Missing Kitty [en]

My cat has been missing for a day, which is highly unusual. I’m letting off a bit of pressure by writing it down (and also, I am getting slightly bored of repeating the story on IRC). Oh, and don’t feed other people’s cats. Thank you.

[fr] Mon chat Bagha a disparu depuis hier après-midi. Je suis inquiète, je tourne en rond chez moi, donc j'écris. Cela m'évitera également d'avoir à  répéter tous les détails cent fois sur IRC. Ah oui, le message du jour, c'est: ne nourrissez pas les chats de autres. Merci. (Edit: il est rentré sain et sauf!)

Update 13.08 13:30: The cat just came home, safe and sound. I’m so relieved!

18:00: Bagha came back through the downstairs neighbour’s window, as usual. He messaged me, I ran there, picked up the cat and squeezed him (OK, not too hard, I know my cat basics). He ate a little, meowed, cuddled, and very soon wanted to go back out. Sign, in my opinion, of a cat who has been locked up rather than one who has been roaming around for two nights in a row. I feel like somebody has turned on the light after two days of fumbling around blindly in the dark.

The Story

Bagha has been missing now for over 24 hours.

He’s an outdoor cat. I let him out in the morning. He comes in and out as he wishes during the day. I bring him in for the night. He sleeps in the crook of my arm.

It usually takes me about 3 minutes to find him in the evening. If he’s not waiting for me in front of the building when I come home, I take my usual little trip around the neighbourhood and here he comes, running or trotting out of one of his favorite “places”.

Very rarely, I don’t find him straight away. I go out a couple of hours later, or he comes in on his own.

Even more rarely, I go to sleep without having found him. Let’s say that happened maybe ten times in the four years we’ve lived here. I then leave the door open with the chain (like during the day) so that he can slip into the flat. He takes advantage of other people going in and out to get into the

building. I wake up in the morning to find him curled up on my feet — or at the very worst, I find him waiting downstairs outside the door.

Not this morning.

I couldn’t find him last night. I’d been away all afternoon and part of the evening (nothing unusual). Between 8pm and 1am, I must have spent approximately 4 hours touring the extended neighbourhood, calling for him.

I checked the roads, of course. I always check the roads. I’m terrified one day I’ll find his dead body on the sidewalk. I know this fear comes from inside me much more than from the actual danger: it’s a slow road, Bagha has a healthy fear of vehicles, and he’s a pretty calm, laid-back cat who won’t be caught suddenly dashing into the middle of the road because something startled him.

Still, I check the roads.

This morning, I started touring the neighbourhood again. Further than the places I know he goes to.

Conclusion: he’s not outside, or I would have found him. (Well, he would have found me, that’s usually how it goes.)

So I toured again, calling outside garage doors, pausing and listening. He’s got a loud voice. I’ve heard him calling from the cellar or the flat on the fourth floor where he was locked in once. He knows how to make himself heard.

This, I tell you again, is the cat who usually comes running to me once he’s seen me.

He’s microchipped. This means that if somebody takes him to the vet or the shelter, he’ll be identified as mine and I’ll be contacted. If he gets killed by a car, he’ll be identified by the team who deal with animal remains, and I’ll be contacted. I checked all this with people involved. No, they hadn’t found my cat.

I spent the afternoon printing out leaflets to stick on the entrance doors of the neighbourhood buildings (I had already put one in mine before I left for lunch). Now there are 30 leaflets with contact details, photograph and description of the cat, as well as my suspicion that he is either injured or locked in somewhere, plastered all over the neighbourhood. As you are bound to ask, he’s neutered, so he’s not after some hot female kitty.

One phone call, from a man who said he’s just seen my cat. I went to see, knowing there could be a confusion — there are about 4-5 cats around here with similar markings to mine. I don’t think it was mine; first of all because it was outside, and I tell you, if Bagha was somewhere outside I would have found him; second because I went there, and called, and called again, and no cat appeared. But who knows. Maybe something really strange is going on here. I didn’t see the cat this man had spotted, so I can’t say for certain.

Now I’m back home, vaguely waiting for the phone to ring or the cat to walk in, trying to find something to do with myself. I feel like hell. I don’t know how I made it through the day. I miss my cat horribly, and I’m so worried that something bad might have happened. The thought I might not see Bagha again is just too hard to bear.

Is this the price to pay for love and attachment? Now I know why a part of me gave up on love so long ago. It hurts way too much. Yes, hard times and sad times are a part of life just like all the rest. But they shouldn’t have to be quite as horrible as moments like this one.

So while I’m at it, let’s be a little constructive. Do you ever feed “stray” cats? Think twice. Cats are always interested in food, specially if you give them nice juicy tuna when all they get at home is vet-recommended dry food. (By the way, don’t give too much fish to cats — it contains thiaminase, an enzyme which destroys the amino acid thyamin, which cats are incapable of synthesizing.) The “hungry stray” might very well be just a clever beggar from the next block. Bagha regularly gets fed all over the place, even though I spend my time asking people not to do so.

Feeding somebody else’s cat just lures it away from its home and owner, centre of territory and primary source of nourishment and cuddles. So please, don’t feed other people’s cat. For all you know, the cat may start making a daily trip across a busy road to come and sample the delicacies you have to offer.

Thinking of adopting the cat that wandered into your living-room one day and avidly lapped up the milk you gave it? Some very worried owner may well be looking for it. Make thorough enquiries in your neighbourhood before getting too involved with it (feeding, naming, buying a litter-tray). This may sound stupid, but while my upstairs neighbours were keeping Bagha during my first trip back to India, he was simultaneously being adopted by a nice couple living just the other side of the road. He still came back here to sleep, but he spent his days there, complete with name and tinned food.

So, to sum it up: cats are independant animals and like to look masterless. It doesn’t mean all of them are stray. Oh, and please don’t feed other people’s cats.

Now I feel a bit better. I’ll tour the garages and cellars again once it’s nice and silent during the night. Of course, I’ll let you know as soon as the kitty turns up again. Thanks for listening.

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First Day in Vienna [en]

A first uneventful day in Vienna. Ethernet at the Hotel Atlas, too much walking, an expensive orange juice and a nice girl on the train.

So here I am, in Hotel Atlas, with free ethernet, a non-feather pillow, a bathtub, and already a few more books to add to my collection.

BlogTalk will start on Monday, so I have the week-end before me to do some exploring. I’m open to suggestions, still!

My first day here has been pretty uneventful (barring “rain” from the “events” category). I’ll just make three notes.

Firstly, if you go to have breakfast at Café Westend, just opposite the station, and the waiter asks you if you would like some orange juice, be prepared to pay as much for it as for the whole breakfast (approx. 5’€, perfectly reasonable for the breakfast, perfectly overpriced for the orange juice — even though it is freshly pressed). I made the mistake of thinking it was included, and was nastily shocked when I got the bill.

Second, I tend to walk way beyond my limits of tiredness. I just don’t stop. It’s so annoying. All the more now, as I actually catch myself doing it, but still can’t stop. I really have to find a way to avoid walking myself to death this week-end.

Third and last, I made a friend on the train to Zürich — fate had me sit right opposite Andrea, who lives in Geneva and was also making her way to Vienna. We’re meeting again tonight, with her (very nice and local-now-expat’) boyfriend.

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Vie [en]

Relativisme

Je suis une victime de la suspension du jugement.

Les crises de la vie et mon parcours académique m’ont appris à  faire abstraction de mon jugement et de mes a priori lorsque je suis face à  un événement ou une idée.

Je suis devenue experte dans l’art de poser mes valises et de sauter sur d’autres rochers que le mien pour explorer des points de vue différents. Mais à  force, j’ai perdu mes valises. Je ne fais que bondir de rocher en rocher, sans me reposer sur aucun.

Je veux retrouver un rocher dont je pourrai dire “celui-ci est le mien”. Je veux retrouver mes valises – ou plutôt en racheter, parce que depuis le temps, la mer les a certainement emportées.

Il faut oser hiérarchiser les points de vue. Mais j’ai trop peur de me tromper.

Identité

En écho à  ce sentiment de dissémination de moi-même, je sens depuis quelque temps le besoin d’unifier mes identités. J’ai trop d’adresses e-mail. Il fut un temps où cela me rendait comfortable, mais maintenant elles sont devenues un obstacle.

Je n’ai jamais fait de cloisonnement étanche entre “moi online” et “moi offline”, mais j’ai toujours gardé mon identité réelle soigneusement cachée. Chaque pseudonyme que j’ai utilisé avait sa propre adresse e-mail – même s’il s’agissait à  chaque fois de moi.

C’est en train de changer. Déjà , en achetant un nom de domaine, j’ai laissé voir mon nom au monde, pour qui sait le trouver. Et récemment, j’ai commencé à  avoir une envie grandissante qu’on m’appelle par mon vrai nom. Je ne cesserai pas pour autant d’utiliser “Tara” – mais je veux me sentir libre de briser cette censure auto-imposée.

Verbe

Comme la vie fait parfois bien les choses, j’ai suivi ces deux derniers jours le premier volet du cours-bloc sur l’Islam donné à  l’UNIL. La culture arabe a un rapport à  la parole très fort, mettant en avant sa performativité. Dire, c’est faire. Ecrire un poème d’amour à  une femme, c’est aussi grave que de la toucher.

Cela me fait penser à  quelques réflexions que j’ai envie de mettre par écrit depuis longtemps sur la puissance du nom. En effet, dans nombre de civilisations, connaître le nom de quelqu’un, c’est détenir un pouvoir (magique) sur lui. Ce n’est pas sans raison que l’on ne connaît pas le nom de Dieu.

Internet est le lieu de la puissance de la parole. La plupart des canaux de communication non-verbaux sont coupés. On ne peut pas agir – sauf par les mots *sourire*. J’ai mentionné il y a quelque temps le cas du “viol virtuel“.

Je crois qu’il ne serait pas inintéressant de considérer à  cette lumière l’utilisation des pseudonymes (qui reste très populaire dans les forums ou les lieux publics, même pour les gens qui ne cachent pas leur identité). Que représente “donner son vrai nom” à  quelqu’un ? Pourquoi une des questions de prédilection chez les chatteurs inexpérimentés est-elle justement “quel est ton vrai nom” ?

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Crossroads [en]

warning: lots of “me” stuff ahead – probably not of interest to the rest of the world.

As months go by, I am approaching the exciting yet scary end of my life as a student. There are too many roads ahead for me. I’m not sure which one I want to take. I would like to take them all, in fact, but sadly they seem to be mutually exclusive.

Once more I am faced with my eternal problem: wanting to bite of more than I can possibly chew.

Actually, there is more to it than that. Because it raises the question of what I intend to do of my life. And life, for me, is more than just finding a suitable job, earning money and raising a family.
I’m not worried about being capable of finding a job and staying employed. I’m not worried about the amount of money I’ll earn, as long as it allows me to live. Having a family is maybe another issue, but this is not the place or the time to delve into it.

I want to reach out to the world. I want to reach deep inside myself too. I want to keep learning and growing, and I want to give to others. And I don’t want to confine myself to one single domain.

I’m finishing a degree in history of religions (Indian), philosophy, and French – having learnt some Sanskrit and Hindi on the way. In a bit more than six months, I’ll be starting work at Orange – a job in the low levels of project management in a young company, involving lots of hours in front of a computer, solving problems, and hopefully putting to work some of my so-called web design skills.

I already know I don’t want to do that job all my life. But setting foot in the “business world” is frightening to me. I’m a bit afraid of staying stuck in it. I don’t have a business-oriented mind at all. I am a rather “anti-consumerism” person. I like reading philosophy and religion books and I want to change the world. I want to teach judo some day and possibly write stuff that others might read. I like fiddling with computers and talking with people hours on end. I like too many different things and I don’t want to lose them. I’m complicated, too. I want a high responsability job but I don’t want to work full-time. Putting it in French: “Je veux le beurre, l’argent du beurre, et le fils du laitier.”

And now I’m starting to sound like the average whining “I want it all” teenager – and I’m supposed to be a bit old for that now. Time to stop the navel-gazing ; )
Luckily, I have more than a year ahead of me to sit at the crossroads and look down the paths. Maybe I’ll pitch a little tent there to make it more comfortable while I wait.

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Akirno [en]

Akirno grandit. J’en suis toute folle. C’est comme s’il était un peu mon enfant – vous me pardonnerez donc si pour une fois je vous gratifie d’une entrée de weblog un peu bateau…

Il a deux ans et demie, maintenant. Il est toujours le même petit bonhomme joyeux, vif et joueur. Il babille toute la journée, et les crises de frustration commencent à  se présenter de temps à  autre.

J’avais cette idée (pas totalement fausse, d’ailleurs) que les tout petits enfants avaient la mémoire très courte. A chaque fois que je revois Akirno, j’ai peur qu’il ne me reconnaisse pas, qu’il m’ait “oublié” et qu’il faille reconstruire. Je crains que ce lien ne s’effiloche et ne finisse par se distendre et disparaître avec le temps.
Chaque visite me donne tort. Cela devient toujours plus facile de renouer. Il fait le timide pendant quelques minutes, et une demi-heure plus tard c’est comme si je n’avais jamais quitté la maison.

Aujourd’hui fut une excellente journée. Pas une larme, rien que du jeu, des rires, de la tendresse et de la bonne humeur. Même en inde, je ne me souviens pas d’un jour pareil.

Ce soir, nous avons dansé, et il a dormi sur moi près d’une heure, pendant que sa mère remplissait son inscription pour l’université cet automne. Quand j’ai allumé la musique (un CD de tubes hindi de l’hiver passé, toujours le même: Dil hi dil mein), il a littéralement grimpé dans mes bras alors que j’arrivais pour le chercher.

Il y a quelque chose d’extrêmement fort à  sentir s’endormir un petit enfant dans ses bras. La première fois, à  Pune, cela avait été magique. Et cela reste un petit miracle à  chaque fois.
Je n’ai pas avec moi les mots pour le raconter. Ceux qui ont des enfants savent très bien de quoi je parle, et ceux qui en auront le comprendront à  leur tour le moment venu.

Akirno est un petit cadeau du ciel. C’est bateau de dire ça d’un enfant – mais des fois le “bateau” est le “vrai”. J’ai un peu le sentiment d’être comme son troisième parent. Je crois que peu de monde en occident a la chance inouïe d’occuper une place pareille… J’imagine que pour la plupart des gens, le premier bébé avec qui l’on crée un lien fort, c’est simplement le sien.

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Difficile [en]

Il y a des jours où la vie semble plus difficile de d’habitude.

Ce sont les jours où l’on reste au lit jusqu’au dernier moment possible parce que se lever signifie qu’il va falloir affronter sa journée. Alors on traine un petit soi gris à  travers les heures et la poussière. Le soir est là , et l’on se couche sans avoir vraiment eu l’envie ni le coeur de faire quoi que ce soit.

Heureusement, je sais qu’il y a aussi ces journées où l’on bondit hors du lit les yeux grand ouverts au soleil qui brille. Tout est facile, la vie est un sourire, quelque chose nous porte. On se couchera tard mais pas trop, histoire de ne rien rater de cette journée, mais de ne rien prendre non plus à  la suivante.

J’ai besoin de vacances. Heureusement, j’ai un billet d’avion partant dimanche pour l’Angleterre.

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Mirror, Mirror… [en]

Paralyzed [en]

My thoughts are paralyzed. I’m not so naive as to think that my ideas are original. They have most certainly been already thought, discussed and opposed to.

It is a risk I have to take. I must take the risk of stating the blatantly obvious. Of saying wrong and being told so. Of being misunderstood. And finally, the risk of seeing my words say something else than what I intended.

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Paralysée [en]

Je n’ose plus rien dire.
Je sais que mes idées sont probablement loin d’être originales, et qu’elles ont sans doute été débattues, démontées et leurs faiblesses mises en lumière par des gens bien plus cultivés et compétents que moi.

Je cède sous le poids de l’inutilité. Je me sens prise dans un monde d’idées qui appartient déjà  à  autrui, d’idées qui ont déjà  été pensées, et dont je ne peux échapper.
Il n’y a pas de point final, et c’est pourtant ce que j’aimerais tellement trouver.

Pourtant, j’ai besoin d’écrire pour réfléchir. Je dois prendre le risque d’avoir tort, prendre le risque de m’inscrire dans un courant de pensée critiquable ou de ne pas parvenir à  communiquer le fond de ma pensée. Parce que je veux avancer.

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Say [en]

I think I’ve always felt I had something to say to the world – something to leave behind me.

Is everybody like that or is it just me?

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