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Radha Shrivastava.

Where is the rascal ?? Hiding under the bed again! Radha muttered to herself, as she tried to look under her bed for her kitten. Her aching joints didn’t allow her to bend much. The age hadn't been kind to her.
Radha went in the balcony to look for the missing cat. She looked out on the street suspiciously. She always looked at everyone suspiciously.
"The only way to rule men was by kicking their ass" had been her husband's favorite refrain. He was a hard man. She thought wistfully. Tall big man with moustache that curled at the ends. How she had loved him.
As she returned to the living room, she glanced at the tall teakwood cabinet which displayed Major's rifles, guns and medals. Most of them were empty, but she always kept one gun ready, just in case.
She opened the cabinet in the living room and tenderly took out his gun. He had taught her to use it well.
She still remembered those lessons. On the ranges in the afternoon sun, sweat getting into her eyes, she had tried to aim at the target. Her shoulders and back aching with strain and two hour's practice session.
" Keep your back straight woman" Her husband's voice had boomed. Any other woman would have left him. But not she. She learnt to toughen up and be a soldier's wife. Hadn't been easy, but it was all worth it. After all, when he won the president's medal she was the one he brought it home to, not those other tramps he was sometimes seen parading at the parties with.

He had hated cats, she thought fondly. But she knew that cats were a much superior species. It was not for nothing they worshipped cats in Egypt. Has anyone heard of a dog being worshipped? Never. But as homage to her husband's fondness for their dog, she called each of her cats, Pirate, after his Great Dane. That way she didn't have to remember how many cats there had been. And there had been quite a few. At least one every couple of months.

She had tried to discipline them over and over again. Simple rules really. Nothing demeaning like fetching papers or slippers. No way. Not a cat. That’s for dogs that have no self respect.
But simple rules. Like breakfast lunch and dinner at given time. There would be a dinner bell they had to obey. But they were getting more and more disobedient. She even tried to take one for a walk, but the cat got scared of the neighbor's dog and climbed a tree and wouldn't come down.
Too bad about that one. She just wanted to scare it a bit by holding it out of the balcony, not throw it down like the neighbor had told the police. Keeps throwing cats from the balcony he had said. What did he take her for ? An idiot ? He can talk to her this way only because her husband was no more there to protect her ! May be she should keep the gun handy , just in case. At least the neighbors will talk with more respect .

Where is that darned cat hiding? "Pirate!!! Where are you? It's time for your Bournvita." It was a new cat. She will have train it all over again. They don't make cats like they used to, she thought rather crossly. But this one seemed different somehow. It had intelligent eyes. Jet black cat with beautiful
blue green eyes and a delicate meow. She had found it roaming the streets. When she had bent to pat it it didn’t run off like cats normally do, but sat down and handed her a paw. She was enchanted . A trained cat!! What a rarity! She picked it up, and the cat came with her without any struggle. It had a thick gold chain round it's neck. Had to be a pet cat and she should notify the police perhaps. But No way was she going to go to the police station, not after what they had said about her. Crazy old woman they had called her. She knew what the neighbors whispered among each other. She didn't need them. Now that she had found this cat, she was content. It's meant to be. They were meant to be together. She will make a lovely collar for the cat, better than that chain.

She noticed the cat enter the room.
"Pirate" She called it sternly. "Come here. Stand there, I want to talk to you."
To her amazement the cat walked over to where she was sitting and kept looking at her with it's head cocked to one side, as if it understood every word.

She sighed as she went in the kitchen to pour herself some wine. It was ten minutes past her bedtime because of that cat. Wine for her and bournvita for the cat. For some reason she never approved of cats drinking plain milk. But cat had other ideas. It jumped on the side table and started sniffing at the bottle of whisky kept there.
" Pirate , you bad cat ! That is NOT for you! That is Major Sa’ab’s whisky! You get bournvita. "
But the cat just sat there looking at her through those emerald eyes very knowingly. Radha felt little uncomfortable. Should she give it a lick of whisky instead of Bourne Vita ? She also wondered bout the previous owners. Must be some well to do family, by the look of the chain around the cat’s neck. Pure gold it was. And the cat likes whisky!!! Hmmmmm. We'll get along quite well boy, she thought with a sudden burst of good humour as she pictured both of them sitting cozily every evening with their drinks. She could see them living happily ever after. There was something about this cat that was different. The way it hovered around the gun cabinet, the way it asked for whisky. The cool stare from those blue green eyes….Has the Major come back? She wondered. Such things were known to happen. Nah! Not Her Major Sa'ab. He will never come back as a cat. A Dog perhaps, but never a cat.

She poured Bournvita for the cat in the cat dish and poured wine for herself. Cat was still sniffing at the bottle of whisky, but later went to drink the Bourn Vita.
She was almost asleep on the sofa when the door bell rang. Who can it be at this time of night?
She looked out through the peep hole. It was that sinister looking man from across the landing. She had never liked him much. She never trusted men who wore dark glasses indoors. He was wearing a long black coat, and black trousers. She opened the door a crack, keeping safety latch on.
"What is it?" she asked in a raspy disagreeable voice.
"Good evening Ma'am" He said in a cloyingly oily voice
She could see he was trying to be pleasant.
"Did you , by chance , happen to see a black cat ? The watchman mentioned you had one such cat with you when you returned from your walk".
"May be I did, may be I didn't. What's that cat to you ?"
"It's MY cat Ma’am".
"No it isn't. It's MY cat now. He came to me willingly"
"It's not He. It's a she. Her name is Julie" The thug with dark glasses insisted.
"He -she - what difference does it make? It's MY cat now. You go away or I will call the police."
Radha could see the man backing off a little.
He bent down and started calling out-
" Pssst Pssst Julie Julie !!!! Here -here !" He cooed, his sharp eyes looking around searchingly.
Like a streak of black lightning the cat jumped up and was out through the door.
The thug picked her up triumphantly and said to Radha,
" See ? It is my cat. My Julie! " And turned to go.
Radha was blinded by rage and panic. Suddenly the world turned red. She felt him take away something that was precious from her. It was HER cat. Her companion. They were going to live happily ever. May be it was even Major Sa'ab. What ever it was, this man had no right to take him away.
In a blinding anger she rushed over to the gun cabinet, took the gun. And running back to the door, shot the man in back.
The man turned around with a look of great surprise on his face, started walking towards her. She shot two more bullets through him, and with great satisfaction calmly watched him turn and fall down. Yes. Her Major had taught her well.
The cat jumped from his arms, and came to her.
"Come on Pirate. Come away from that bad man."
Together they went in the house, she locked the door carefully and thought, may be she would give Pirate some whisky, a celebration of sorts.

Comments

Anonymous said…
Lovely! Loads of grammatical errors, badly constructed sentences, but the story works.
-Shiv

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