The other day, I was having breakfast of dosas with my parents. I love dosas. If I go to a restaurant, especially the South Indian ones, the first thing that is tempting for me to order is always dosa. Masala dosa, plain dosa, ghee roast, paper roast, butter dosa, rava dosa, rava-masala dosa....the list is endless. Slurp. But, one variety of dosa which is not in my favourites' list is wheat dosa. As a child I shied away from it as much as possible and these days I am trying to like it. :) My father usually makes batter for wheat dosa. He is very good at making dosas. As we were eating the wheat dosas, we were discussing that wheat dosas are something which people loved to detest. Even Bhanumathi did not like wheat dosa.
Who is this Bhanumathi I am talking about? The famous actress of yesteryears? My cousin, friend, aunt, or any other relative? No. She belonged to the feline family. She was a cat (do not know whether she is alive now) and a regular visitor to my house in my hometown (Trivandrum). As a kitten, she was 'pampered' by my parents and became the unofficial pet. I named her Bhanumathi. My sister, who was not married at that time, was staying with my parents. Every morning, when she left the house for work, Bhanumathi used to descend down the stairs with her and see her off. Then she came back and spent time in our house. Bhanumathi is different from other felines. She never used to spill the milk from the vessels in our kitchen. My parents kept a separate plate for her on which they poured milk.
My memories of Bhanumathi is limited to summer visits to my hometown. To help my mother in the kitchen, I used to scrape coconut in the coconut scraper. When I squat on the scraper and start scraping, Bhanumathi used to appear from nowhere! She will gently and quietly sit before the scraper and wait for me to finish scraping. After I finish coconut scraping and get up, she will get up and come running behind me. Until I part with some freshly scraped coconut, she will never leave.
Bhanumathi was very fond of crispy dosas. Again, when dosas were made, she used to make her appearance from nowhere. If we wanted to sit and have dosas peacefully, we had to share some pieces of dosa with her. But, Bhanumathi is choosy when it comes to dosas. If we gave her crispy dosas, she relished and enjoyed like us homo sapiens. If we put some pieces of not so crisp wheat dosas, she will turn her head away from that. Crispy dosas, juicy coconut were her hot favorites. As time went by, she went to neighbourhood houses in search of fish. But the visits to our house staunchly continued.
One day, Bhanumathi gave birth to kittens and was in search of a secure place to protect them. Yes, you guessed it! Its our house. She brought her babies and placed them in a cupboard in the bedroom. Among the cats, the male cats or tomcats have the habit of eating their own children. So the female cats are very protective regarding their kittens. We are not used to having cats or any other animals permanently stationed in our house. From then on, my parents had tough time driving her out. As she tried to come to our house repeatedly, my parents closed every other door and window. It was a virtual prison for them for some days. Finally, she stopped coming to coming to our house much to the relief of my parents. But for me, she is still around somewhere. When I think of her, I imagine her as sitting in front and very close to the coconut scraper waiting for those juicy scraps of coconut.
P.S. I do not have any photo of our Bhanumathi. If I put an image of any other cat, I feel I am not doing justice to her. I miss her. Nobody can replace Bhanumathi.