This is a true story.
This happened to me.
This may make some of you never return to the blog. Because of something I am about to say.
I dislike cats.
Yes, they are probably the only animals that I dislike. I deliberately avoid “hate” because my dislike is not that extreme. I do read those email forwards on cats and sometimes kind of like them when they are a bit cute but that’s it. It doesn’t last long. The general feeling is dislike or sometimes even indifference. Except one. And that one is the hero of the story.
Every once in two or three days, I am reminded of this little stripey one. It is not hard to remember him because he had this really unique striped neck and then a patch of grey and again striped tail end and grey limbs. I have never seen anything as remotely different as that. In cats, I mean.
When in university for post-grad, I served as the General Secretary for the students’ body. So, I had to work with Cultural Secy for organizing events, ensuring general safety during events and working on making teams for competitions etc. One big event was our university annual fest. We had made a request for a second open air theatre and the construction of the same was going on. When a few months were left for the fest, I used to make a regular visit with some friends and just ensure that the construction is coming up well, giving suggestions for makeshift green room and most importantly, complete evacuation of the premises so that no raw materials of sharp nature or otherwise were to be left out. This was even more of a challenge because there were other construction work like revamping hostel etc. going on around and most of the materials were dumped in one place, near the new open air theatre.
One evening, as I stepped onto the stage, lost in how they would complete so much work in such a short span of time, I felt a soft nudge on my bare, exposed toes peeping out of my sandals. Anything that is soft and squishy squashy gives me a jolt when am caught unawares. As usual, I jumped back. I look down to see who/what did that and there I saw this little guy – the strangely striped cat .
A kitten, about 12-15 cm as his biggest dimension. He had these really small round eyes that sparkled in the fading light and had that envious green hue to them. I am no fan of cat eyes. But, it just seemed so perfect for him. He looked so tiny, perky, puppy-dog-eyed (Can you believe it, this fellow used his puppy-dog-eyes trick to charm me!) and sooooooo cute! I did not want to fall in love with him.
Call me heartless but that’s what I did. I did not say a word of “Awwwwww” or “kooshy kooooooo” him. I just walked away as if he did not exist. But he followed. He followed me everywhere. I jumped off the stage and thought he will give up. He found a temporary ramp and came down in style. I went up the stage and he came right after me. I tried to mislead him by going down and up and a little further away and slowly slip into oblivion but he always found me. My friends started enjoying this show that went on for about 20 minutes. After a while I just gave up and asked him, “So, what do you want?”
He just rubbed his soft, wet nose against my toes.I don’t know how that little face could accomodate a pair of eyes, a pair of ears, nose, a little mouth and in between all this, little whiskers. I got so overwhelmed that instant. I can still never forget that emotion that overtook me, that day. December 9th 2010.
It was getting dark and I had to go. I smiled weakly at him. As I walked back to my kinetic, he came after me, more slowly this time. Words fail me now. I cannot tell you how much I miss him to this day. He followed me everywhere. He teased me. He overtook me. And yet, I did not do what I really wanted to – take him home. I went for a few days regularly but I never saw him again. I made all kinds of noise, tried to walk in all the places that he had followed me but to no avail.
There are so many questions on my mind, you li’l one.
Are you still the strangely stripey one or did you finally manage to grow stripes all over? Are you big enough now or the puny and adorable one, still? Why were you so little? How could you be so little and yet walk with such agility? Did you find someone new to follow? No, don’t tell me. I just don’t have the courage to listen to your answer. Did someone listen to their heart and take you home? Away from me? What if I had taken you home that day? How would things be? You would follow me everywhere and I would let you share my bed! You would bask in the glory of being the exception to my cat-rule! I hope wherever you are, you are happy.
This little guy sits in one corner of my heart everyday and tugs at my heartstrings, every single time. I so miss you, my purr-fect one !