Ditto! Mere Mehboob! R.I.P. my Bollywood lovin’ billi.

I put my beloved cat, Ditto, to sleep today. She was approximately 16.4 years old and lived a great life! In fact she probably lead a life more comfortable than most people in the world are able live. I have never been present when a pet has been put to sleep until today, and was amazed that is was just as sweet as it was sad. Why do I write about Ditto here on a Bollywood blog? Well of course I have to write about her zindagi, I mean life, because I loved her and she watched most of the Bollywood movies I’ve seen with me! OK, I admit she slept peacefully through most of the films, unless there was a song, fight scene, or animal sound that piqued her interest and perked up her ears. I think she especially liked Lata and Asha’s voices. I will be looking for this little cat to perhaps be reincarnated into the next Indian Film Industry star! She’d be like that pretty actress who won a pagent, starts out as an item girl in films, but it turns out she can really act! Or maybe she’ll be a playback singer, hai na?


Now Ditto’s life was like a lot of Bollywood films. She started out as an orphan that my brother found abandoned, crying out on a cold and rainy night. I think it must have been a lot like the baby left in the park in Amar Akbar Anthony. My bhai brought her home temporarily. Cat lovers, you all know what temporarily means. But there was a problem since my brother already had a cat, Bud, and she was a dacoit! Bud had made my brother her keeper when she found him walking around the block at night, while he would secretly smoke cigarettes. Dacoit Bud and my brother had clandestine meetings that turned into a permanent living arrangement. This is typical of the tricky ways cats work; they scout you out and make you think you found them. Yet bandit Bud had a heart of gold, and though she spent time smoking, drinking Johnnie Walker, gambling, murdering birds, and pretending to have no regard for the new orphan Ditto, she secretly did love the new kitten. Bud proved her love of Ditto by protecting her from a menacing dog. The kitten copied much of what Bud did, and earned her name: Ditto. Fast forward 16 years, Bud has been gone for years, and Ditto has now joined her in cat heaven. Ditto was fond of the beautiful things in life, like napping in the sun, sight seeing out the window, and sleeping to Bollywood movies. She especially loved salmon, pastries, shiny colorful beads, and all plants, particularly flowers. I didn’t have the luck of discovering the joy of having a pet cat until I was an adult. I had a great bulldog as a kid, but no cat. So many wasted years of my youth were lived cat-free! This gorgeous, sweet cat improved my quality of life about 80% to 90%, and since I’ve had a nice life so far, that’s saying a lot! Her sweet spirit and memory shall live on forever. Ditto’s movie watching career (in this lifetime) ended on a high note with Mere Mehboob (translation:My Beloved, how fitting!) and 4 of the 5.5 hours of Peter Brook’s The Mahabharata. On a side note, don’t you think when you take apart the name Barack Obama it sounds a lot like Mahabharata all mixed up? Ba-Rak-O-Ba-Ma. Ma-Ha-Bha-Ra-Ta.

Last night when I knew I’d be putting Ditto to sleep today, I was checking the blog stats page, which shows what search terms bring people to your blog and the highlighted stood out to me:

I must have at one time used the words, “night is always darkest before the dawn” in this blog and someone was led here that way. I am always on the look out for mystical coincidences, and took this to be a lovely one that revealed a message I needed to read last night. How sweet! Isn’t life grand?

At times artistic expression can convey the deepest of feelings and send a healing message. The wonderful film Jaane Tu … Ya Jaane Na (2008) has just such a message in a song that fits my situation today: Kabhi Kabhi Aditi Zindigi. In this tune Genelia D’Souza‘s character Aditi has a cat that has just died and her friend, played by Imran Khan, tries to cheer her up. The beautiful music is by the illustrious A. R. Rahman, with playback singer Rashid Ali, picturized on D’Souza, Khan, and a kitten!

One of my favorite bloggers, TheBollywoodFan, recently tranlated the lyrics to all the songs from JTYJN. You can read his full translation of Kabhi Kabhi Aditi Zindigi here. I’ve copied some of his translation to the song here to show you how it was just what I needed today and has a message that we all need:

Occasionally, Aditi, in life like this, it feels like someone belongs to us. Occasionally, Aditi, when he/she separates, it feels like it was a dream. In such a case how can on keep one’s tears from flowing? And how can someone think that everything’s gonna be OK?…Listen a little, the uncontrolled wind starts telling you, that Aditi, those who separate meet again, Aditi, whether or not you know the flowers blossom again.

Bollywood coming through for me in a tough spot! So I will continue to watch movies, missing my sweet little Ditto and being thankful for the great times we had. Maybe a new cat will find me when the time is right. There has been a cat hanging around the house a lot lately, looking like he or she would like to come in. I wonder if that billi would like Bollywood?

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17 thoughts on “Ditto! Mere Mehboob! R.I.P. my Bollywood lovin’ billi.

  1. Some of you blog readers have sent me very touching and loving personal emails regarding Ditto’s passing. Thanks so much for your sweetness! You remind me of Ditto. :)

  2. May I wrote from a Sanskrit poem by Yogesvara?

    “See the cat of the clouds, lapping on high
    With flashing tongue the moon-milk from the sky”

    May Ditto find the most pillowy cloud of all on which to groom herself and nap after her meals of moon-milk (which I understand is rich, creamy and similar in flavor to the water in which canned salmon and tuna are packed).

  3. Very sorry to hear about Ditto.

    I’ve had quite a few cats in my life; the last year has been the first time in about 25 years that I’ve lived without cats. I had a cat who lived with me for ten years up until the middle of 2006, whom I had to ship off to friends because I was having housing problems, and I was moving into a shared house for a year where there were already three cats – which the landlord thought, for some reason, was too many(!) (I thought this parting would be temporary, but my old cat is so settled in the other place now, it would be a shame to uproot him again, even if I found a good house for both of us.)

    In this shared house with three cats, one of the cats moved into my room, abandoning my downstairs neighbor – which she (the neighbor) didn’t like one bit! But cats always tend to seek me out when they can. :) I wasn’t a Bollywood addict at that time (yet), but I played a lot of music, and this cat loved M.I.A. and Bally Sagoo.

    Cats are the most wonderful companions, and it is awful to lose one. There’s no such thing as replacing one lost loved cat with another, because of course every cat is an individual and cannot be replaced. But I have a feeling another cat will find you soon enough, delighting you in its own unique ways.

    P.S. I used to care for a colony of cats in Brooklyn, observing their social behaviors, and…yes, indeed, there are feline dacoits!

  4. Hi Sita ji

    Hope you will be all well and enjoying life.

    Though it is about something very sad but feelings about Ditto are very well written like a piece of literature.

    I remember my father had a cat when we were not with him and saw it later and also a chakor which will twit sometime strongly as trying to break the silence.

    These soulful creatures fill joy in our ambience free of cost…….joy which is otherwise very precious…like buds when they appear , give happiness and then turning into flowers another happiness and when fruit appears another one!!!!

    with love and respect,


  5. Dear Sitaji, deepest, deepest condolences. I grew up with cats, right from my first Kittuswami who was better than any watch dog (even my mother could not raise her voice if Kittu was around). These days, however, I have a dog. My last cat (male) disappeared and now Nigel (my sweet and loving Labrador) hangs out with me all the time. I know you will never replace Ditto, but I do hope you will get another cat (or vice versa) soon. with love, Namita

  6. Brahmanadam,
    Thanks for that! You actually were one of the few to ever to be able to feast your eyes on the heavenly creature, so you truly understand her beauty.

    Thanks girl! :)

    Ah, how nice that you understand so well. Why am I not surprised? I loved your story and this part in particular: “one of the cats moved into my room, abandoning my downstairs neighbor – which she (the neighbor) didn’t like one bit!” They are so tricky! And they intrinsically understand the beauty of Bollywood. :) You’re right about not being able to replace them as they all have such unique little quirks and habits. I can look forward to the acquisition of a new feline when the time comes and have the fond cat memories of Ditto.

    How wonderful to hear from you friend! Thanks for sharing your pet story too. Wonderful! I loved the words you wrote: “like buds when they appear, give happiness and then turning into flowers another happiness and when fruit appears another one!!!!” So true. Thanks again for your visit and kind, healing words. :)

    Sweet of you to say, thanks girl! :)

    Thanks for your visit and sweet words. I need to pay more visits to your blog. Thanks for telling me about your swell cat, Kittu. CUTE!

    Sukriya dost. You are very kind! :)

  7. I wish all pet owners were like you. I can’t stand those like Ellen Degeneres who goes into mourning like there’s no tomorrow – I just want to scream out to them “Suck it up! It’s an animal who was pampered to death, not ran over by a lorry! You can get another one which looks and acts the same! There are human-beings starving to death on this earth! Don’t you get it!?”… Grrrrr!

  8. Filmindia, it’s true that a pet isn’t a person, etc., and just as it’s hard to get too worked up over the peaceful death of a 90-year-old human who had a great life, the loss of a cat that was well cared for and died of old doesn’t tug at the heartstrings as much as that of a younger animal that died from, say, an act of abuse or terrible happenstance.

    Further, I do think that a lot of grieving pet owners find that a new animal quickly claims a place in their heart — often a little faster than they care to admit, even to themselves — despite their belief, or longing to believe, that no animal could ever replace the one they recently lost.

    But I’d be careful about admonishing pet owners to save their tears for starving human beings. If you’ve ever loved and lost a pet, you might find that the grief has a unique quality owing to the commitment you made to accept responsibility for this creature’s entire existence. I feel bad about people starving in any number of hell holes, but I don’t have formal responsibility for them, nor could I function if I took their suffering upon myself as a cross to bear. So I focus on my little corner of the world — on my family, perhaps, or an animal I’ve taken in.

    Remember, too, that the relationships that people form with animals are real, and it doesn’t take long to appreciate the fact that one’s pet values its life just as much as we value ours. We become that creature’s god. We’re the only thing standing between it and all sorts of threats. Moreover, in many cases, at least in affluent, socially stable countries, there’s a safety net for children. If a parent is abusive or neglectful, there’s a good chance that friends, family or authorities will intervene. But that’s usually not the case with pets. And even when there is a safety net, there’s no one really monitoring your treatment of the animal.

    Of course, the feeling of responsibility parents have for their children is typically far stronger than that displayed by pet owners, but a responsibility is a responsibility. And if you’re a good person with a conscience, you can’t help but want to do right by this creature whose life you willingly took into to your care, with no safety net.

    So yeah, you’re right, humans are starving, but don’t be too hard on pet owners who seem to be grieving inordinately. You don’t know what they’re going through. Mostly likely, the pet itself was just a symbol of something else, and that the real source of the grief is elsewhere. I suggest then that you continue your struggle to keep those teeth clenched so that your “grrrrs” don’t become words of derision.

  9. FiLMiNDiA,
    Thanks for your visit and comments. I think a lot of people share your beliefs, yet somehow I think most who have connected with the pure love of a pet understand that they do each in fact each have unique and beautiful qualities and in that way are irreplaceable; however, ironically pets can be replaced by another new unique pet with ease. :) I also think there’s no short supply of love in the world and just because someone does choose to love a pet doesn’t mean that some person somewhere is going without love in that pet’s place. I too remember Ellen’s escapade with that pet adoption gone bad and felt that there was something else beyond that that must have been troubling her, since her reaction was too extreme in my opinion, than the situation warranted. And just think, all that ill will between her and the others involved with the pet would ultimately have upset the pet she was trying to protect, so in retrospect, I think she too may have thought it went too far.


    Ellen is so funny, and also has shown great displays of generosity and sensitivity on her show, so I think that pet drama was an anomaly. I love pets, but even I think she went too far and had wished the situation could have been handled with more kindness all the way around.

    Ah, well said, yaar! As a loving pet keeper, you truly understand. It seems difficult for some to understand that loving pets doesn’t deplete people of the energy that may be better spent on loving people in need who are suffering and living in horrible conditions all around the world. Loving a pet doesn’t mean that those people aren’t also focuing on people in need. In fact, I would bet that if a study was done about pet owners/lovers in general, it would show citizens scoring in the higher percentiles when it comes to things like positively contributing to their communities, volunteering, donating to the poor, etc.. Of course non-pet keepers do all those great things too, but it seems clear to me that pet lovers are generally a soft touch, and yes some are crazy and take it too far. Pets indeed open people up to more love by showing so much love, hai na? It is too bad that not everyone has the luxury of keeping a pet. By the way, I know for a fact that pets are totally against torture, world hunger, war, and all human and animal rights violations, at least I know Ditto was. :D
    Thanks for yor visit and comments!

  10. Sorry to hear abt ‘Ditto’
    God works in mysterious ways…
    Its only later that we realize in life that He had a plan which were not aware of then..maybe this new cat u see hanging arnd is part of that plan?

  11. Thanks B, how sweet of you. That cat that was hanging around the house never came back after I put Ditto to sleep. Still looking for her. I did get a new cat from the Humane Society a couple weeks ago. This new cat does pay a small amount of attention to movies, but I don’t know what going on with her since I screened Mr. Natwarlal for her last night and she completely ignored the tiger, who played a huge role. Thanks for your visit and I like your blog!

    Check out Mere Paas Aao Mere Doston from Mr. Natwarlal:

    • Christy-ji,
      Thanks but no tears yaar, it was in 2008, and she’s been in cat heaven ever since, or possible reincarnated in to the next hottest Bollywood actress, or religious leader or something. I heard once from some physic, (James von Prague orSylvia Browne?) on TV that when you die/cross over, your pets from your life run to you, so I’ll see her then. I love that idea. :)

  12. Awwwww Sitaji, this is such an adorable post. I am 100% sure Pinku and Ditto are in Heaven together, lipsyncing to silly Hindi songs and exchanging tales about their loving humans. Many hugs, and may a cat adopt you soon :D BTW I’ve heard that line too, I think it’s either Sylvia or John Edwards (not sure) but I firmly believe it :)

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