Laughs and life lessons from Kodai’s mysterious millenial agony aunt. (Illustration by Pia Alizé Hazarika)

Pity Paati to the Rescue

1. Ms PP, my partner is tired of the small-town questions about our relationship status and why we haven’t gottenmarried and had kids yet. Any advice?

Hi there No More Nosiness, Please!

Ugh, the horror. This, sadly, is a hazard of being unmarried in your twenties and above in a tiny town like Kodai, where everyone truly believes it is their birthright to know, discuss, and judge every single thing about your life. (Truly, reality television doesn’t have a patch on small-town aunties.)

Now, reasonable and mature individuals would advise you to deal with this issue by politely holding your tongue with as much grace and patience as a bison that can be mustered.

I am not one of those people.

Take a generous shot of tequila before your next encounter. Then, offer up fake, funny or completely bizarre answers: ‘We don’t believe in marriage ever since Angelina and Brad broke up’, or ‘The ghost of my first spouse won’t let me’ and then gesture towards absolutely nothing.

Of course, this might lead everyone to think you’ve gone bonkers. But it would, at least, solve your initial problem. Yours in solidarity.

2. Ms PP, my cat wants to live both indoors and outdoors. It’s hard to keep her confined. How do we live our best hill-station life—and keep our cat, too?

Hello Cat Around Town,

 You are approaching the situation entirely incorrectly. The trick is to surreptitiously convince your cat that staying indoors is something she actually wants to do—an idea that she has come up with by herself. To pull this off, you’ll need to make the inside of the house as fun and exciting as the outdoors, and a great deal more comfortable. Install a perch for your cat near large windows so she can warm herself in the sunshine and look intimidatingly at the birds. Put up cat trees to satisfy the desire to climb and keep her active and stimulated by giving her plenty of toys to chase, pounce on, and kill. Or, build her a catio. No really, it’s a thing. An outdoor enclosure will let your little furball enjoy the outdoors whilst you can relax knowing that she is safe. And this should keep you in her good graces, which as we both know, is why you wrote to me in the first place 🙂 (As a cat owner/slave, I understand perfectly). All the best.

3. Dear Pity Paati, my family is finding it difficult to finalize a place in Kodai for a holiday. Any tips?

Hello hello Wherefore Art Thou Holiday Home,

You’re trying to book a house in Kodai during what I assume is the ‘season time’? What made you go and do such a silly thing? Accept this virtual slap on the wrist. Trying to lock down an apartment or a cottage during peak tourist season is like…to put it in city terms, trying to find an Uber to take you home at 6pm.

So: Join a local WhatsApp group if you want the inside track. Or try to come up yourself as early in the morning as possible and head to the Kodai bus stand. There, ask the local taxi drivers for help—they are goldmines of information and should be able to give you a lead or two in exchange for a small fee. As a last resort, bring your tent along! Happy hunting!

Ms Perumalmalai

Ms Perumalmalai grew up in Kodai, worked in different cities in India, and has travelled around the world. She recently returned to Kodai and lives in Perumalmalai with her cat and rooms full of books.

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