One of the floors in the multi-storied individual houses is my abode. It was a windy Saturday and cold came calling the previous night, so I plugged my ears with the bike helmet the moment I heard the door shut. I stood there scanning the neighboring terrace for signs of my feline friend. Couldn’t stop asking the woman washing her grandchild in the tap water, “Billi kahaan gayi?(Where is the cat?) ”
She put the child down ,took a deep breath and launched herself into an explanation,”Kya kare babu, padosan bahut darti thi usse! To hamne billi shikariyon ko de di!”
“The girl in the neighboring flat was scared of the kitten(!), so we gave her to the hunters cos we couldn’t keep her here.”
The pretty girl had been pretty scared. I had seen the drama. The old woman was referring to a dense set of trees that was put by the builders of the 30 storied buildings as the forest. According to her, there were three kittens at first, dogs got to two, the mother cat could get just one out in time. The cat had been missing since the last few days. Now, this. I know she is lying, but I want to believe her.
The wind blows through those trees like a reaper’s hand through the harvested grains and I can hear their leaves swish against each other. And in between that, a lonely meow of a kitten longing for a motherly lick and somewhere inside me there is an ache for her well-being.
Perhaps, the one time we played, I should have lured her into a broken half-bucket with a bowl of warm milk, and old towels for comfort and I could hope to see her again.