She died alone at 3 pm . Why hadn’t I stayed behind even though I had felt it would be her last --- or one of her last--- afternoons? She died alone at 3 pm . Why hadn’t I stayed behind even though I had felt it would be her last ---or one of her last--- afternoons? Not having slept too well the night before I made her comfortable in the last bedroom from which she had ceased to emerge, and left for work. When I came home and touched her cold, stiffening body, it felt odd. She had always felt soft and warm. Where had she come from? What karma had sent her soul into its black and white Phantom-faced package and into our care ?
She was a black and white scrap that I looked at sadly hoping she would be saved as I walked by on the other side of the road with my friend Mr Thomas. A school boy picked her up and carried her across to the other side as we reached the end of the road and turned the corner. About ten minutes later we walked by again, on the same road. There she was by the gate. By her sat a few crows. She looked utterly helpless. She was doomed. I stopped and looked at her. A faint mew. Mr Thomas chuckled. I didn’t think much or long before I bent down and scooped her up. Feebly her claws sank into my kurta as I walked along. “What will your dog say?” asked Mr Thomas. “I don’t know. He doesn’t like cats that’s for sure but he’s old and may accept her. The bigger problem is going to be the humans in my house.”
As I reached home there was an outcry. “A cat ?! Now why did you go and bring her knowing Coco is here?” said husband. My daughters were both curious and welcoming. The house-staff only saw her as more work. Poor gentle bumbling Coco was seven years old, ageing rapidly and all he wanted to do was sniff her up thoroughly. Madhavi conducted a medical examination. “She is a girl Amma,” she announced. “Now what ? Kittens every year…how are we going to handle that ?” (husband). “We’ll see..” I said, ingratiating myself with everyone to make sure the kitten wasn’t sent away. She was placed in a shoebox on the verandah at the back. Madhavi fed her milk and water through an ink-filler.
“Let her sit there and have her milk, she needn’t come into the house at all,” said my husband after inspecting her carefully from a distance. I could see that he felt sorry for her but didn’t want to admit it. A month later Molu, the Cat, was seated on my husband’s stomach as he lay watching TV. She jumped through the window of his office room. She walked across his computer keyboard. She set up a wailing for fish and bits of idly and milk, she grew rapidly but even full-grown, she was quite tiny. She was exquisitely powerful and had very definite tastes. No one could get within three inches of her without splitting his skin unless she was prepared to be stroked. She balanced nonchalantly on two inches of railing 50 feet from the ground. She biffed Coco a couple of times to demonstrate her superior (tiger) ancestry.When she was nine years old, a blow to her chest ( received either by natural or unnatural force) led to surgery. It had to be conducted in the house and our living room was turned into a theatre for an hour. Dr Nagarajan was astonished at how strong she was and the amount of anaesthetic her small body needed to make it go limp. Her recovery was a revelation.
A few months before she died she fell ill with a bad infection and Dr Priya treated her with injections. Did she break or strain a hind-leg? Since she never allowed anyone to touch her in an exploratory way it was difficult to know...but she slowed down considerably ----fading, gradually fading into the great bright night that waits for us all.