This Magazine Store Persian is an expert on business travel.
When it comes to learning the actual stories of the cats that I photograph, I am afraid that, in India, I did not do well at all. Persimon Munk would have been disappointed in me. Perhaps, depending upon what one's version of the afterlife happens to be, Persimon Munk IS disappointed in me.
Concerning the cats of the Magazine Store and my failure to learn their stories, here are my excuses:
1: there were ten cats in that store and I was there for a very short time. The only one who could tell me the stories of the cats was the store owner, and he was very busy.
2: It took me 39 hours to travel from airport to airport, Anchorage to Bangalore, and when I left Anchorage I was already exhausted beyond reason, having just returned from Salt Lake City, where I saw my brother through open-heart surgery. Furthermore, it was hard to sleep in Bangalore, because, while the days were not nearly so hot as I had expected, the nights were hot and they were muggy and I am not used to that.
So I was exhausted, and it is hard to gather and remember stories when you are exhausted.
Still, I did talk to the store owner, Yahya Sait, briefly. Here is the little bit that I remember of what he told me:
He loves, cats, loves all animals, and whenever he takes a cat in, he does so for life. He does not sell the cats or give them away.
He has the biggest magazine store in Bangalore, perhaps in all of Asia (indeed, it is the biggest magazine store that I have ever been in). Most of the magazines are American or British, but he carries all the major Indian magazines as well. People flock into his store, but many of those people come just to see the cats, and not to buy the magazines.
Even so, these cat lovers do look around, and sometimes they buy magazines.
Most shoppers are thrilled to see the cats. He has to keep an eye out, and make certain that they do not handle them too much.
Occasionally, a mean person comes in who will swear at a cat, or even kick it. These people really irritate him; he wonders what is wrong with them, that they would behave this way. He must show them the door.
Many people tell him that after they die, they want to be reincarnated as a cat in his store. They believe they will have a very good life there. Remember - this is India, so when people talk about being reincarnated, they mean it.
You will remember this little fellow. As you can see, Niece Vidya is not the only person who fell in love with him that day.
The little brown kitten protests all the love and attention.
"Ahhhh," they say. "It's okay! It's okay!"
As lunch time approaches, an audience gathers to observe the cats.
Is he praying, or using the merchandise to sharpen his claws?
Patiently and with grace, this Persian poses for pictures.
A typical scene on a typical day in a typical store in the typical city of Bangalore, Karnataka, India, where nothing is typical at all.
I am pretty certain that this cat is trying to figure out how to tip over and break the vase, which might have been made by a famous potter.
If you click on this and blow it up, you will see that the Little Brown Kitten has stolen still another photo.
I wonder who this cat might be, and what was his life like before he came here?