Caturday: The Cat who taught me always to remember to look up!



When a day tumbles into a quagmire of mess and muddle or wants to take on all the nasty characteristics of a malignancy suddenly discovered by the doctor, I remember what a cat on a terrace taught me some years ago.


This cat was a grey, brown and orange tinted feline with the most amazingly forceful look on her face. She lived with around a 100 cats on the two terraces of a friend who took in strays from all over the City.

I named her Mohanthal, after a sweet dessert that Mother always used to make during Diwali our festival of lights and a lot of eating! Made of jaggery, ghee, cardamom and almonds, this dish was the same colour as the cat on that terrace, just behind the newspaper where I worked.


But unlike the other cats, Mohanthal always sat on top of the highest, scariest, most unsafe, most frightening place she could find, as if she just wanted to be as far away as possible from all of us normal cats and people.


Like all cats Mohanthal taught me a lot of things, the most important one being to stand up for myself, and to stop whining! One of the easier things she made me do was always to look up. You never know what you will find!


This morning as I went out into the garden I found that our resident Bandicoot, a huge, horrid rat, who has survived attacks from the cats, had overturned a mountain of soil right in front of the mesh gate, so no one could come in or go out, unless that huge mess could be cleared out.


I was furious, and getting really mad at him and then at the neighbor who had come at just the wrong time (which she always does) and began to natter about maddeningly boring irritating nonsense as I waited for her to leave. But she was eyeing the white begonias and the orange chrysanthemums coming up in the ancient bath tub I had painted and potted with flowers and ferns some months ago. Till I had promised to give her the cuttings she did not leave!

Then something made me remember Mohanthal’s advice to look up! So I did and was astounded! A creeper with tiny white and red flowers which I had been enjoying all these days, right under my nose, was now high up above me! It had clambered up several steps and created a tiny garden glistening with red and white notes!


I was not sure what its name was but it appeared to be a Rangoon Creeper! But when I looked at images on the net, it seemed almost to be a Rangoon Creeper but not quite it! So till I find out for sure, this magic will hum around my heart and Mohanthal, that cat who often squished me for being too meek for my own good, had given me yet another sacred mystifying gift of happiness, the way cats do. Always opaque and silvery, and almost too difficult to detect unless we take the time to uncover their maddening natures!


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