At home in Delhi these days, I can’t help but appreciate the warmth the house cats bring with them. We have around five of these, all belonging to a single extended family. Presently nibbling at Ma’s delicious fish fry are a mother and son and a foster son. The latter’s mother is on exile somewhere (and I can’t be sure she hasn’t eloped with the rather good-looking grey cat I had seen eying her when I was home last) That’s not to pile dirt on our darling kitty family. All the members are playful, kindly and in possession of huge appetites.
Strangely enough, my flat in Pune is devoid of any member of the animal kingdom.
Wait, that’s if you exclude the tiny red ants that seem to magically find the slightest and the smallest morsel of sugar lying about. And the occasional black and brown cockroach that shows up in the bathroom. Yes, there is a white stray dog I find on my way to office. He welcomes me with woofy hellos and wags of his rather itchy looking tail. But there’s no cat mewing at the door, waiting for a bowl of milk or rushing indoors to be cuddled and warmed. I wonder if my landlady is scary and her pre-teen grandchildren too loud. But didn’t I read something about cats being attached to elderly ladies because of how they smell of the kitchen?
Ma says unwelcome reception is the most likely cause. Or perhaps someone from the building is allergic to cats? It could even be our mismatched timings: maybe a few do turn up to eat in the afternoons?
Still, the end result is a house that has no eyes expectantly staring at the packets of food I happen to bring along sometimes. Surely the rather ugly crow on the tree near the kitchen window doesn’t count.
I fly back this weekend to my cat-less work flat. Maybe the pictures I will carry along will be solace enough.