Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Who let the cat out?

Today, I drove out and stuck my car into the worst ever traffic jam.
A narrow street, half of it being dug up, and cars stuck at strange angles which would make it quite impossible for anyone to go anywhere, unless some cars were to suddenly sprout wings.
So I stepped out of my car and plodded over to find out what happened. This is what I was told.
A black cat crossed the road.
The red car about to cross jammed on its brakes. The white car behind it and the 2 bikes behind that all went and smashed into the red car. A black SUV van from the other side of the road also refused to cross after the black cat, so it turned into a 1-way-road, and jammed up a dozen peace-loving vehicles on that road. Another bike with 3 people on it tried to get in between, and got in STUCK in between it all.
Everyone was arguing with everyone else. Like the Tower of Babel.
The red car had an angry woman screaming in Bengali. The white car had a driver screaming in Hindi. The auto drivers (from 11 cars down the road all came to pass loud judgement in Kannada). The black van had a teenager hurling choisest abuses in Punjabi (I think).
In the midst of this all, some smart guy on a moped thought he’d squeeze in between and get out, so he passed.
Some auto guy yelled out to him and told him he’d crossed the black cat path. The moped guy now came back to push the black van driver, who took a swing at someone else who had just stopped to listen.
Soon, it was back to Square One. Or by now, Octagon One.
A yellow school bus conductor had come out to join the fight. All the school kids were out playing in the dirty drain. Some guy came selling American Sun Shades. A woman with a kid drinking milk out of her came to beg for money. Some auto drivers left their autos in the middle of the mess and went to drink tea. A foreigner started taking photographs. And the black van driver threw him a punch too.
40 minutes later, by some miracle it began to rain. Everyone got into their own cars and started their engines. As the first car was about to pull out, the black cat, who had been sitting on a wall watching the entertainment, decided to saunter across the road again.

Learning : I am not superstitious, but probably really stupid. Because I cannot understand why I can’t cut hair on a Tuesday, or marry someone born on a Monday. Or why walking under a ladder, or crossing the road after a cat, or breaking a mirror will cause me 7 years of bad luck. Unless of course, the cat decides to stop crossing the road, and comes back to scratch me to shreds. In which, 7 years of bad luck will be the least of my worries.


  1. Only in Jane's life!! Jane you are lucky you are a witness to such lovely superstitions.

  2. Never cut your hair on a Tuesday or cut your nails on a full moon Night or cut your clothes when you're pregnant. There's some more for you. Very funny.

  3. btw...a cat crossing the road and coming back to cross it is supposed to bring great luck. as kids, most of the times when a cat crossed the road, we tried to beat it back to its original if you really crossed the road after the cat did twice..hurray!!and lots of luck.

  4. hahahaha happens only in India!!!

  5. oops you posted on a wednesday!!!. and an aside - did you bring back the cat ;-)

  6. I see that you find centuries of our traditions amusing. Please remember that you must not hurt anyone's feelings in your joint amusement.

  7. don't you just live for the adventures you find on indian roads :)

  8. I remember as kids, if being crossed by a cat, waiting for a dog to cross the road to nullify the bad omen. Of course, things went haywire if both crossed our roads at the same time. From opposite directions.

  9. but jane...the cat crossing is finally turning out to be a bad haven't written since ;)

  10. jane, where is the next post? who will let your readers' stress out if not for your posts :)