We’d been in Islamabad a few months when one morning we saw the following headline: “Cat House raided in posh Islamabad sector”.
A few days later, I went shopping for groceries to the out-of-bound Peshwar More market and on my way back hailed a cabbie. As I sat with my many shoppers (polythene bags) full of veggies, the youngish cabbie’s query had me shocked: “Aap to Cat House jayengee na?”
I decided to get off. As I was collecting my shoppers, he asked, “What happened?” I said “nothing”, wondering if the Urdu press too called a brothel “Cat House”.
The cabbie was insistent. “Aap ko woh Sector F-7 wale cat house jaana hai na?”
He knew my address too. I was furious. I knew we Indians looked different, but that different! I shuddered at what Bollywood had done to the locals. I decided to take my first panga in Pakistan. “What about that?” I challenged him.
“Aapko woh billiyon walle ghar hi jaana hai na?”
I heaved a sigh of relief. It turned out the cabbie had driven me home before and had met my cats in the driveway and decided to call our abode “Cat House”.
I laughed – glad that I had resisted the temptation to kick him. On my way home, we discussed cats and Bollywood – even though I was itching to ask him if he knew the Urdu equivalent of the real Cat House.