Skip to main content

Cat Lover

Antony and Cleopatra (Dec 2020)

 

I was never fond of animals except as objects of spectacle in a zoo. I would prefer a considerable distance between animals and me. I didn't even want pets as they would mess up the place and I admired orderliness. My obsession with orderliness and cleanliness went to such extremes that my wife was convinced that I suffered from OCD [Obsessive Compulsive Disorder].

Three little kittens run around in my house now as if the house belongs to them. Do I love them? How did this happen?

Cats entered my life accidentally. My house is on the roadside in a village. People who find it hard to look after new litters abandon them on roadsides. (Cats seem to have been blessed particularly with a fecundity to multiply like the stars in the sky or the sand on the seashore.) These abandoned little creatures cry for a while helplessly, then look around, and finally walk into the nearest house and inherit it. Cleopatra was the latest inheritor of our house.

Cleopatra was a tiny creature that looked more like a famished rat than a kitten when she came. Unlike other kittens, she didn't come to us. We went to her. Her mournful cries rose from the roadside for a whole night and day. The intermittent rains kept me home. Moreover, I wasn't sure where the cry was coming from. Finally my wife pushed me out of home asking how I could be so heartless.

Following the cry that was becoming feeble, I traced the tiny kitten under a discarded piece of tarpaulin on the roadside. There were two of them huddled together shivering and looking hideously frightened. I realised that I wasn't heartless because something melted instantly within me and the tiny skeletal creatures became our guests and in a couple of weeks they metamorphosed into our beloved Antony and Cleopatra.

That was in August last. Antony is no more now. He died fighting a poisonous snake. They killed each other in a dark night two months back under a tamarind tree on my brother's farm. The snake lay dead in the morning and Antony had a slow and painful death in the day which rattled me. I wished nature was less malign. I wished there really was a God in Heaven so that all was right with the world.

Cleopatra littered three cute kittens last month. "Do you want to adopt one?" I asked a female colleague who enquired after them having seen a post in my Facebook timeline. "You want to add the burden of a kitten to all those I already have?" She whined. "It's okay," I said placating her, "I offered you a part of my heart and if you don't want it's fine," I said. She laughed.

But I was pretty serious. I mean the kittens were becoming a part of my heart.

Cats tame you, you don't tame them. It was none less than Mark Twain who said, "Of all God's creatures, there is only one that cannot be made slave of the leash. That one is the cat." In Kerala where I live there's a saying that the cat will sit on the throne if it is in a palace. Cats have a greater sense of entitlement than our most narcissistic politicians. Look after a dog and the dog will think you are a god, as Christopher Hitchens said. Look after a cat and the cat will think it is the god.

I learnt all these and a lot more about cats after they became the gods in my home. I read about cats, their food habits, likes and dislikes, prejudices and phobias, illusions and delusions, menstruation and mating, littering and kid-rearing. I learnt to administer Bendex and Carmicide. Most of all, I learnt patience and humility. Dogs look up on you and cats look down on you, said Winston Churchill who added that he loved pigs because pigs treat us as equals. I prefer being looked down on by Amar, Akbar and Antony. Oh, those are the names of Cleopatra's kittens until I learn to identify their genders.

Neil Gaiman will scold me now. He will tell me that we people need names because we don't know who we are. Cats know who they are and so they don't need names. That's one thing about cats you shouldn't forget: they know everything. And they are smug about it. They are connoisseurs of self-knowledge and philosophy. If you don't believe me, adopt a kitten and see. I can give you one or even two if you want.

Comments

  1. "Cats tame you, you don't tame them."- So true!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, I have two of them. I have mentioned about them in the post "Pet" during the blogchatter challenge.

      Delete
    2. Had missed it. Visited just now.

      Delete
  2. Hahahaha good one...they are snooty and how! A stray cat adopted us and would saunter in and out of our home whenever she pleased. We started calling her chotu ...and then we moved house. But every time we went to our old house we only had to shout chotu and she would magically appear in the courtyard. Then one day she didn`t come and never after that..

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That's it. They live life oon their own terms but love you at the same time. A superior kind of love! They might even disappear one day, especially the males.

      Delete

Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

Advani and Modi

Cartoon from Deepika This morning's Malayalam newspaper, Deepika, delighted readers with the above cartoon on the front page. Modi is portrayed as Bhima in quest of the Sougandhika flower.  He encounters Hanuman on the way and is unable to meet the challenge posed by Hanuman.  Finally Bhima will understand the real power of his interceptor and seek his blessings. Fabulous cartoon, I mused.  It depicts the present situation tersely.  And there's a deep irony too in it. Neither Modi nor Advani is worthy of any comparison with the epic characters.  Both have acted from selfish motives thus far and continue to do so. But the nature of the Kurukshetra has changed too today.  Today our heroes are no better than these characters.   

The Ugly Duckling

Source: Acting Company A. A. Milne’s one-act play, The Ugly Duckling , acquired a classical status because of the hearty humour used to present a profound theme. The King and the Queen are worried because their daughter Camilla is too ugly to get a suitor. In spite of all the devious strategies employed by the King and his Chancellor, the princess remained unmarried. Camilla was blessed with a unique beauty by her two godmothers but no one could see any beauty in her physical appearance. She has an exquisitely beautiful character. What use is character? The King asks. The play is an answer to that question. Character plays the most crucial role in our moral science books and traditional rhetoric, religious scriptures and homilies. When it comes to practical life, we look for other things such as wealth, social rank, physical looks, and so on. As the King says in this play, “If a girl is beautiful, it is easy to assume that she has, tucked away inside her, an equally beauti

Reading Comprehension for Senior Students

 Let me present the reading comprehension test I gave to my 12th graders recently.  1.        Read the passage and answer the questions that follow .                      1x10 = 10 1.     On 1 Oct, India launched 5G services. It was a low-key affair even though Prime Minister Narendra Modi was launching it. Natural, perhaps, since it came after 70-odd countries had deployed it in close to 2000 cities since 2019 when South Korea kicked off the new era of connectivity. 2.     Attempts to get 5G going in India have been botched by muddled policies. The biggest bottleneck was the high reserve prices for airwave sales. The 700-megahertz band, which is needed for 5G technology, was priced so high that it did not receive any bids in the March auction and even in the recent auction, only one company, market leader Mukesh Ambani’s Reliance Jio, has been able to cough up the asking price despite a scaling down of rates by the government. Telecom companies are bleeding after the cutthroat tar

To a friend

Vincent van Gogh - self-portrait of a man who suffered much This post is dedicated to a person who was very dear to me for quite some time. We were good friends. But certain situations affected that friendship adversely. Years later, he contacted me recently. There is a lot of frustration, anger, sadness and rebellion in his psyche, as I sense it. Dear Friend, Your present situation grieves me as much as it worries me. I knew you as a benevolent individual who went out of his way to help friends. I received much help from you for many years. You were an inspiration for me in more ways than you might have ever imagined. What happened to our friendship was inevitable to some extent because I was passing through a painful phase of personality deterioration and your efforts to assist turned out to be counterproductive. It was not your fault at all. You meant well, I know. I knew it at that time too but my psychological condition made it impossible for me to continue our friendship. I n