She has had baby birds, two squirrels, a juvenile bat, and a giant black lizard of some kind (that I hid from my mother for a year), Malvika Nair has settled down to two cats and a dog. People perceive this combination in various ways. The most common reaction is that it’s probably a Tom and Jerry situation at home. “Of course it is, minus the expert cartoon engineering. But we do hear weird, loud, unexplained sounds,” laughs Malvika, 19, who is studying zoology.
The Furry Family
The eldest is Jinjer, a six year old male cat who likes to sleep, be grumpy, guard the house from other cats, while simultaneously sneaking his girlfriend Aleska in.
“Pepper, my second child, is a five year old dog that I picked up from a ditch near the Sakal Nagar vegetable market as a pup. He never minds his own business and tries to steal your morning chai every single day,” she says.
The youngest, and most coddled is Cookie (pronounced Kukkee mind you). “My two year old calico princess, who was born under my bed (to mom Aleska) is affectionate, extremely vocal except when you need her to be, follows me around like a dog on a leash, and has her way with the other two,” says Malvika picking up Cookie.
Space is important
Jinjer and Cookie, though they share every household necessity, like to give each other their space. Jinjer and Pepper have been together for so long, and been through so many behavioural changes, that now they’re just a pair of jealous siblings, who always want each other’s stuff. Pepper and Cookie, well, to put it simply, he’s soft on her and she’s a big bully, which is saying something, because Pepper is hardly a friendly, tolerant dog.
The dynamic that the three share between them, adds more flavour to the Nair home than chaat masala in lime soda. This is of course, in addition to their relationship to the other animal visitors (wanted or unwanted) in our home. There are two (adorable) stray dogs, who, if I miss their routine feeding, come up to the Nair’s second floor flat, and stick their head in through the cat door. This always earns a bottle-brush tail from the cats and a ‘go away peasants, there’s no food for you here’ elitist bark from Pepper. Only Aleska is allowed in.
The only time you see my two cats and dog amazingly unite forces, is when we are chanced upon by the infamously named ‘Black Cat’. He’s really more of a darkish grey with stripes, but the name stuck. He sneaks in through a window, steals the food, and also occasionally chills in the lounge for no apparent reason. “He should really stop being so relaxed, since all three of my animals are after his guts. Jinjer fights with him nearly every night- I say fight but it’s more of a loud yowling and screeching before either of them makes the first move, at which point Pepper usually hurtles himself towards them breaking up the fight. Cookie side tackles him without a sound,” explains Malvika, a student at the University of Glasgow.
“The most distressed in all these dramatic situations is my poor mum, who can’t stand it if one of her babies gets hurt. It’s funny because when I bought Jinjer home, initially Mum had said, “we’re keeping it for two days only, until it feels better, and then it goes up for adoption”. I guess the two days stretched on to six years by accident. If I’m not mistaken similar patterns followed for the other two as well” laughs Malvika whose mother Jyothi and sister Priyanka dote on the trio at home as much.
Currently on holiday in Pune, Malvika misses her babies a lot and looks forward to her Pune visits.