I feel like I’m going to look back on this post and regret it completely. Or maybe I’ll get honorary membership to the Secret Cat Society. I’m hoping for the latter.
Here, look at this picture!
That’s a real cat sitting in front of a real money plant. Isn’t it a cool trick?! I found this scraggly-looking thing in the monsoon of 2009, right outside where I worked. Obveeeously, she needed a tour of a newspaper factory. So I picked her up and took her to work with me. She stayed with me all day and in the evening, I took her home. Jane didn’t think it was a good idea. I mean, it’s a pooping-peeing little monster who’s probably going to cry for its mommy all night and never let us rest our tired heads in peace again!
Hello, remember babies? They’re a lot worse.
I could’ve let her figure out the harsh weather or I could’ve named her.
That thing they say about not naming something or you’ll get too attached, it’s a true thing. Don’t do it. If you find a bird, it should not be called Samwise. I don’t know why I didn’t learn this lesson when I reared Kathy the caterpillar and he decided to sprout wings and fly away. I found him the best leaves in town but he like the big bad bug-eating world better.
I won’t go into details of her name changes, but I finally settled on Bidli. It’s a mash-up between button and idlis — My most favourite food and my nickname in school. My friend Mehjabeen had suggested it after a visit to Bangalore where she—and much later I— ate the yummiest button idli masala. Sticking with the name was also a sort of tribute to this wonderful friend of mine, Rudra. When I think of Bangalore, he’s the first person I think of… best extension of the city I’ve ever met. He was supposed to take Bidli back with him to Bangalore since Jane had reservations about keeping her and I might have said I’d find her a home in the beginning.
Jane, look at this cute cat picture you took and forget all your worries!!
Two months later, Bidli was still with us and yes, she became a jumping-scratching-under-the-blanket-sleeping part of the household. I became “Bidli ki maa”. Vet visits in taxis with drivers who wondered why I bothered became the norm. Trips to Crawford Market for 10-kilo bags of cat food had me cursing my weak arms and dumb luck, as any parent would do. When Rudra FINALLY came to Bombay to claim the kitty, I thought I was going to die (of sadness). So Mehjabeen, Rudra and I planned a nice “just like that” breakfast at Tea Centre and I told Jane to come along. We use mind control powers and snapped our fingers. This led to that and at the end of it, Rudra went home without the cat.
Bidli did eventually go on to live with Rudra in Bangalore and then with his friend Sujay in New Bombay when I was a travelling fool. She might have stopped over in Pune too…I forget. Eventually, she came back to me. I did have to let go of her again, but she’s now living comfortably in Goa with my parents and my father is in love with her. She drinks milk on the fridge and then preaches how lack of fish distresses her. My dad gives in every.single.time.
Even though Bidli no longer gives a damn about me, I hope she realises how hard I fought for her.
I know she won’t. The imbecile.
(^Photo by Rudra)
(Photo by Jane^)