Mano, the NRI! – Part 1

Mano, the NRI! - Part 1
May 07, 2019 by

“My love affair with Mano began in July 2007. I never had a pet before and the very concept of getting one was an exotic thought for me. I was on a sabbatical and spend some time in Mozambique, and out of the blue, I decided that I had to have a pet! But I lived in a society that didn’t allow one to keep dogs. So I decided to get a cat instead. I spoke to a few people about it, and it was suggested to get a kitten so that I can train it to travel with me. When my gardener, all of 17 years old heard me enquiring about it, he offered to get me a Gata (the Portuguese word for cat). After that day, he didn’t mention anything for a while so I thought he had forgotten about it.

Two weeks later, the gardener called and asked me to come home immediately. When I reached home, I saw him waiting for me outside my house with a bag hanging precariously on his bicycle’s handlebars. That bag had 4 strategically cut holes, which were holding a tiny kitten in place. I went closer and heard tiny sounds coming from the bag and out came a quivering Mano! She refused to let go of my shirt when I picked her up. I looked at her and I was enchanted.

However, I decided not to break the news to my parents yet, because I knew it would be an uphill battle. I waited until we were back from our vacation in Zimbabwe, during which time, my gardener fostered Mano for me. When I announced that I had a surprise for them, they told me that since I got her, she’s completely my responsibility. I was just happy that they weren’t asking me to return her.

Once Mano came home, it was as if she was nuclear-powered and went bouncing all around the house. I decided to give her a bath. She was obviously trying to scurry away from the bathtub, but I managed. Once done, there was a weird sensation in her body. She was purring, which I mistook to be shivering. So I blow dried her immediately and placed her near a lamp for heat. I worried that I had unknowingly put her in harm’s way by bathing her. I went to sleep with a guilty conscience. When I woke up the next morning, there she was. Alive, full of energy and rolling out of a tray! She hadn’t yet learned how to land on all her fours post jumping!

The next thing I had to deal with, was to figure out what she would eat. She rejected milk, eggs, boiled chicken, etc. She had only a few crumbs of bread and it worried me. Then, when I went to make some lunch for myself and took out the prawns from the refrigerator, Mano jumped on to the kitchen platform! She mewed loudly, demanding to be fed! Eventually, she got used to eating the packaged wet food. Even after I shifted to India, for the first 4 years, I had to order her food from South Africa because she didn’t like the local packaged food.

We initially thought Mano was a boy and hence named her Tom. Because we were fond of the Tom and Jerry Cartoon! Only when I took her to the vet to get her checked out for her flea treatment, I got to know she was a lady :)”

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