Registered with the Registrar of Newspapers for India under R.N.I 53640/91
Vol. XXXIII No. 2, May 1-15, 2023
When asked for her view on the subject of pets, The Woman from Madras Musings has always remained firm in her stance – she wishes them all the very best in life and gives them her blessings from a great distance. Some pet owners, however, seem to consider this an urgent problem to solve. Do not fear them, they say. They will not bite, they say, they will only lick. But the fact that (Wo)MMM doesn’t want to be licked either is seldom taken into consideration.
(Wo)MMM has a clear strategy for friends and family who have pets. If leashing the pet is out of the question – which (Wo)MMM truly does not judge, for she understands it to be a rather uncomfortable thing to do for those who love their pets as their children – then she is perfectly happy to meet them elsewhere or on a video call. What rather puts her off is luring her home with the assurance that she will not come across the pet and then springing the dog on her with a cheery, “Give aunty a kiss!” First of all, (Wo)MMM is no one’s aunty. Second of all, dogs don’t kiss, they lick. (Wo)MMM understands that many find it cute, but she does not. Third of all, (Wo)MMM finds it hard enough to pick up social cues from other humans on most days; trying to understand what a dog or cat is thinking is deeply unnerving, to say the least. But some pet owners press on. Oh, only if they straighten their tail or wiggle their ears or bark the alphabet song should you be afraid of being bitten, they say. No need, (Wo)MMM replies, as she slowly backs away from their homes. No need for that assessment at all.
The worst, in her opinion, are those that insist that street dogs remain on the streets. Of course, the city has to be kind to them. Of course, they have the right to a safe, healthy life. But to brush aside the public’s concerns about dog bites is particularly unfeeling (Wo)MMM thinks. Pet owners must adhere to a bunch of laws when they own a pet – they must pick up after poop and make sure they’re leashed when taken for a walk. They’re in for it if their pet actually bites anyone. But stray dogs don’t really have owners, do they? (Wo)MMM thinks that those who feed stray dogs and make a hue and cry about removing them from the streets should be made to take them home as pets.
In all, (Wo)MMM has come to the conclusion that it is not animals she has a problem with, per se. As in everything else, it is us people who are at fault. One hopes that animal lovers will soon come around to accepting that benign indifference is a perfectly acceptable mid-point between love and dislike. Until then, (Wo)MMM is sticking to video calls for the most part.
An incident with a knife and a particularly slippery boiled potato saw The Woman from Madras Musings in need of elementary medical supplies. The problem? It was the witching hour, when all (well, most; oh, alright, some) good and decent citizens were fast asleep and snoring in bed. The better half walked in on (Wo)MMM trying to steal his aftershave to use on the wound and fairly blew his top at the sight of her finger. And so it was that five minutes later, (Wo)MMM found herself driving around the city past midnight in search of a pharmacy. One hears about these 24×7 pharmacies all the time, after all.
Except, no. (Wo)MMM soon discovered that this concept of a 24×7 pharmacy has very loose interpretations among the shopkeepers of our city. The better half drove through street after street but all the pharmacies claiming themselves to be 24×7 outlets were shuttered. At one point, (Wo)MMM asked a policeman for help. The gentleman showed much solicitude for her wound and directed the better half to drive further ahead where, he said, would appear a veritable oasis of pharmacies with eager shopkeepers lingering at their doorsteps to attend to our beck and call. And so, on the car went. And on, and on. Lights flickered merrily at the entrance of ATMs that cropped up every few kilometres. A number of tea shops dotted the route too, each one conducting what seemed to be a roaring business. There were even busy roadside eateries selling a dizzying variety of fried rice and other food items that were being freshly made then and there. But not a single pharmacy, no.
(Wo)MMM finally convinced the better half to pull into a hospital that they spotted on the other side of the road. The pharmacy inside the complex was thankfully open, so (Wo)MMM managed to get the medical supplies after all. With the finger finally bandaged, the better half spent the entire ride back home subjecting (Wo)MMM to reproach. The entire incident has taught her a valuable lesson – the next midnight pang of hunger is better dealt with by making the better half drive her to one of those fried rice shops.