TODAY -

Cat's Nature : Haudonggi Lamchat
- From a book by N. Bemni Singha -

James Oinam *

Illustration by James Oinam
Haudonggi Lamchat :: An Illustration by James Oinam



Once upon a time, there lived a naughty cat. He was a nuisance to everyone. But there was a house that suffered the most because of him. Every day, like a clock work, he went to the house to steal—fish and milk and other tasty food.

The owner of the house made up his mind that he will teach a lesson to this cat. So one day he hid in a corner and waited for the cat. The cat after chasing and tormenting little birds all day long got tired. He was tired and thirsty. Immediately, the cold and sweet taste of milk came to his mind.

So he headed for the house. Slowly and quietly, the cat crept up to the vessel where the milk was kept. The owner lost no time. He picked up a stick lying nearby and thrashed the cat. Then he hung a necklace made of lai-tharoi around the cat's neck as punishment.

The cat came out of the house limping, with a heavy weight hanging in his neck. Then suddenly he saw a holi man coming towards him. He was carrying a walking stick. Being just beaten up with a stick, the cat was dazed to see another man carrying a stick.

The holi man saw him and came nearer. In a reverent manner he asked the cat:

'Namit yeng-ngi tathak-tathak
Ngaksham yeng-ngi [leng-ngi] sanagi likthon
Kadaida chatkadauriba mekubani?
'

(Looking at me with big wondering eyes
Wearing a golden necklace in the neck
Where to Mekubani?)

The cat was relieved to see that the holi man meant no harm. So he asked:

'Nakhutta lathi, na-ngakta tulsimala
Nanamda poyom, nakanda jholi
Kadaida lengbigadauribano jogiraja?
'

(With a stick in your hand, a tulsi necklace around the neck
A load on your back, a jholi by the side
Where to king of holi men?)

The holi man replied: 'I have given up this worldly pleasures. And I am going to the Vrindaban to spend my life there.'

On hearing this, the cat felt much ashamed of himself. But then it is said good manners for a cat is like a stain on his body that he can lick it off, and within moments everything is gone.

And so just as the holi man left, the cat headed for another house sniffing about for fish and milk.

Notes:

Lai-tharoi is a type of tharoi (snail). Lai-tharoi is small and elongated. The word lai means god (good/evil).

Tulsimala (tulsi necklace): The stem of tulsi plant (Ocimum sanctum) is cut into pieces. These are then sharpened to dumbbell shapes. The pieces are tied around the narrow waist along a thread to make holi necklace. Mala means necklace in Hindi.

Jholi is like a shawl. The ends are tied into a knot so that one can insert his/her arm through it and hang it over one's shoulder and use it like a bag.


Source Details:

Translated from 'Kang Amomgi Tentha' story in the collected work Funga Wari, Vol. 3
Author: N. Bemni Singha
Book Illustrator: N. Nongdon Sana
Publisher: Naharol Khorjei Thaugallup Jaribon
Year of Publication: 1999




* James Oinam wrote this article for e-pao.net
The writer can be contacted at jamesoinam(AT)gmail(DOT)com
This article was webcasted on May 02, 2018.



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