The Cat in the Ghat
Ambika Rao
Ruchi Shah
age group: 
5+ yrs
Number of pages: 
Pratham Books
nature and wildlife humour nuturalist
picture book

The Cat in the Ghat is a lyrical and comical story of Uncle Sandy who has given up glamorous and lucrative professions to pursue his passion for wild life photography. Uncle Sandy is also searching for a mysterious cat in the mountains that he had encountered on his first expedition to the Western Ghats. Since then he had been on the cat’s trail to capture a picture on his camera to prove its existence. He searches the Ghats extensively, quizzing many interesting animals on the way, but fails to find the elusive cat.

The bend to the story sets in when Uncle Sandy says a silent prayer,
“Protect these forest, oh dear God, please,
Save them so the animals can live in peace.”
Uncle Sandy is then greeted by dark faced Krishna who lives in the forest and moves around unquestioned! Krishna guides Uncle Sandy in the right direction.

If delved deeper there is a subtle layer of philosophy to be unfurled. The eternal and elusive search ‘Maya’ is personified in the cat, which is never realized. The human yearn still tracks it perpetually. The dark faced boy Krishna is a manifestation of God, the guiding light, who answers sincere prayers and helps human beings to seek the truth.

The writer has done an admirable work by creating such a deep and thought provoking book in her maiden attempt at writing for children. The book introduces children to animals and their characteristics such as the rare Lion-tailed Macaque, Nilgiri Tahr and the Indian Purple Frog. Whilst the soft pastel colours of the illustrations lend a subtle charm to the book they also represent the fun and philosophical elements in the story. Read the book to unearth what Uncle Sandy discerns-the complete truth or does it still eludes him! 

Reviewed by Ruhi Gurjar