As of This Morning,

I woke up early, for the first time in a long time, and gulped down water. I watched the kittens struggling to walk, the brown one hiding behind the black one. Shy, much like me. I read something interesting about the ancient-ness of the Appalachian ranges in the US- Canada border, and wondered how the Earth has seen so many tenants, and like a very successful landlord, has managed to bury them- dead or alive. Instead of waiting for them to ask for their deposit, she made them the deposit.

The kitchen greeted me with the smell of cat food, a smell that I have decided to confess I am not fond of, but tolerate. The stove did not light, so coffee was not made. This broke my heart. But again, was tolerated. I found a cheese bun to warm in the microwave oven, and burnt my tongue out of a greed that rises when one is presented with a soft hot bun to bite into. Ungrateful, buns in the oven. Ungrateful, my mom has called me many times.

I persisted, and took each bite of soft bun with utmost meaning, carefully chewing it, keeping mind of how soft it was. A crumb that fell on my thigh was mistaken for an insect, and a wave of fear distracted me from the soft bun memoir being written in my head. I decided to speed ahead, and gulped the bun down to ensure no other rogue crumbs got any such ideas. Yes, the fallen crumb was devoured too.

In some romantic morning hope, I tried the stove again. It was clear to me that there would be no coffee today. So, I settled for hot water from the kettle instead.


Bekku kutty

One Sunday afternoon I opened my front door to find a loaf of cat outside.

Loaf of cat spotted.

Suddenly, she grew legs and befriended my cactus plant, Prickandi.

cat befriending cactus.

Any friend of Prickandi is automatically a friend of mine, and so I had to let her in.

Letting in loaf cat who befriended cactus Prickandi

She came into my house, and resumed her loaf state.

Resumption of Loaf state.

Judging her consistent desire to loaf, I named her Loaffur.

Eventually- mainly because she peed and I had to clean it up- she became a part of my house. She was clingy. She constantly wanted my attention, and wanted to be around me.

sleeping near me when I am studying

Soon I began to feel like a colonizer. Clearly, she has been born and raised in Bengluru, how can I put off one English name? It did not seem to fit. Yes, she was a loaf, but she was not always a loaf.

I needed a good name that accurately described who she was.

And so I named her Bekku. Which means Cat in Kannada. Sometimes (meaning most times) I was overcome with love and I called her Bekku kutty (meaning small cat.)

Bekku cutie ammirite?

Bekku kutty and I would listen to many songs- Kannada, English, Hindi, Malayalam, Bengali, everything. She would eat and I would watch, or I would eat and she would watch… for an opportunity to jump at my plate. I would sleep and she would climb my bed. At first I tried to push her away, but she would climb right back in. I was annoyed with her, and yet if she went out and didn’t come back I would become a mess. It seemed she was going to be here for a long time.

But I was not. I had to leave to Kerala and then the second wave of Covid came to cut us off. I am not sure when I will go back. I fear that whenever I do, bekku kutty would have long forgotten me and moved on.

I believe she came to me to do me a favour. She came because she knew I needed her company, she could sense my yearning. She came because just the day before, on a gloomy Saturday, VJ ma’am had come in, full of life, offering me two pieces of advice to end all the problems I had with men, their lives, and their unsolicited advice-

  1. Read a poem everyday.
  2. Get a cat.
Advice to Women

Keep cats
if you want to learn to cope with
the otherness of lovers.
Otherness is not always neglect –
Cats return to their litter trays
when they need to.
Don’t cuss out of the window
at their enemies.
That stare of perpetual surprise
in those great green eyes
will teach you
to die alone. 

Eunice De Souza 
Bekku loafing outside, not responding to my calls.