As a family, we love fancy dress parties. My son’s at one right now; we go to at least one a year; if there isn’t one to go to, then we try and host one. I guess it’s something they put in the water where we live.
We like wacky themes. For example, when my wife turned forty, she chose the theme “Come as what you wanted to grow up to be when you were a child”. That led to some great entries, the winners being a couple in their twenties who came brilliantly “aged” as people in their 80s. When the theme was to “come as the opposite of you”, I went as a skinhead. Which was fine, up to a point. This was in the early 1980s, and most of the costume was easy to get hold of. I even managed to buy a plastic thingummybob to cover my hair, a skin-coloured skull-cap-like thing. But it was meant for someone whose skin colour was not my skin colour, and changing that was hard.
Most of the time, I try and go as a hippie; the family are used to it. I’m strange that way.
But I digress. Suffice it to say that we like dressing up in costumes.
Now as you know I come from India; when I first entered the West, I could not get over the kind of pampering that pets received, in terms of food and beds and toys and even shampoos. As a child I was told that the USA and the UK spent more on pet food than on aid, and I believed it. And since I’d been brought up to believe that a dollar of trade was worth a hundred dollars of aid, I was pretty relaxed about it.
Like most families with children, we’ve had canaries and budgies and hamsters and goldfish over the years. When it comes to serious pets, it’s been about cats; we have two great cats, Mudpie and Midnight, inherited from friends who’ve emigrated to the US, and a kitten, Tiger. Here’s a shot of the three of them quietly observing an interloper in the garden.
And here’s one of the kitten on his own. Sometimes he gets left out of things, because Mudpie and Midnight are sisters and they go back a long way. But he doesn’t let that get to him:
I hope by now to have established that (a) we love fancy dress as a family and (b) we’re used to pets. Yet nothing, absolutely nothing, prepared me for this, very topical, juxtaposition of the two: