Thursday, February 13, 2014

Valentine's Day and my Love for Cats

Digital Painting

As you know it is Valentine’s day and while you guys are eating out, giving gifts to each other, I am writing this post in my blog. So, that says it all.

My misfortune dates back to my childhood, while I tried to hypnotize cats. I spent a lot of time in the terrace playing and fiddling with junks when the strey cats often jumped from different buildings landing onto ours. Whatever I was doing, mind it, whatever on Earth I was doing, I abandoned at the split of a second, to quietly steal some attention from the cat... looked into its eyes longingly and called out, “aaye aaye aaye” (in Bengali, meaning come, come, come).

It then looked at me with curiosity and surprise, with a busy, mature expression towards a silly, little girl… and when I proved too boring with the monotony of calling for too long, it would take its face away and tip-toe towards another building leaving me desperate and longing for love.

After I grew up into teens, I still threw away everything… my homework, busy schedule and just everything when a cat passed by. It was intoxicating to see those little, arrogant feet hop from roof to roof, while I sat by the window calling, “aaye aaye aaye.”
Had it been dogs I loved, this day would have been different, you see. I would have been in a restaurant now, like all you guys, having our meals together, holding hands and sitting long after the bill is paid, and then walking together to watch a movie while I leaned on his shoulder and shopped while he insisted to carry the bags. 

But that’s not what I grew up doing. My childhood memories are filled with finding out what cats love. I would dip a cup into the milk-can and hide it from my mother to trap the passing cat in the hope of making it stay a little longer. 

The cat would jump onto the terrace when I offered the cup, would lick it clean while I sat close by and watched. I watched as my heart got heavier and swollen with love with a mixture of deep, sharp pain ringing constantly to add to its flavour. Sometimes, it would allow me to caress gently on its back, or look at me a little longer with compassion. And when the cup was empty, it walked away leaving me watery in my eyes, forgetting in a second’s time what an intense bond we shared.

So, when in a Valentine’s day I stay home or do my work, I do not blame God or the cupid for not doing its job. God has been kind enough. I am one of those lucky girls, who despite of not being a Cinderella, was quite spoilt with choices so far. I quite never had a one sided affair from my side and so quite effortlessly managed to get the person I liked. And it is not even true that I don’t meet the people that tick off almost all the criteria of Mr-Right-list in my mind.

Despite of that, I am just an unfortunate masochist, that likes being in pain perhaps or probably just romanticizes that. Else, why oh why the cat?

I have since then watched my strange affection for the cat-family very closely to understand what in them is so magnetic to my heart. Because of my intense and immense love, never has it occurred to me to get a pet cat from the shop. It is that strey-ness I love. Never has it occurred to me, to keep it forever in my house, it is those stories, that adventure in those aloof paws, that keep me awed.

So, I guess no loveologist can solve the painful path I have taken to trod. While I love its freedom, that freedom hurts. Those eyes that dim and become narrow with soft purr while you hold it close to your heart, those irresistible kisses with short, slurpy licks to fill me up with myths…I begin to believe will last. And then while you are still recovering from the immense trauma of emotions, how it just climbs down the lap so indifferently, grows distant in front of you, while you weep a little everyday with every breath... in and out.

Then one day, it disappears.

And unfortunately, helplessly and hopelessly it is still cats, I love.

So, for the unfortunate of my kinds, you cannot really mark a date in the calender. While you dine and walk together today and make promises of eternal love, I have to sit by the window and keep it a little open for my cat. It is difficult to hear when it comes. Sometimes, when I least expect, it crawls upon my chest and slowly purrs. While half of my heart tears apart in anger, for it to not be tamed despite of all my love, the other part listens to the purr and is astonished of how true that seems--for whatever time it lasts.

Hence, caught up in what is true and what is false and what its equation is with the frequency or duration, I am now always keeping the candles in my drawers. In stormy nights, I keep my ears sharp, the doors a little open and there might walk in my cat. I then open the drawer, take the candles out and light them up while we prepare the dinner. Dear Saint Valentine, the calenders then rapidly swing in wind and gets teared apart, the candles then again and again go off. It is difficult for us, "the cats", to keep a date marked in the calender for love.

No comments: