An ode to Himani, my first love, my cat.

#cats #pets #nostalgia #childhood

Nobody exactly knows when or how Himani came into existence. But she became an intimate part of our household, our mohallah. That is a fact.

From the dens of memories, if I mediate recollections about her, the first thing I can picture again is her black hair on her head, golden on the neck and back; white elsewhere. She was remarkably endowed with the appropriate shade of hair at its humanly appropriate place.

At glance Himani was a sagacious monk, sitting on her hind legs, contemplating the sunset could mellow any heart.

Rumor claimed that during her younger kitten years, Himani was thrown off a roof by a naughty neighbor’s son. But another benevolent neighboring lady made it her purpose to heal Himani.

She called a veterinarian, arranged for the bandaging and medicines and cared for Himani until she began walking again.

Himani walked with a limp for the rest of her life.

But Dear Lord, have I ever seen a more poised, calmer living creation in my life. So much so that she and even our mohallah dog, Burger (a brown beauty), shared a comfy company in each other.

She walked around the house, one step firm and the other gentler. When she finally sat, she sat placing one leg on the ground and the other held softly slightly above.

Non-cat people often complain that cats are not loyal (comparing it with dogs, duh!); that they don’t even sit on the ground like a pet dog would, but they perch atop sofas and in the warmest corners of quilts.

I would say that dogs are dogs (nothing against them, especially Poodles, another love), but cats are aristocratic. They are elegant, maybe they won’t run around you wagging their tail, but they will nudge against you, sit on your laps without you asking for it. They will purr and sleep on your lap, washing away any pain, malice or guilt locked within your chest.

Another blame is that they shit inside the house, but so do you technically. Every creature on Mother Earth needs to be trained like you were how to hold your butt in your baby years.
One grumpy classmate always whined that they steal and while that may be true in some cases, what else would you do on a hungry stomach and no family, eh?

Himani clearly was an exception to that. To everyone who is afraid of being scratched by a cat, barring wild cats not usual to being picked, it’s not my fault that you never held a beauty in your hand or don’t know how to hold one. And for heaven’s sake, I as an educated person, am not even going to talk about the shit superstitions that many literate people believe in.

There were few cats in and around our mohallah before Himani, and fables proclaim that Himani and a neighboring Dhaddu blessed our community with entire generations of cats. Every cat that I see in and around my neighborhood is probably a grand daughter or grand son of Himani.

We, the neighborhood children, even married Himani and Dhaddu once. We prepared brick shelters for her family. (Though they always preferred the sofas.

Those were among my happiest memories of childhood.

But the hardest part was when the kittens died due to cold or disease. We arranged their funerals, burying them with flowers.

And so did Himani one day. Like her origins, nobody knew how or when. She left before her death, almost like a spiritual journey in quest of the truth.
Our neighborhood petted many mohallah cats after that, Twinkle, Shushmita etc. But none of them holds the place that Himani does for me. Himani, the snow of softness. Himani, the song of happiness.

And when she left, the only question that followed anyone’s lips was : ‘Did you see Himani around?’

Image credits : Miss Being Tipsy.

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