Winter nights are super-cool. Literally.
Being a very summer person I seldom care for a weather that involves layers of woollens. Trust me, it's close to snowing this year in Kolkata. I know it shows 13°C on the news channels, but that is obviously to stop people from panicking. Remember how they played music when Titanic was sinking?
Tonight, of course, is different. I was taking a stroll on the balcony and talking to a friend on my Nokia E63 (which, as we all know, is the greatest cellular telephone model ever invented. In fact, it was so great that they only sold a limited edition before Risto Siilasmaa had decided to call production a halt).
The conversation ended in the vaguest possible way, making me stare into the sinister darkness of the night sky. Kolkata usually looks extremely pretty when the internet is down, but tonight I could appreciate her though Om-Dar-Ba-Dar (don’t ask!) was being downloaded at a breakneck speed on my laptop.
Then I noticed the cat.
Note how I have itialicised the word ‘the’ in the paragraph above. I guess it would have been a better idea to do away with the italics completely and use a capital C for cat. This means that “the cat” will be replaced by “Cat” throughout the rest of this post. If I use a small c it would imply that I am talking of another cat. If the word appears at the beginning of a sentence use your own judgement.
Cat has been irritating me for the past few days, and that is an understatement. I usually do not mind if Cat turns up in unlocked rooms and darts past me when I enter. I’m not sure who owns Cat, but I guess Cat thinks it owns our place and is quite confident about it.
I do, however, mind when the black-and-white pest (this is not a zebra or a panda that I’m talking about) thinks 2.45 AM is the perfect time to rehearse something in impeccable feline. You can almost set the clock by its accurate sense of timing.
But why 2.45 AM? Why this specific unearthly hour, night after night? Mind you, this was not the usual meow or purr: this was a kind of frantic mating call – only without a mate. The call was really too hideous to be classified as a mating call: it can arouse a set of fingernails working on a blackboard, but that was about it.
I had once struck upon the theory that Cat works in the cat community as a manual (do cats use the word ‘manual’?) alarm clock. I have often left my desk to watch Cat intently, only to find him go on cawing nonchalantly, completely ignoring me.
Slowly but steadily I realised it was out to settle some kind of personal vendetta against me. I was reminded of Birds: I probed into my past, looking for any anti-feline activity that might have triggered the feelings but could not find any.
Finally I was convinced that I was not the guilty party: Cat was. It was one of those cat-demons that you should have come across in fairytales but never have – for the simple reason that these little menaces had bullied Andersen and The Brothers Grimm into writing otherwise.
Cats have nine lives, I have read. Cat cannot be an exception. Cat is, after all, a cat. I have one. 1:8 definitely sounded better than 1:9 from my point of view.
I had noticed Cat from above. It was on an asbestos terrace of sorts; I was on the balcony above. It was an easy victim: all I needed to do was just go to the bathroom, fill a mug with ice-cold water, and empty the entire thing on the demon. Of course, emptying an entire bucket would have been a better idea, but I wasn’t really sure whether the asbestos terrace would be able to withstand the weight of the water.
Then I noticed something: Cat seemed to be out on a mission. It leapt on the wall separating our house from the neighbours; then, for whatever reason, it started to walk on the wall (taking breaks for barriers) and circumscribed the entire house to came back to rest on the asbestos terrace just below where I was standing.
Why would any creature do something like that? Bothering the demon with water can wait, but what nuisance is this? Even if it was working as a spy, who was its recruiter? How was circumnavigation going to help the recruiter? And what was the fixation with asbestos?
I took out my E63 and Googled with asbestos + cat. Overexposure to asbestos apparently leads to cats being infected by mesothelioma, which is actually a rare kind of lung cancer that is triggered by, well, overexposure to asbestos.
Now I started to get a bit concerned about Cat: should I actually scare it off the asbestos by emptying a container of freezing water on it? On the other hand, what if the sudden encounter with water went on to leave a deep, incurable psychological scar on Cat?
While all these were going through my mind, Cat started its regulation stroll – only in the exact opposite direction: this time he was going anticlockwise. He took the exact opposite route along the wall and eventually came back and ended up on the asbestos terrace.
Then Cat started clockwise; then anticlockwise; clockwise again; back to anticlockwise; this way; that way; asbestos terrace; otherwise; at the same pace; never missing a single step on the entire route; never putting a foot out of line; just going on and on and on.
I took out my E63. 2.40 AM, it said. Do I check Facebook quickly to find out how many Likes my new witty update had received? Or should I resist and patiently wait for Cat to shriek in five more minutes? What should I do?
Curiosity didn’t really kill me, but it did me hooked. This has to be the last round, I told myself. Cat has to end up on the asbestos terrace once it was through with this round.
Cat did not turn up.
2.41. Still no sign of Cat.
Where has the bugger disappeared?
Still no Cat. I leaned over the cornice to have a better look. Then I remembered that my E63 was equipped with a flashlight – and saw something moving very, very vaguely on the asbestos.
I leaned further. It did not help.
I went on my toes to have a closer look.
Time had come for drastic action.
I pulled a chair next to the cornice and leaned over; I knew that I was about to take a serious risk, but it was probably worth it.
I leaned further; and further; and further; till...
The last thing I heard before the fall was the sound of my door opening.
This is funny. It did not hurt.
Of course, I had landed on my limbs: all four of them. So it wasn’t supposed to hurt, I suppose.
Something is different, though.
something major has changed and i cannot fathom what
now that i have arrived on this gray thing after the usual fifty rounds of this brick house at the same time just to give creeps to the hehuman inside the room i can see him coming out of the room only that he is looking at me in a confused state it seems that he is not carrying any fish or milk or anything yummy even today but still i get a kick out of giving him the creeps look at the moron he was perhaps sitting in front of that black toy and making that khat khat sound with his fingers humans are kind of funny in that way they sleep at night but this hehuman stays up but doesnt look for shehumans or fish or milk or mice but does this khat khat i think he may be mad but he looks all normal i wish he would call me inside this night is after all very cold but the hehuman is too selfish i will throw dead mice on him some day