The adorable cats of Dehra were my unwanted companions for a few days.
These appealing furry creatures are like babies to my aunt Nyma, who lives in this beautiful town called Dehradun in Uttarakhand. It is located in the Doon Valley on the foothills of the Himalayas nestled between two of India’s mightiest rivers – the Ganges on the east and the Yamuna on the west.
I reached Dehra with the dream of seeing my little sister all dressed up as a bride. She was about to start the second innings of her life in just two days. I am sure you would have heard about fat Indian weddings where guests pour in your home like cats and dogs. I can go on and on about my lovely sister and her wedding, but that I will leave for some other time.
Right now, I will take you to the world of cats whether you like them or not. Well, not that I hate them, h. a. t. e. I think is a very strong word, I wonder who invented it. Anyways, the straight point I am trying to make is, I don’t love them either. In fact, cats never mattered to me at all, till the date my life collided directly with theirs. And guess what, they had an upper hand there.
I was their unwanted guest.
They would stare, meow, hiss, growl and grunt at me.
It is not a very great idea to go uninvited to somebody’s house. They may be busy, or may be not but it is only fair to not disturb their peace until unless they are looking forward to it. But what do you do when you are going to people with pets. The pet owners invite you and look forward to spend some time with you, but what about those pets? I think it is as much as their home and they may not enjoy your arrival. And when such a thing happens, it shows.
They were no ordinary cats; I had a feeling they could read my mind. They could talk to me with their tail, ears and whiskers. I think they held a conference to create a trouble plan for all the guests. I say that because I know, they made sure they sat at strategic spots that would cause maximum inconvenience in moving freely in the house. Of course, there were moments when they would just look at me or blink and look rather relaxed for a change. May be they were lazy then. Or may be they had resigned to their fate. I wonder if they understood we were just guests who would leave in a couple of days and not some permanent new members of the family.
Also i could feel peace when i saw them sleeping.
It was a pity to see some strange people of all shapes and sizes taking up their spaces in home, while they are tied outside in verandahs or terraces. When I say their space, I mean it.
My aunt is an ardent cat lover and everything in her house smells cats.
There is one 74” insulated cedar cat tree house, which is kept in the main verandah. It is nicely decorated with cat toys hanging through its branches.
The dining table has scratch marks on it. That leaves me with a pretty picture of fashionable felines sitting and dining.
The blankets have their names embroidered on them.
The medicine box is kept in a drawer that is locked, so that the cats don’t reach it.
The refrigerator is stuffed with cat food, so much so that it is hard to find people food in it.
The Avent baby bottles are sterilized in the Pigeon Electric Steam Sterilizer before milk is fed to the lovable kittens.
The garden is bare of varieties such as Azalea, Rhododendron, Sago Palm, Lilies, Kalanchoe and Schefflera that may cause harm to cats.
The bookshelf is full of books on cat nutrition.
The bed sheets and pillow covers have fish prints on them.
A big list that mentions what people food is not to be given to cats is stuck to the refrigerator with the Tom magnet on top along with the details of few cat vets.
Online cat treat recipes lie in a printed format on the kitchen shelf.
All in all, the feeling you get is that you are in their house while they are not.
But the real magic happened when the wedding was over and I came back to my own house. I was unpacking my suitcase when I found a cat hair on one of my dresses. That is when I realized I haven’t left them behind. The satiny cats of Dehra will live in my mind forever. Needless to mention, the cat hair still stays safe with me in a yellow envelope in my study.