Cats on the couch, and on your armrest


Last week I met up with an old friend after 30 years – while that was supposed to be a happy reunion, the visit had me on tenterhooks. Viju Menon has four dogs and 18 cats – all living happily under one roof. So in between sips of tea, I had kittens (and cats) darting though my feet and jumping over my shoulder. One little devil even got into my rather roomy shoulder bag and settled in for a cat nap.

There were times when six of them would snowball together and shoot across the room. Quiet moments were punctuated by the clamor of pots and pans besieged by an army of kittens. And right in the middle of all this my friend was calm, collected and eager to catch up on the last 30 years – while his wife looked heavenward, each time a stack of plates went crashing to the floor.

Looking back at that episode, I begin to wonder about people, and pets.

What’s a good number of dogs, cats, birds, and other animals? (In terms of normal / not so normal.) How do people actually manage to look after and feed them? What happens when the wife is a pet lover, and the husband is not? How do you go on a holiday, if you can’t find someone to feed four dogs and 18 cats? How much would your vet charge on home visits?

And lastly, one math question – how many liters of milk do you need in a day to feed 18 cats? (I didn’t see a milk vending machine in his house.)

Sharath Bhat

Image (c) sharath bhat

Sharath Bhat also blogs at &

Big on Talent > Vihan Damaris

Another beautifully rendered video by Vihan Damaris. We asked her what inspired her to do this, and why she picked this song.

I heard this song by Hollyn (a new Christian artist), and something about the genre and vocal style struck a chord in me that few Christian songs out there do. Not to mention the lyrics which, combined with the music, exhibit a strangely appealing mix of fierce vulnerability.

I had to do it.

Though it was different from what I’ve done before, it felt true, like I was unearthing a part of me that was waiting its turn. The video again tries to capture that wild spirit realizing its own mortality and pleading to be embraced by its maker rather than being left alone. In fact, I had to lock myself into a room of a room to be able to film the desperation that could be if I really was deserted by God. It’s a desperation that throws to the wind any trace of self consciousness that might have otherwise been there.

In the video there are many takes put together which you could say are different parts of me all joining hands in that one request- that God would not leave me alone with myself.

We interviewed Vihan in January this year
on the Big on Talent blog – here’s the link to the interview:

Talking to Vihan Damaris

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Thinking inside the box – quality assurance for online shopping


How often have your received a shipment from your “favourite” online store, that you want to return in a hurry?

And how often does this happen to me? At least four times, out of ten.

And these are leading online portals that I’m talking about. I’ve been sent shoes with their tongues sticking out and hanging by a thread, brand new books that arrived dog-eared, and painting canvases that were wrapped in old newspaper.

Getting rid of products gathering dust at a brick & mortar store is a strong temptation for rogue shippers – and they will do this as often as they can get away with it. Bound to happen when a portal offers its shopping interface to other sellers, and is not directly part of the sourcing or shipping process.

So how can you weed out the worms and keep the system clean? I don’t have an insider’s perspective on this, but administrators of these portals could have stringent measures in place that filter deliveries that deviate from the norm. In a sense, you do have a rating system these days, with actually customer comments and feedback – but what about the ones not featured in the rogues’ gallery?

More on this story on my Linkedin page >
Surprise package from online seller

Did you go on that vacation, last year?

People need to take their breaks from busy work schedules – as often as they can, and as often as they can afford to. Sounds exciting, but can be difficult if you’re in a high-pressure job or part of a team that has key deliverables right through the year. But I’m sure most of us can take that annual vacation to get away from regular work, and enjoy the outdoors – the wilderness beckons.

But from what I have seen, many people either choose not to go, or find some trivial excuse to give that vacation a miss. A vacation can work wonders, in terms of revitalizing your entire being – your mind, body and soul. You come back refreshed, and you come back wrinkle-free and smiling ear to ear.

Source: Q&A: Talking to Arathi Venkatesh of Bangalore