On a foggy, winter morning, Santosh Bakaya gets caught in the middle of a catfight over kittens.
Enjoy Morning Meanderings Season 2 with your hot cuppa and cookies. ☕🍪😊
There was nothing but mist outside. But even in the mist, I could see the silhouettes moving around and talking, their mumbled words travelling on wisps of mist and falling in my ears.
“Jaipur has never been so cold.”
Through my misted window, I heard a heavily clad man telling another, “Oh, it really is cold. I don’t remember my fingertips ever turning cold like this.” The other man said, blowing on his fingertips, tightening the muffler around himself, and touching his nose every now and then. Maybe to see whether it was still there, or maybe to find out whether it had somewhat warmed.
Then I heard meows. And it was now the atmosphere that seemed to be warming up. Not the nose!
I wiped the window clean and saw four fists raised in combat, and two five-year-olds – a boy and a girl pushing each other away and running helter-skelter chasing the mewing kitten.
“Hi Noddy, come here.” It was the boy.
Before I could rush out to intervene, the two were at each other’s throats, mouthing some incomprehensible lingo.
“She is not Noddy.” The girl said indignantly, arms akimbo.
A great commotion followed, it was as if a rabble had been roused. But it was only two kids readying for a duel over a meowing kitten, light brown in colour.
I glimpsed the sun braving the cold and peeping through a cloud cover. I ran out and stood between the warring twosome.
“Look, it is golden brown!” I remarked. The kitten indeed looked golden brown in the rays of the newborn sun. The two five-year-olds looked at it with new eyes.
“Call it Goldie then!”
“Yes, I will call it Goldie,” the girl said, scooping it up in her arms.
“It is Noddy, and it is mine. I saw it first.” The boy said, making a wild grab at her hair or the kitten, whatever was within grab’s reach.
“How dare you touch my Goldie!”
I pried my way into the kindergarten brawl, pulling them away from each other. Two women walking past stopped and looked on with befuddled amusement, perhaps wondering how I would resolve the conflict.
There was another meow. Both looked at Goldie who was snuggling close to the girl, and seemed to have dozed off in her arms. This new meow was from a new kitten that had suddenly emerged from the shrubbery next to our house. Wasting not a second, the boy ran in the direction of this kitten – a grey one – and quickly picked it up. Mr Grey also clung to his rescuer, stealing some warmth from his hands, some from his heart, and some from the sun which was now sparkling with new vigour.
“Hullo, Noddie, let us go home.” The boy said to the kitten and even smiled at the girl, who smiled back, kissing the kitten in her arms.
For the time being, belligerence was at rest. The conflict had been miraculously solved, without any mediation.
“The cat in the neighbourhood had given birth to four kittens. She died along with two of her kittens. These are the only two remaining.”
The graceful septuagenarian who lived a little distance away from our house and whose sons had settled abroad, remarked, her masked face visible above her wall. The amiable lady waved to me, her eyes smiling.
On her wall, I could also see tiny white flowers blooming in her pots around which squirrels were in a celebratory mood. Colourful kites were cruising in the sky in unfettered freedom. Higher – higher – higher, they rose to the accompaniment of shouts and yells.
And two tiny five-year-olds headed home, happy with their new acquisitions – Goldie and Noddy. I wondered why even children chose English names for their pets. Is it because of our anglicised education? I would have happily settled for a desi Billu or a Bhoora. The sun smiled a golden smile, and the desi kittens with pardesi names meowed in unison – each had found a home.
(Pictures courtesy: Pixabay)
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