Recently, Sasmita and I were eating dinner. About halfway through, her eyes got big, and she excitedly told me that she saw ‘a big creature’ today, in the yard by the mailbox.
Intrigued, as always, by such pronouncements, I told her to continue. She told me that it stood as tall high as my knee, with a fluffy striped tail. I smiled, prodding her to continue with silent attention. I still did not understand which animal she was referring to.
Then she added, ‘it had weird eyes.’ I pressed her, ‘what do you mean, weird eyes?’
She told me the animal had black color all around its eyes. I immediately understood; she saw a raccoon.
I pulled out my phone, typed ‘raccoon’ into Google. I handed the phone to her. ‘Is this what you saw,’ I asked?
Raccoons do not live in India and she’d never seen one. It was another reminder of our vastly different backgrounds.
She confirmed that she saw a raccoon, and asked me the same question she always does when viewing an unfamiliar animal. ‘Does it eat people?’
Laughing, I told her raccoons do not eat humans. But it was best to stay away from them because they can be mean and aggressive.
One aspect of American life, which Sasmita initially found quite strange, but is slowly understanding, is America’s obsession with animals, especially pets and particularly dogs. read more …