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Grab your Garfield now

Garfield toys in the city are a boon to the legions of fans of the lasagne loving tubby tabby.

Photos: Mohd Yousuf

CATS & DOGS: Garfield in all shapes and sizes.

ON JUNE 19, 1978, a sarcastic, lasagne loving, Monday-hating orange cat, Garfield, was born. Garfield, who loves his coffee as much as he loves kicking hapless, trusting Odie off the table has a legion of fans across the world who trip on his sleepy eyes, as much as his caustic wit.

Garfield's creator, Jim Davis, said he combined the traits of the 25 farm cats he grew up with those of his grandfather, James Garfield Davis, to create Garfield. Unlike Bill Watterson, the creator of Calvin and Hobbes, who is fiercely against merchandising - it does not stop the appearance of Calvin and Hobbes t-shirts in the grey market though - Davis formed Paws Inc, a company operating under Davis that approves each piece of Garfield art before it leaves the studio. Garfield merchandise is sold in 69 countries.

ABSOLUTELY ADORABLE: With sleepy eyes and the trademark grin, the fat cat makes a wonderful gift.

Earlier, a Garfield fan had to be happy with the super smart posters that were a must have in hostel rooms - the "I don't do Mondays" was a hot favourite. "I used to ask my friends, uncles, aunts practically anybody to get me Garfield stuff from the U.S," says Priyanka, a software programmer sporting a Garfield T-shirt that celebrates Garfield's love of eating with "on the lookout for a cookout," emblazoned across it.

Kopal, a designer is also a great fan of Garfield, "he is so cute," she comments. "A friend got me this real cool baseball Garfield from the U.S." And the good news for all Garfield collectors is they are now available at a toy store near you.

While there are no whole rooms lined from floor to ceiling with Garfield merchandise, quite a few toy stores, bookstores and gift shops have a rack dedicated to the tubby tabby. Manufactured by Play `n' Pets in Noida, the Garfield toys come in different sizes and the price ranges from Rs 549 to Rs 1,895.

Made of cotton or silk and filled with foam, the stuffed toy has Garfield's trademark orange colour ("I never considered anything but orange. In my head, the sky is blue, the grass is green and cats are orange," Davis said) and sleepy expression. There are also Garfield cushions (Rs 499) that are quite popular.

"The price is a bit of a deterrent," says G. Panjwani of Kemp Fort, which has a fairly large collection of Garfield toys. "Children prefer the Popeye toys as they are more colourful. Garfield toys have a more grown up following."

CAT'S WHISKERS: Hug your attitude.

For every Usha who finds the idea of Garfield toys "simply adorable," there are others like Sanjana, an ad executive, who is a great Garfield fan but does not much care for the stuffed version of the cool cat. "Garfield is so intelligent, so alive, it is difficult to relate to him as a stuffed toy."

And before you think the whole Garfield deal is a girlie thing there are guys like software programmer Shantanu who finds Garfield cushions "cool, comfy and just the right prop to watch telly." Garfield would be pleased with that!

Davis feels people identify with Garfield because "there are a lot of cat lovers who can relate to Garfield because their cats are big fat slobs too and because Garfield is an anti-hero. He defends our right to pig out, sleep in and be selfish. He says and does the stuff we'd all like to say and do if we thought we could get away with it."

Merchandising is a way of getting a little more of your favourite character and if Garfield personifies your attitude and take on life, then having a Garfield lounge about in your living room or on your couch is as good a reason as any to smile. And a perfect antidote for those laughter-less days.


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