Thursday, December 13, 2007

Tiger- and Zebra-stripes in One Day

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My Own and the Real Ones

Today, I wore a no-sleeved, dark-on-light-pink, silk, mock-turtleneck shirt that featured tiger-print, and since no-sleeved blouses are considered provocative on women in India, a long-sleeved shirt over it, left open. I amused myself, wearing tiger-stripes for our outing to Bannerghatta National Park, and Pat and our friend humored me.

We drove through a eucalyptus grove on the way. At the park, while Pat was some distance ahead, photographing one of the animals, our friend picked up a fallen leaf and told me to smell it. I was reminded immediately of my father's mother, my sabta (Hebrew for "grandmother"), and couldn't remember why.

In the car, Pat talked about how Halls used to sell eucalyptus cough-drops as candy, but when they were unpopular, they re-branded them as cough-drops. At that moment, it hit me that my sabta once must have eaten one and given me one, too, when I was very small.

At the gateway of another part of the park, our friend called us over and said, "This is what I remember most from prior visits here." It was a hinged sign that read in Kannada and English, "Open the door to see the most cruel being of the world."

As Pat opened it, she predicted that it would be what it was: a mirror.

The sign reminded me that I did manage to get Pat to see tigers while we were in India, just not at that resort that I wrote about some weeks ago. I was reminded, as I had asked the hotel keepers there, under special requests online, for feather pillows! It occurred to me later that even if the hotel had a vacancy, it wasn't interested, given where it was situated, in accommodating a guest's feather-pillow request.

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