Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Unique Eunuch Blessings


My cat Pantha is destined to have a long life and prosper. She possesses the (probably) unique distinction of being the only cat in Delhi to be blessed by a Eunuch.

The little twit (Bongs will understand what the name means) fell off a tree and broke her left hind-leg. So, we had to take her off to the vet (Dr R.S.Chaggar of Saket and SDA, who has the fastest hands I’ve seen when it comes to cat surgery). Doc sent us off to get an X-ray.

Now small animals are x-rayed at the same clinics as human beings and quite a few city clinics will provide this service. However the average North Indian is squeamish at the thought that the same Roentgen rays which passed through a small furry animal may pass through his bones. So the clinics usually ask you to wait discreetly at the side-entrance and smuggle you in so as not to spook their two-legged clients.

Now the clinic we visited operates out of the front of the owner’s house. The daughter of the doctor who owns it was getting married. There was an ashirwad or some such interminable ceremony happening in the garden. This being North India, natch there were Hijras singing contralto (contrary to public opinion, eunuchs don’t sing soprano though some of them can do a nice counter-tenor).

We were waiting at the back door to be called in. Pantha was sedated and sleeping in her carry basket, which was discreetly covered with a cloth. (Hint: if you’re transporting cats it helps to cover the basket – the little buggers are always less antsy when they can’t see the world pass by.) To all the world, and certainly to the hijras on the lookout for a mark, we must have looked like a worried couple with swaddled child.

They leapt upon us with glad cries and were disconcerted when I made an obscene gesture, which is peculiar to Hijra sign-language. They were mind-fucked when my missus laughed heartily at offers of blessing. However, when we unveiled P, who slept through it all, one of them bravely offered to do the needful. What’s more, they didn’t charge us. So P is doubly unique – she’s been blessed free of charge by an eunuch.

Update: She is happily climbing trees and killing lizards so the leg has healed fine.

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