That mewling sound, that morning, at around 8.40 am, will always stay with her. Discovering him, gathering him in her palms, carefully wiping him down, before handing him over to his birth mother, who was trembling in the anxiety of just having had her first baby. The joy, the bewilderment, the miracle itself, unfolding. She and his mother, they both owned that feeling.
His mother then went on to have another six babies over the next four hours. Gently heaving, an experienced mother, by the end of it all. All the while the other mother watched helped, and was the mid-wife. 🙂 The babies were healthy, jostling and suckling her immediately. But that first one, that Alpha Male, he was already earmarked – he’d always be hers, other than his own mother’s, his Amma’s own special brat.
And so it came to be, he stayed with his Amma, and his birth mother Paru, those first three months, after which his mother, Paru, went back to Cpl, her “tharavaad” to her Ammumma (my mother), and he, the Alpha, stayed on, with is Amma, his brothers, and his older sister, Chinnu 🙂 (LINK)
12 December, 2017
As I write this, I’m struck by this wave of emotion. A poignant nostalgia, seeing him, lifting his head from where he lies, close by, a quizzical look in his eye, as if to say, Amma, you called?
The Alpha, my alpha everything, as you know, by this time, is my very own Kuttan. Naughty, mischievous, rambunctious, bordering on aggression, sometimes too often, needing to be cautioned, monitored and occasionally whacked 😀 a bit, he grew up, as kids who are loved deeply and unconditionally do – with supreme confidence in himself, and ready for anything!
Even in the face of dire warnings and well-meaning advice, his Amma never let him go. She never spoiled him, though it seemed like that to his Ammumz! Well, when you’ve got an awesome personality, with an edge of energy, you gotta show it, right? 😛 That’s one question that always bubbled over from his raised (invisible) eyebrow look! He even added a low growl for good effect. You don’t mess with me, was is USP, especially nights. Except his Amma, no one was tolerated within 10 m., once he’d had his dinner, and had settled down on Amma’s bed for the night.
But we’re getting ahead of the story. When his mother, Paru, returned to the ‘tharavaad’, and his siblings all found loving homes, his Amma, despite much advice against it, decided she wasn’t letting his go. He knew that he owned her, from that moment on. He did own her heart, and would do anything for her – including listening to her, to shut the eff up, when he got aggressive with the others – Chinnu, Appu, or even his mom Paru. His Amma said so, so he would. 🙂
As all young boys, he had much energy, kinetic, potential, what you name it, and expended that energy by scaling the compound wall and going off for a walk/run on his own. If he was allowed to wander on his own, in the walled in compound, or if by accident, the gates were left open, he’d be off in a shot, like a bat out of hell, particularly if there were cats in the vicinity. His racial memories had these lores of what enemies cats were, and he couldn’t help but be conditioned by it, and set about cleanly finishing the few he came across, who were no match for his lightning speed! (Wait! he must have wondered, as I do, if he had some feline blood in him to move so fast? Naah! he must have answered to him self too!!! 😛 )
Now comes the twist in the tale, if indeed he was CAT! Because, how does one explain his bonding with the cats at home?! M’mzelle Malu (LINK), Mia, her kitten?! How! That’s a question his Amma, and his family wondered… He never did though, it would seem. They, them cats, were family, weren’t they? DUH! 😛 You always got you family’s back, doncha?! You sure do! Even if they were cats! Because, here’s the thing see – the members of this family are the same – pretty much human, though some of them take the form of a cat, dog, squrrel, or occasionally as has happened, a bird or a bat!
Thus happened, the seemingly impossible. The Mellowing, the Meaowing too, to put it lamely, of The Kuttan! Mia Arrived dramatically, a rescue cat, scrawny, feisty, even though she fit into the palm of my hand when I brought her home, it was clear immediately who was boss! She had to be bottle fed, the first few weeks with me. Kuttan now had a constant companion, too, out on our long drives… Mia was as unfeline, and Kuttan was uncanine 😛 Maybe that’s one of the reasons they got along so well together! Err, did I tell you? Yes, we are a rather hatke family! 😛
Those rides with Kuttan and Mia, in my AK 47 (car, duh!) are legendary! Initially Mia travelled, protesting all the way, in a wee basket, with constant chatter from me to keep her comfy. Kuttan got the back seat, Mia up front, in her basket. In time, Mia began protesting in earnest and therefore was permitted to roam the car- she wasn’t very uncomfortable, but neither was she fully comfortable, though she accepted the rides well enough. She would roam around, plonk herself on my lap, sometimes rest her head on my shoulder, or sit behind my feet, that were on the pedals of the car. Sometimes she’d be at the window, looking out… Closed spaces and cats do not go well together 🙂
Eventually, in the nearly one and half years of to and fro travel, we decided that Mia would stay at my parents’ place since she loved the sprawling compound and open spaces there, and far safer from the stray cats that thronged my own neighbourhood in the city. I must also mention that in the intervening period, she had three kitten, and they were old enough to be on their own – in fact she had practically given my home to her kitten and became an infrequent visitor, when we planned to shift her to my parents, where she was extremely comfortable 🙂
This was nearly three years ago. Kuttan had grown more quiet, mature, and was becoming a model of good behaviour, except for the nights 😛 He and Appu, the males in the family, were constantly at logger heads, and came to actual fights many a time when they were younger, but had grown accustomed to each other, and tolerated each other better, as the years passed. In the meantime, his best friend, Chinnu, had gone ahead to pets paradise, in 2013. It was him,Mia and I, till her kittens came along.
Wiser, older, and yet his Amma’s Kuttan, that’s who he came to be. Each morning as she left for work, he’d see her off, standing by the window, and each evening he’d be up at the balcony, to greet her, with his own signature greeting… An oooooooo, OOOOOOOOO…. following by happy high pitched appealing barking 🙂 His Amma still looks up at the place, each day when she returns, and hears it, even though he remains unseen … Her heart knows , and isn’t that finally what matters?
Early this year, in the third week of February, he developed a breathing problem. He’d gasp, suddenly for breath, when he hadn’t been physically active too. It got his Amma worried enough, and so began a week long trek to the vet, as grew progressively weaker. He needed to be on drips, as he wouldn’t eat, or drink. Thinking it might have been a lung infection, all the tests were done to rule out possibilities, till the final x-ray revealed an enlarged heart which was probably pushing itself on the windpipe. Medicines were started.
Kuttan, as you know by now, wasn’t one to take being held down, or given an injection, with any kind of docility. However that week, he submitted to all the injections, the drips he needed to be given, the poking and prodding, like he’d always been such a paavam! Never a jerk, never a growl, nothing. It does not cease to amaze me, how much he’d changed and accepted that we were trying to help. However, that day, Sunday, 26 February, 2017, at the morning visit to the vet, for his drips, and his injection to reduce the enlarged condition of his heart, the students at the vet hospital, were unable to find a vein easily, on his hind leg, and it hurt him enough to react. So he was muzzled, he got panicky, started to froth, and very quickly, I removed the muzzle, calmed him down, but he lay so still, so so so still on the table, unmoving. Heart in my mouth, I tried cajoling him into responding, shook him, tried to lift him up… The doctors gathered around trying their best too. I was told to just was a few moments, since he was breathing, his heart was beating. I did, and he finally stood up, with help. Slowly he walked to the car with me, and we got home.
He still wasn’t eating. Barely drinking water, but breathing a bit easier. That morning, being tied up with some work, that was another trauma, I left him at home to complete it. He had his water, his medicines, and was resting. It took me a few hours, to get back to him, and he simply came and sat at my feet, when I returned. I remember calling my kids, and we were on a skype group call, when suddenly he came up, sat in front of the laptop for a long time, looking at the screen, where they kept calling his name, and he kept looking at them. (He never does that, I thought. He NEVER does that!) I continued with the chat, as he lay close. We finished, and then came a call from Daddy. As I was talking to him, answering his query about Kuttan, I noticed he was not at my feet, but had gone out.
Stepping outside to check, all I could do was just keep repeatedly calling out his name. He lay on the verandah, his favourite spot, at the edge, his head having fallen gently, lax, peacefrul, to touch the first step down. He’d gone on. He’d left. He’d …. just, gone. The irony of the whole thing was that he had always been the healthiest of the lot we had, hardy, dependable, never ever ill.
Gently, I lifted his head and placed it on my lap, told daddy what had happened, and asked that he arrange for someone to prepare a grave for him there, since I wanted him next to his friends, Appu and previously, Ammini, our first Alsatian, buried there. I called his favourite friend, C, my help, and she came, heartbroken to discover he’d gone. When the taxi arrived, I carried him onto the back seat, cradled his head on my lap, and kept talking to him for the two hours we took to reach my parents’ place. It was almost 9 in the night, by then. We kept Paru inside, till the next morning. But a strange mournful howl, as Kuttan was taken to his final resting place still echoes in my ear, his mother’s goodbye to him perhaps.
He’s in a better place, oh yes, he is! And what is that final goodbye, but just a liminal, I tell myself, knowing that we’d meet again, some other lifetime, after we meet at the Rainbow Bridge, that is 🙂 He’s here, with me, for as they say, those who die, are never gone, not when you carry them in your heart ❤ and see them around you, talk, as often as you can to them.
Yesterday, I watched, for the first time (I know I’ll watch that one more times yet!) “Cloud Atlas”, and was struck by some of the wisdom in the beautiful writing of that script 🙂 Like these, for each of them leads me to believe, I’ve not finished my time with Kuttan!
Our lives are not our own. we are bound to others, past and present
This world spins from the same unseen forces that twist our hearts.
I believe death is only a door. One closes, and another opens. If I were to imagine heaven, I would imagine a door opening. And he would be waiting for me there.
I believe there is another world waiting for us, Sixsmith, a better world. And I’ll be waiting for you there.
I know he and the gang are waiting at the rainbow bridge 🙂 And that he’s happy with them, up there! It’s never goodbye, you know… for you’re always with me, Kutts!
25 December, 2017
Labour of love ❤