A stone pelter – anyone who pelts stones. You already knew that dear reader? I do apologise!
Ambalpady? Ah seems like I caught you here! It’s not in the north of India as you might have thought, rather it’s a small place in the outskirts of Udupi district in Karnataka in South India.
And this is the place my parents chose to live their retired life in. As dad put it – after a demanding career as a doctor all he wanted to do was to spend his twilight years, to relax and unwind, in the calm and peaceful environment of Ambalpady.
That’s what they did in the initial months there. Dad built himself a decent villa with a little garden to keep mom busy and out of his hair. They had morning coffee listening to the rustle of coconut trees swaying in the breeze and dinner with the soft tangy scent of mango leaves wafting through the kitchen window. The hours in between were spent listening to the singsong cooing of a cuckoo here, the plaintive call of a peacock there and the moo of grazing cows yonder.
Idyllic days indeed! Too good to last you say? You’re right. They didn’t.
In just under a couple of years the muddy road running through their housing society was discovered as a short-cut by the vehicles and it soon became the preferred route for one and all.
And life changed for the retired relaxers. Mornings now began with the loud honking of a milk van as it trundled by at 5.30 am precisely. 2-wheelers and 4-wheelers raised the dust and noise all through the day as they rattled and bounced by, invariably honking loud and clear right opposite the house, as they negotiated the turn of the road.
Life became hectic too. New housing colonies had come up not far and their inhabitants, in the name of morning walks, prowled by and plucked the fresh flowers from the garden. Consequently, the parents had to be up and alert early in the morning to catch them red-handed. And if all this was not enough to keep them on their toes, things got even more dramatic and exciting once the animals entered the scene. And how!
Here I pause for a second to inform the dear readers that mother is an accommodating kind of person in normal circumstances. Even when cats and dogs of the neighbourhood treated her neat, well-kept-with-hard-work garden lawn as their private loo she kept her hair on.
But when for several days in a row the neighbors’ cats used her front door mat to do their stinking job then she kind of lost her hair and decided to do something about it. About the cats, I mean.
She gathered tiny pebbles and kept them near the front door!
Everytime a meow went up near the premises it was mom’s cue for ‘no words only action’. She would move stealthily to the door, pick up a stone and pelt it at the feline intruder.
Now, before members of PETA dash off letters to me beginning with, Dear Ms…, are you aware that harming animals etc etc…., let me assure all that not a stone has hit the target to date. As dad puts it – it would not hit a standing elephant, let alone a fleeing cat.
Nevertheless, the neighborhood cats are wary of the formidable stone-pelter of Ambalpady and they eye her balefully everytime they walk by the house.
She’s okay with that!
This piece is exactly as it appeared in the Times Of India Blogs. You may read the article in this link here