception. He escaped being an illegitimate child because their parents prudently rushed them into a marriage. He was delivered in a caesarian operation to suit the convenience of his parents as well as their high profile obstetrician. His parents soon divorced and he always rushed from one to the other.

Both wanted to outbid the other for his attention. Toys rushed into his room, delicacies into his mouth and they couldn't take their eyes off this child prodigy whose genius was seen only by his mother and father.

They rushed him into a preparatory school for kindergarten when he could barely walk. It was an age when one day's facts becomes the next day's history. The parents fought with each other to rush all the latest arts and sciences to their son's brain.

Neither had the time, nor wanted the responsibility, to teach—with love—their son to to sit quiet.

The boy grew, nevertheless. He took to motor sports. His father and mother pulled strings.

The boy rushed into big rallies. Rose higher and higher.

The biggest of all rallies came. He must win this one.

Suddenly the sky with all its stars fell down. It was some small matter with the engine. There was a rush of words and suddenly his top blew off. He collapsed in exhaustion.

His dark coach smiled on him kindly. Something in his coach's face lifted him up.

"Don't bother about the results. Just run the race, that will do you good, sonny," said the coach.

He ran. He had started late, still won. But he cared no more. He sat quiet.

The End


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