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Writing, Reading, and Rural Life With a Border Collie


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How a Human & a Street Cat Save Each Other in ‘But First, Rumi’

But First, Rumi (Ant Press, December 2020)

By Chitra Ramaswami 

Non-Fiction/Memoir

A young woman in Oman finds a scrawny “ginger and white cat” on her apartment staircase. The cat is undernourished, dehydrated, and injured.

Reluctant to make contact with a stray cat, Chitra is hesitant about reaching out. But compassion wins. She eventually takes the cat in and nurses it back to health. (The “she” cat is originally named Naaz until the author discovers the cat is male. She rechristens the stray “Rumi” after  a favorite poet.)

An unexpected friendship begins to bloom as the author battles a mysterious, debilitating illness while becoming increasingly attached to her new feline friend. And vice-versa. As Chitra learns to love “the little stray,” she begins “to see greater life lessons about herself, her family, her home country, and her place in the world.”

They wind up saving each other.

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