Chinna Katha


In the years gone by, every village home was stocked full of paddy bags, and so, rats too inevitably infested every home. In one such home they were celebrating every full moon day, the rite called Satyanarayana Puja. This required the collection of a good quality of milk and ghee, the previous night itself. The rats attracted cats and the cats often preferred milk and ghee to the rodent food they are accustomed to. So, the milk and ghee were carefully kept in places, out of reach of the cats. But, during the celebrations on the sacred day, the milk and ghee had to be kept open and available for use, in vessels around the shrine. That was the chance for the deprecatory cat; so the master of the house caught the cat by the neck and put it under a heavy basket, and placed a stone on it, so that it could not play any mischief with the holy offerings. This was done so consistently every full moon day as a safety measure in one home that the children and grand-children felt that, Puja or no Puja, no full moon day should pass without a cat being imprisoned under a weighted basket! They started searching for a cat and bring it home, so that the ritual of the cat and basket could be observed without fail.

The original meaning and purpose was lost during the passage of time and later generation were burdened with a belief that danger lurks if a cat is not dealt with in the way, of their forefathers. From being and insufferable nuisance, the cat rose to a new status of importance! This is a blind imitation.