The Copy Kitten (my younger daughter) desperately wishes to grow up double-quick to catch up with Lil Cat (her elder sister). To hasten this disappointingly slow process (frequent comparisons of height in the mirror reveal very minuscule changes), she tries to use big big words in a grown-up manner. The only snag is that she has not learnt the meanings of all the little little words yet, so the results of her efforts are often quite surprising.
One day, demanding some medicine for a stomach ache (she frequently claims to have this, with accompanying expressive groans and grimaces), she said, “Give me some Harry Potter”. It was only after investigating the medicine box that we realized that she meant “Gripe Water” (which, incidentally, I also loved so much that I would feign stomachaches quite often).
Another day, wanting to try on her Dida’s (grandmother’s) deodorant, she kept on asking for ‘aloevera’. To complicate our confusion, she insisted on pronouncing it as ‘aloe-beral’. Since ‘beral’ means CAT in Bengali, we were all very much amused. But the gutsy little kitten stuck to her guns, saying, “Na, aloe-beral boley aekta jinis hoy” (No, there is something called aloeberal).
Last year, an over-excited Copy-kitten, dressed in her chaniya-choli finery, had announced to the family that she was going to dance the ‘gabra’. Since then, our Navratri celebrations have centred round the ‘gabra’ rather than the ‘garba’.
Sometimes, she mispronounces P as K. So the song about the POSTMAN becomes:
“COASTMAN aaya, COASTMAN aaya/ Kitney letters laya, kitney letters laya?”
(The Coastman has come, how many letters has be brought?)
In her defence, it may be said that since Mumbai is a coastal city, the mailman may be regarded as arriving from the coast.
And, of course, the Pussy Cat who went to visit the queen often becomes the KHUSI CAT (‘Khusi’ means ‘joy’ in Bengali). But that is OK with us, because she is after all a Khusi Kitten. And her big sister, the Lil Cat may laugh at her attempts, but it is all in good sport and fun, like the real kittens under the stairs play.