David Michie’s very Buddhist book was a gem I discovered while browsing through a bookstore. It was wrongly categorized and placed in the historical fiction section and that was how I picked it up. Immensely enjoyable antics of one Himalayan cat who also happened to be the narrator of this book made me read it cover to cover with a wide grin plastered on my face.
Bodhicatva, HHC (His Holiness’s Cat) and Rinpoche are some of the names our narrator assumes through the course of this book. Rescued by His Holiness The Dalai Lama from the streets of Delhi, Bodhicatva has been spending time observing the workings of the monastery at McLeodgunj. Being His Holiness’s Cat loads of love and care is showered on her. While she sits on her throne in close proximity to the man who rescued her, she becomes some sort of expert at doling out catty wisdom through her sharp observations.
The book’s appeal lies mostly in the choice of the narrator. HHC being a cat, a sharp one at that, becomes the third point of view to any discussion, argument or occurrence in the confines of the monastery. Through her we see the day-to-day implementation of Buddhist principles, life lessons to some of the famous personalities around the globe and some great cat worthy drama. The last one is solely due HHC’s flair for dramatics.
Essentially what happen to be Buddhist teachings are packaged in a way that not only showcases the author’s love for the feline creatures but also his deep understanding of Buddhism and deft hand at humor. Another reason for loving this book is that McLeodgunj holds a very special place in my heart. Reading the book and looking at the monastery and the small settlement through HHC’s eyes were like a gentle reminder to book my trip to the mountains.
© Literary Grand Rounds. No part of this post to be reproduced without express written permission