I am not a pet lover, particularly cats. Many people think otherwise, because I have written a novel with cat as the protagonist. I have read a lot about cat and watch them at many of my friends’ houses. They are the most unfaithful of all pets. Unlike the dog, they don’t have any loyalty. They use their cuteness quotient to gain entry into your house, and one’s they are in, they behave as if they own it.
I know, I can go on ranting and raving against the cats for ages, and it will make no impact on the cat lovers like my friend Tapas, who had five cats, named Sorshe, Posto, Phoron, Mouri and Methi (these are the ingredients that make ‘panch phodon’ or ‘pancha phutana’ without which no Bengali or Odia dish can be cooked). They all succumbed to feline panleukopenia (FP) virus commonly known as feline distemper within a week, one after another. FP is highly contagious and deadly. Pre-winter is the time when this virus breaks out and kills millions of cats and kittens. However, it might affect your feline friends anytime in the year. Many of the cat lovers do not know there are excellent vaccines available to protect them from this nuisance. Just two small shots between two to four months of their age can give them a robust immune system to protect them from FPV.
However, time is the essence. Tapas was late in reacting. Deworming is the first step as per vet’s suggestion before vaccination with a cooling period of 5 days in between. His cats had their deworming pills last week and were waiting for the vaccine, but he was late in starting the process which had resulted in losing all of them.
Ten days hence, Tapas is still grieving. This is what he requests all pet lovers, especially cat-parents to do. Have a close look at your feline mates’ health and bring them quickly to the vets if you observe anything unusual and of course if they have not been vaccinated yet, do it in consultation with the doctor as fast as you can.
The world population, the newspaper headline screamed, just crossed 8 billion. And if everything goes as has been going for the past decades- by 2023, India will surpass China as the most populous country of the world.
Population experts estimated that the population of the world reached one billion for the first time in 1804. It took 123 years to add another billion. In 1927 the world had 2 billion population. The next billion was was added in just 33 years. In 1960 the world had three billion population. By 1999, the world billion reached six billion; it reached 8 billion in 2022. It is expected that the world population will grow to 10 billion by 2050s, unless steps are taken to contain it.
It is often said that in India, anything you say is true, and its opposite is also true. In case of population in India the TFR (total fertility rate) is coming down steadily. In fact in many states it has breached the replacement level. Therefore, the population in coming years will come down. However, the absolute number will continue to be big because of the past momentum and scale for quite some time.
Pundits often talk about demographic dividend. India with its median age of 29 is one of the youngest countries of the world and in a position to harvest rich dividend. But the catch is – a large section of our work-force are not skilled enough and women participation in job market is far too less. Number does not automatically give you advantage, skilled persons do.
Ruskin Bond is one of most read and loved contemporary fiction writers of India. He has a unique tongue-in-cheek good natured humour, often at the cost of himself.
Here is a sample with a caveat. I got it in a social media forward. So, no guarantee on its veracity. However, the way it has been written, only Bond could have written it. Read on.
In my effort to keep up with the times I travel occasionally by plane, and the other day I thought I’d do some shopping at one of our major airports. To my dismay, the proffered credit card could not be used, as the systems “connectivity” was down. I’m not sure what “connectivity” means (except in the human sense) but apparently it implies some sort of electronic failure. And I hope it isn’t a foretaste of things to come. If there is neither cash nor “connectivity”, what do we do for a bar of chocolate or just a magazine with which to pass the time? You just sit patiently in the airport twiddling your thumbs and gazing at your fellow travellers.
Or being gazed at.
I was sitting there meditating, or rather contemplating, when an attractive young woman came up to me and said, “Excuse me, but are you Bejan Daruwala?”
Now I’ve been mistaken for various people in my life, but Bejan Daruwala was a new one.
Naturally I was flattered.
“Regretfully, no,” I answered. “But I can tell your fortune if you like. Just show me your hand and I’ll trace your life line, your head line, and your heart line.”
“No, no,” she said hastily. “It’s all right. I just thought you looked like him.” “I won’t charge anything,” I added, as an afterthought; she was probably short of cash. But she had hurried away. I don’t think she trusted palmists.
An hour passed, and someone else approached me. A large lady with a small boy.
“It’s so nice to see you here,” she says. “My little boy studies one of your books in class. Will you give him your autograph?”
“Certainly ma’am.” I beam at the bright little boy. “And what’s the name of the book you are studying?”
“Tom Sawyer,” he says.
Dutifully, I sign Mark Twain on a slip of paper. Mother and son go away quite happy.
One of these days someone is going to mistake me for Ruskin Bond.
Tailpiece: Money Laundering
According to RBI’s new guidelines:
People who forget money in their pants & shirts and send them to their laundry will be immediately arrested on charges of Money Laundering…!!
(Courtesy: Social Media)
About the Author:
Journalist turned media academician Mrinal Chatterjee lives in Dhenkanal, Odisha. He also writes fiction and plays.
He can be reached at [email protected]
This is the personal opinion of the author. The views expressed in this write-up have nothing to do with those of prameyanews.com.