Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Chutki.

Yes sir. It has been a long time. Before my moisture-laden ferric blog is reduced to a pile of rust, I thought it best to write maybe one last post before I close it down.

I’m kidding.

Today’s post is about Chutki … my beloved cat. Well, at least at one point of time, she was mine. I’d been wanting to blog about both my ex-pets for a while now … what I did not imagine was that I’d be writing an obituary for one of them. Anyway …

Some background….moving to B’lore from the USA is by far the smoothest transition that I’d expect compared to any other city of the country. And after the initial dance tour, and the subsequent setting up of the house, what I was left with was a lot of time, and a generous helping of boredom to go with it.

Cut to flashback. I’ve always had cats. Grown up with them, in fact. They’ve been the best of friends; have brought joy, fleas, friendship, laughter and fur (in no particular order) into the house in no measurable quantities. Of course, these guys and gals were all strays who adopted our house to deliver future generations of strong, broad-minded (enough to accept humans as fellow earthlings) and reproductively active felines.

Cut to the present. I wanted that experience again. Partly to cut open the enmeshed and unbridled boredom and idleness that was threatening to eat my brain cells alive, and well … because I’m a cat person. Or so I thought. Hmmm … well … let me reserve judgement on that for later. And so the hunt began. I scoured websites in B’lore looking for homeless kittens to adopt, to nurture and to neuter. Yes, I had decided I’d do that because that’s what all responsible animal owners do. Every thread I’d pick up would more of less result in a loose end though. No cats at the end of that leash, I was told. I almost gave up when I called this lady who’d three new-born kittens, but whose mother had died(assumption)/abandoned her young (also, assumption). Either way, without a mother’s protective paw around young kittens, they were very susceptible to all kinds of infections. I had mothered 2 such newborns once, and I knew what a big responsibility that was. So that was kept on the back burner while I looked for some that were of the mother-ful variety.

As luck would have it … umm … I had none. So back I went again to this lady asking if her kittens were still around. Yes, they were and they were waiting to be picked up, I was told. So N and I went looking for her house. The nice part was they were also animal-lovers. As soon as we get seated, out comes this little shoe-box lined with linen, and sprinkled with 3 tiny tiny kittens. Two of them were yet to open their eyes fully, but one was staring at us with such wide-eyed naïveté, that it was hard for me to ignore her.

Mostly ginger, she was the color of the typical Indian cat with those tiger-like stripes that would blossom later. She hardly mewed or cried. In fact, Chutki never did, even later. All along the journey home, she’d either be up and staring at us, or she’d be sleeping. She hardly even measured my palm, and my palm is very small.

My days after that were a blur, taking her to a vet, getting her the right food. And as she grew to fit my whole hand (!), her energy-levels grew to a point of no-endurance. Even in those days, when I did not have a “job”, if I’d go out for a couple of hours in the afternoon, she’d be hyper when I’d return. Quite a handful, that one, literally!

For my own sake, let me document her most cherished memories.

1. Yes, it can get messy. And I had read up on various potty-training manuals before I brought Chutki in. Ours was a second floor house with a balcony that is a sheer drop down to mother-earth. No escape route there. So while figuring out on what might be my best option, as a meanwhile thingy, I just placed newspaper on the little balcony, and plugged the drain pipe hole that led out of it. (I seriously did worry about her tiny head getting stuck in there, what with cats being the curious lot and all that.)

So we put her on the floor and let her take a sniff/look around. We go into the kitchen for a glass of water, and when we come back, she’s nowhere to be seen. Nonplussed, I look around in the hall before stealing a look in the balcony. And there she was, doing her business in a quiet, private corner making optimal usage of our daily newspaper. Awww, we went.

2. One fine day, we got home our new couch. A minute later, she was all over it, all 450 gms of her, lolling, rolling and clawing at our handsome furniture. Out came the fibre, and down came she. That was when I decided that I’d get another cat (Natwar deserves another post of his own, such are his kaands.)

When Natwar came in, he was instantly all over the place, sniffing the floor and Chutki, if she got in his way. Chutki, bless her soul was a typical home-cat. She was born in a house, lost her mother, came to our house straight away … I don’t think she’d even seen another cat prior to Natwar. So before friendships were forged in the fires of Mt. Fate, she hated him. She hated his presence near her, always yowling, growling at him for stepping into her private space and she hated his guts to pester her, while she, the Queen Feline, reclined peacefully.

Her tail would start swooshing ominously whenever he’d so much as think of approaching her for a good wrestle. The idiot that Natwar is, he never did latch on to her subtle hints. But as I said, more on Nattu later. There was the day when I brought Nattu home. I was sitting on the floor, back against the couch, and feet stretched out. Promptly he made a spot for himself on my legs. Not wanting to give dear Chutkuli an opportunity to sulk about this attention-grabber a.k.a Nats, I placed her also on my legs but a safe distance away from the grey-white tabby. It so happened that the tip of Nat’s tail touched Chutki from behind. Out came a yowl, guttural and bloody loud. So much for my thinking Chutki didn’t have a voice. Chuckles.

3. She was never a needy cat. Pleasant-natured and very playful. But the few times that she did want to nuzzle into me, and if I were to be sitting on the couch, she claw her way up the arm (too small to make it in one jump), then trot along the arm-length, rappel her way to the tip of the couch, do a brisk walk again till she reached my neck, dig her claws into my flesh, get on to my neck, and put her wet nose against my cheek.

...
I do miss that.

4. One night, I stepped out for a drink of water before I turned in and found only Natwar on the couch. Chutki was nowhere to be seen. Puzzled yet again, I called out to her, and she answered with a short but very sharp mew, as was her usual custom. I looked out of the little window connecting the hall and the balcony, and there she was. She had stepped out, ‘coz she had to go, but was too small to jump back in. I opened the verandah door, and in she came, looking a gazillion times more adorable to me.

(Natwar of course had no intention of making my life this awww-some. He had pooped already in front of the main door. **Derisive laughter**.)

5. Speaking of curling up on the couch … we had already made the bedroom out-of-bounds for the cats, and planned on going down the same route for the couch. Whenever either or both of them would get on, I’d whip out an old dusting-cloth, the orange ones you get … and whip it a centimeter away from where they were. In the beginning the whoosh of the air used to startle them into getting down, but sooner than later, they realized that these guys weren’t really going to hit them. With a meh! expression on their faces, they, and Chutki especially, would just curl her body even tighter and smaller.

I miss that too.

Hmmm … I guess these are her top-five memories.

The reason I betrayed them and put them up for adoption was because I simply couldn’t neuter them. Yes, it makes them less aggressive, and more homely. Yes, it makes them less-prone to infections and what-not. Yes, it’s the thing to do if you are a pet-owner. But, I chickened out. I wasn’t convinced that I had that right to do that to a fellow-being. I’m probably stretching it too far, but I simply didn’t think it was right. Initially I was all gung-ho about it, but the more I thought of it … all in all … they were up for adoption. The day I dropped them at the foster-home (they loved it there, what with three other cats for company) was a bleak evening.

A month later, they were adopted by a nice guy A and importantly, they were adopted together. They were happy at their new place with a new owner who cared for them, and they had each other for company. A few weeks ago, a street-dog mauled Chutkuli. She was severely injured, and died in her sleep. I had planned on visiting them the weekend before, but I put it off as something else came up. If only I had ……

Anyway, Natwar is ok, so is A. Both of them are a little low but life goes on.

Rest in peace Chutkuli. You will always be remembered most fondly. Love you!

7 comments:

Vasu said...

Its very sad to hear about Chutki.

I always wonder how people adopt cats in fact any pet. They look cute but OMG need a lot of care just like babies.

So you moved to Bangalore. How do you like it there? Planning to work?

Srividya said...

@Vasu: Me is doing good. Yeah ... about chutki :(. Sare ... mana chetullo emundi ... so goes the philosophical train of thought.

B'lore treating us well. I'm working, will FB you about it. How's the wife? And life in general?

sivaprasad said...

belated bday wishes srividya garu

sivaprasad said...

good one

Sunayana said...

lovely lovely post but a sad ending....yeah but life goes on ....and i am looking forward to read Nats :-) ...what a name :-D

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