During our very recent stay in the Cochin/Ernakulam region of Kerala in the south of India, we encountered two drivers with disabilities.
The first was in central Ernakulam. He was the chauffeur working for a friend. His right arm was encased in surgical plaster of Paris from above his elbow to his finger tips. He drove well despite having only one functioning arm. Luckily for him, he was driving a car with automatic gear changing.
We met the second driver twice in picturesque Fort Cochin. He wore a surgical support collar around his neck. It was khaki in colour and matched his khaki autorickshaw driver’s uniform jacket.
The first time we were driven by him, we noticed his collar, but made no reference to it. The next time he stopped to pick us up, we asked him about the collar, guessing that he might have been involved in accident. We were not expecting his explanation.
The poor fellow related that when his wife had deserted him for reasons that he did not tell us, he had tried to commit suicide. Fortunately, his attempt failed because now his wife has returned to him.
I love cats. I have only ever ‘owned’ one. I named it Crumpet.
I was less than ten years old when Crumpet entered my life. I was lying in bed at home, recovering from a bout of tonsillitis, when my late mother brought Crumpet into my bedroom. She had only just bought the cat at a pet shop to cheer me up.
My mother, who was always nervous about me risking injury, would not allow me to open the tins of cat food that Crumpet enjoyed. She was concerned that I might cut myself on the sharp edges of the open tin lids. So, as my mother did not want to disturb my father, who did much of his academic work at home, she became responsible for feeding Crumpet.
Cats tend to be quite self oriented. They favour the people who feed them. In Crumpet’s case, it was my mother who received much of the cat’s attention. Our cat used to rub herself against my mother’s legs affectionately, especially when my mother was opening the cat food.
Now, here’s the rub. My self sacrifying mother could not bear cats. She put up with Crumpet for my sake.
Crumpet must have realised that my mother was not keen on her because after a few weeks our pussy abandoned our home for another about one hundred yards away from ours.
Since Crumpet deserted us, I have never kept another pet, but my fondness for cats has remained.