“No ! Not in my terrace ! “
“ Yes Memsaahib. She’s there – three , too small , dark . “
“ Can you take them away ? “
“ The mother won’t allow anyone to come near them . Besides I’m getting late. “
Audacity at her very best.
“ Then do something to prevent them from moving . I don’t want them in my house. “
Of all people on earth , why me ? Yeah ! Go ahead , try me.
I am terribly scared of cats . Phobia . And this foolish mother cat had to start her crazy family on my terrace. On the top of it , Jatin was having fun at my expense.
“ Are you sure you’re okay with my
trip ? “ , he smirked. He would be away – I have to handle the stray cats alone. Delhi
Bending over my dahlias , I replied “ Are you going to cancel the trip if I ask you to ? No ! you won’t . But you want to earn some brownie points. I can see through your plans Mr. Husband. “
“ In that case , no use trying, eh ? “ and he laughed like a zombie.
After driving Jatin to the airport , I came back home. Had to complete the work at hand in a few hours and set on another assignment. As I flopped on the couch , I heard sounds from the pantry. I rushed in and saw that big fat mother cat. My kitchen was in a mess. How the hell did she enter ? Anger was replaced by fear in a second. I shouted. Like I never had in years. Maybe she was as frightened as me. She jumped off the counter - spilling all that was there. Almost in my direction and I yelled louder. She went past me , jumped out through the open window and everything was still again. I opened my eyes . Gone. I made sure I had sealed all doors and windows before sleeping that night. Maybe I should ask the maid to sleep in the hall tomorrow onwards. The thought was discarded in a jiffy.
I never ventured into the terrace though.
The next morning , I sent the maid to the terrace to check if the cats were still there. She reported back that the mother was not there. One kitten had died.
“ Oh my God ! How ? “
“ They die. Just like that. Maybe it was weak. “
The more I thought about the “weak” kitten , the more I began empathizing with the mother cat. Maybe she wanted some food for her weak baby. I should not have scared her. I should not have …….
I sent milk for the other two kittens , again through the maid. I was less scared and more ashamed this time though.
In two days , one of the surviving kittens vanished. It was nowhere to be found. My maid told me that possibly, an eagle scooped it.
I did not know why the death of those cats caused such a tumult in my chest ….. I knew the answer after a little bit of thinking though.
The mother almost abandoned the last of her kids. I never saw her after that mad encounter in my kitchen.
So there was just one frail kitten on my terrace. I went up there. It was barely breathing. Smaller than a squirrel. Pity outscored fear. I gave it water and then milk. It looked full. It was walking – just like a toddler . I smiled and came back to the house.
I never liked the idea of pets. But this kitten ! It needed help. A strange kind of a happiness enveloped me.
Jatin came back soon after. I told him about the kittens. He was kind of a surprised .
“ At least you’ll get over your crazy fear” , he said. This time I joined him too.
The next morning I awoke before sunrise. Just as the sun rose , I went up – to the terrace. May be its sleeping, I thought. I came back home. Jatin and I came up a little later in the morning. It was still sleeping . Little did we know that it was gone. Ants had set their path through its skin.
“ No. It happens. All will be okay. “
He added “ Someday. Someday honey …. “.
That gave me hope.