|Lover, Prince, Dictator|
Love makes the world of a difference to the way we see others, even animals.
Kittu walked into my life a few months ago. He was a little kitten at that time. He appeared in the rubber farm behind my house on a morning. I thought he had wandered into my farm by mistake and ignored it. When I returned from school in the evening and went to the farm for filling some grow bags with soil for planting some spinach saplings, the kitten sleeping in the shade of the rubber trees touched a soft corner in my heart. I guessed that someone had abandoned him in the farm at night. He looked famished and baffled. “Come,” I said as I took up the first bag I had filled with soil. He had been watching me gingerly all the while and I had thrown a few furtive glances at him which had not escaped his attention.
As soon as I said ‘come’ he got up and followed me. I asked Maggie to give him some food which he ate ravenously. Maggie was amused and fed him to his heart’s content. Both Maggie and I were no lovers of animals more because we were both sticklers for cleanliness in and around our house than out of any aversion. We had imagined that the cat would go away after eating the food. Instead he accompanied me to the farm. He continued to accompany me wherever I went.
He shared our meals from that time. We didn’t let him inside the house, however. Our acute sense of cleanliness kept him out. He found his place outside until he won Maggie’s heart and stepped into the kitchen while she was cooking. His journey from the kitchen to the dining room and then to any room in the house was quicker than I could believe.
I had named him Kittu in the meanwhile. Initially Kittu slept on the carpet in the drawing room. Then he made himself more comfortable on a sofa. Soon he started dictating terms to us. He insisted on a menu comprising rice and fish. He refused to eat any other food except for satisfying his hunger and that too with ostensible distaste as if he was condescending.
He revolutionised our diet. I was never fond of fish though I ate it when it was offered to me. Yet Kittu made fish a regular item on our daily menu! “You love the cat more than me,” Maggie complained. “You never used to buy fish for me!” I smiled. “We have better choices, don’t we?” I rationalised. Kittu has by now tasted all the varieties of fish available in my local market enriching my knowledge about seafood in the process.
As soon as my wake-up alarm sounds much before sunrise, Kittu waits at my bedroom door to greet me with a sleepy meow. He accompanies me to the kitchen and waits patiently for me to drink my first glasses of water of the day. As soon as I replace the glass on its rack he will demand his morning bite of biscuits or a little lukewarm milk.
He is there to see me off as I drive to school in the morning and waits like a lover for my return in the evening. He is there with me in the garden grabbing my hand every now and then as I am weeding or playing with the hose pipe while I am watering the plants. I who never loved animals am a lover today. Kittu has become my little prince, my benevolent dictator, my ardent lover.
My earlier post on Kittu: Company in Hell