Saturday 14 January 2012: Gate (Gate) Cat
Not a pretty blip today, but a quick one, which is going to be important for the next few days as Immy's and my departure for New Zealand is now imminent - we leave on Wednesday night. This is Gate Cat, so named because it lives outside our gate. It is always there... Sujatha and Rajen have guaranteed its continued presence by feeding it every evening (we had to take over this responsibility last April and May when they were on leave in Sri Lanka). From around 4pm onwards if you go near the gate for any reason, Gate Cat starts meowing loudly and insistently in the hope that you are bringing it food.
Although obviously battle-scarred and not particularly beautiful, it is quite portly, owing to it's diet of curry and rice - in fact, it is much fatter than Holly! - and fairly clean, as the regular feeding means that it washes itself regularly, too. Gypsy and Holly have learnt to ignore Gate Cat now and leave it alone. It is definitely a cat with attitude and often chooses to sit right in the middle of the gate, only moving very grudgingly when we want to drive the car in or out.
This morning dawned overcast and blowy and it even managed a few drops of rain early on. When we went up to the gate to see off Immy's friend K. who had slept over after the party yesterday evening, we noticed with some amusement that Gate Cat had made a comfortable tent for itself in the middle of some polythene that the gardener keeps there for clearing up grass clippings. I decided that this would make a good blip as the girls have said to me a few times that I ought to blip it!
As an interesting aside, our gate bears a faded metal sign that has been there since Gypsy first came to us as a puppy. Up until that point, we had always kept the garden gates open but, with a dog, that had to stop. The problem was that we have a high volume of foot traffic through the garden, what with delivery people looking for the office; maintenance staff (such as plumbers and electricians); gardeners and pool people; teams of contractors to tend the date palms occasionally, and friends of Sujatha and Rajen calling in. I decided that we needed a sign asking people to keep the gate closed and after much discussion, we realised that this would need to be in a minimum of four languages - Arabic, English, Hindi and Malayalam.
I asked Ramesh, who works with my husband, to provide the Hindi translation. I was interested to notice when it came back that there was a word in brackets.
"What is this word?" I asked, pointing at it.
"It says 'gate'," came the reply.
"But why is it in brackets?"
"Because the word in front of it is the Hindi word for gate. We don't use this word usually, instead we say 'gate' in English."
"So why don't we just transliterate 'gate', instead of using the Hindi word for gate as well?"
"Because that would not be correct. We must use the Hindi word and then explain that we mean 'gate.' That is the right way to do it."
So, we have a sign that says, in English, Arabic and Malayalam, 'PLEASE KEEP THE GATE CLOSED AT ALL TIMES'.
In Hindi, it says 'PLEASE KEEP THE GATE (GATE) CLOSED AT ALL TIMES'. So really, this is Gate (Gate) Cat.