How the coronavirus treated Goldilocks or Meryl Streep to lunch
When the coronavirus finally infested our very own corner of the world, which is a large, noisy, crammed slum in our City, it darkened the lives of every person there. But it also hit the animals badly, the stray cats and dogs, which faced the lockdown with hunger adding to their lives.
This is the story of Goldilocks, a stray cat, with golden fur whom I met one night long ago, when I was in a state of despair and pain. I had been locked up in a personal prison of darkness for several months when a gaggle of stray cats had befriended me and slowly brought me out of my dormitory of doom to face living again. Among these cats was Goldilocks, an amazingly golden brown cat whom I had initially named Golden Scold or Peppery because for some reason she seemed to be always in a dither about something.
I had met her on a marvellous evening when I went to feed Little Mom, a young mother cat and her four kittens. They had befriended me during my sunken period and just stepping into their lives, had saved me from the dark that comes out of nowhere to catch us sometimes. It was twilight in that dark, dingy lane where I found Little Mom and her kittens. I had taken a large plastic bowl filled with rice, bread, butter, milk, eggs and cat food for them.
While the kittens ate this up hungrily, and later, so did Little Mom and Twilight, a dark grey beauty, and Golden Scold, I found that this one did not really enjoy my food. It was somewhat like trying to serve puris or pulaos to someone somewhat magnificent and adored like Meryl Streep or Reese Witherspoon who might have found this Indian food too difficult to enjoy! So when I coaxed Goldilocks to come and have her share of the dinner, she would meow grumpily at me and just sit there and pose for me instead under a scooter or a wall. She preferred to have the raw pieces of meat that the nearby meat seller threw at her when she sat on the steps of his shop and waited.
She clearly told me that my dinner did not meet her standards! It made me feel a little squished! But when the coronavirus came down upon us all, and I was still initially able to go there to feed them, Goldilocks came hungrily, desperately to share with the kittens as the meat shops had been closed down. I was so glad to watch her gobble up the dinner! It was like finally being able to feed Meryl Streep and Reese Witherspoon!
But when it became a total lockdown it was impossible to go to that lane. I ached with the inability to feed little Goldilocks and friends. She is such a pretty cat that it was impossible to call her Peppery though she is a very grumbly cat. For some reason she grumbles all the time, even when she came to share the food with the kittens and Little Mom. I always wondered what she was scolding me for or why she was in such a fierce mood or what exactly was bugging her! Was it my bad cooking or too much egg in the soup platter or what?
I changed her name to Goldilocks. But now Goldilocks and her pals were all in that lane, not very far off, but far enough away to stay hungry. The darkness of the time gobbled up everyone and everything. To think of that small furry tribe waiting hungrily for their twilight dinner, and going to sleep hungry was unbearable. Then one day it struck me when the maid came to work, that instead of the usual twilight dinner, we could try out a late lunch. The maid left our home by two or three and her hut was very close to the lane where Goldilocks lived with the others!
But would they be there in the afternoon? On the first day I sent the food with the maid and told her to call them out by their names if she did not find any of them there. Maya, Pebbles, Little Mom, Twilight and Goldilocks. But she brought good news. They were all there, and somewhat surprised to find a new waiter but extremely happy to find her! She said they all gobbled up the food and there was a new small grey kitten, who was also fed!
And did one of the cats, golden and glorious, meow a lot? Yes, said the maid, she did not stop meowing but ate up diligently! And she was the only one who pounced on the bowl of yoghurt that went with the late lunch! Trust my very own Meryl Streep to go for the good healthy choice! Yoghurt on a hot day in Hyderabad! What can be better?