>> Monday, July 03, 2006
This is the story of a man and a fat black cat. No, not his cat. A stray cat. To give the cat its dignity, we will just call – a cat that ran astray. Sounds better. One fine morning... *interruption* Are you asking for the man’s name? What is your name? If you are not comfortable substituting your name in this story of the man and a cat, then feel free to use the name of the person who is right next to you, or at least is close and visible to you at the moment. Having cleared that, let us begin with a fine day.. or is it morning. All the same. For story’s sake just read on.
One fine morning, the man woke up with a wide grin on his face. It was supposed to be a fine morning after all. He didn’t open his eyes though. Guess why? He wasn’t playing peek-a-boo. Definitely not in the morning. He has to go to work. In the evening he was to meet his woman at the park. He had written a long letter expressing his love for her. He decided to give that to her on that fine day. He opened his eyes gradually to look at his own palm. Some luck it must be for him. He was one hell of a freak when it comes to palm reading, astrology, feng shui, and anything that has to do with his stars, moon, sun, earth, ipod, notebook, basically everything that is related to him. He smiled looking at his palm. “Today is an important day for me. I’m going to give the letter to her". He walked to the window beside which the calendar hung like a dead mouse held by its tail. He quickly tore off the last day’s sheet and scrutinized for the good, bad, could be bad, rather be better, perfect, complete-no-no timings of the day. Another smile escaped out of his not-yet-brushed mouth. He took note of the right time to meet her that evening. He heaved a sigh of relief. Not in the loo. Not yet. But later, yes.
As he got ready to leave the house, he stood by the door and peeped out. For the good signs. The bad signs. And no signs. The road was crowded as usual. His mother was behind him getting ready for grocery shopping. As she tried to open the umbrella inside the house, he sprang on her like a mad cat. We haven’t come to the cat character yet. This is just a comparison. “What is it?” She screamed back. “Opening an umbrella inside the house brings bad luck” he said. “Won’t you ever grow up?” his mother asked as she stepped out. “Your grandmother has turned you into a witch material”, his mother continued. She hated her mother-in-law because she always looked like a witch who lures her son all the time and puts him to sleep with scary tales. We will save up their fights for some other time. “Yesterday the crow kept cawing at our backyard and didn’t I tell you that we were expecting someone home? And we did have our aunt (dad’s sister. Mother hates her as well) come by. They are all signs,” he said. “I’m still looking for that crow. Damn” his mother said and walked away. “Wait, I will drop you” he started his bike. “No thanks. Before you finish off with all your signs I will have done my shopping. Go to work safely” she said and left.
As he sat at his office desk he prayed to God. Touched the computer monitor. Then touched his eyes. He repeated that thrice. He turned on the CPU. It wouldn’t boot. His mind drew a blank. “Something must be seriously wrong with this day at work” he muttered and pressed the CPU button again. It wouldn’t budge. “Maybe I should go back home” his mind raced. “Is everything OK?” his friend asked. “No. It isn’t. The damn machine wouldn’t boot. I don’t see it as a good sign”. “Maybe it is a good sign that you are absolutely bonkers. Switch on the power you fool”. His machine booted and the first mail that he opened was “Astrology Today”. He read all those mails related to his day for another one hour before he checked his official mails. Nothing significant for the day. So he began to read online newsletter.
“Oh shit!” he moved out of his place. “Now what?” his friend whined. “Sitting next to you is like sitting next to a grunting pig that has just come out of a gutter and that is being electrocuted time and again. You get the point? Dude, I have crap all over me” he continued. “My left hand is itching. It means bad luck!” he exclaimed. “It also means you haven’t had a bath in years! Don’t tell me your right eye is now twitching. I would put a Post It note over that eye with the sign –Temporarily Shutdown,” his friend. “In spite of you insulting me time and again I’m beginning to like your sense of humor”. His friend jumped out of his chair and rushed for a coffee.
Our hero (when did he become a hero?) whiles away time until 4 in the evening. Then he decided to hangout with his friend (we will call him frustrated friend) for a coffee. The frustrated friend having had a busy day accompanied our hero to the canteen. “Shhhh” It was our hero. The Fru Fri (frustrated friend) spluttered on the hot coffee. “Now what?” he asked wiping the coffee off his hand. “Shhhh” There was silence. Fru Fri wasn’t amused. Fru Fri becomes more Fru Fri. “Did you hear that?” the hero asked. “You mean the news on the television?”. “No you idiot. The twittering of the lizard”. “OH God! Is there a lizard in this table”, Fru Fri jumped out of his chair. “No it is somewhere in the ceiling I think but I can hear it twitter”. Fru Fri settled down and grabbed his coffee and scrutinized top to bottom for any lizard droppings or still worse the lizard itself. “So what did the lizard tell you?” he asked sipping his coffee after the quality control (pest control?) test was passed. “Some good sign. Maybe she will accept my letter and my love” our hero started dreaming about our heroine. No, his heroine, technically. But what is her name? It is up to you. You already decided on the hero’s name. Now decide her name too. “What happens if the lizard falls on your head?” Fru Fri finished his coffee and with nothing to munch decided to munch his own brains. “Very bad sign my friend. Very bad sign”. “What happens if the lizard falls in your coffee?” Fru Fri wasn’t giving up. “Very bad thing for the lizard my friend” our hero said and burst into laughter. Fru Fri was speechless.
The dusk was more beautiful than the morning. Our hero was to meet the heroine. Climax! Gear up! He parked his bike outside the park in a lane and worked on his hair. When he was convinced that his hair wouldn’t move a bit in the breeze, he walked towards the park entrance. He saw her waiting inside. He got down the lane. And then he saw this nice fat black cat sitting a little far on his right. The cat looked sleepy and dreamy. Must have had coffee or read a few stories on Coffee and Stories. “Black cat” his heart skipped a beat. He walked slowly hoping not to disturb the cat. Looking at the hero through her sleepy eyes, the cat slowly looked up. “Danger” her mind was alerted. She thought the hero was going to hit her or throw a stone at her. The hero wanted to rush before the fat black cat crossed his way. If it did he would go back home not meeting the heroine. He decided so. The cat stood up. The feline fur was almost in strands. It slowly placed one step forward. The hero also placed one step forward. The cat took another step. The hero did the same. A few steps later the cat and the hero were close to each other. They never took their eyes off each other. Now the hero raises his hand slowly to shoo away the fat black cat. The cat moved forward quicker and the hero on frenzy ran faster. What happened finally after this you-or-me drama? Our hero succeeded. He moved forward quicker than the cat. The fat black cat let the hero cross. After all, our hero was the hero of the story and not the cat.
Having woken up from the slumber fully, the cat decided to cross the road and grab some grub. It walked slowly looking back at the hero. The hero walked into the gate looking back at the cat. Screeeeeeech! A car almost ran over the cat. Death of the cat was postponed for some other day. Lucky fat black cat. Our hero stood there in a state of shock after hearing the screeching noise and the scream of the cat. The fat black cat was still in a daze. “B@stard! Don’t you ever try to walk before me. You are so unlucky for animals” the fat black cat abused the hero in her mind. The hero walked in thinking of how lucky he was to have evaded the fat black cat. It wanted to caw, bray, grunt, howl, moo, scream, cry, do a lot of things to make the hero run for his life and let the heroine alone, but all it could do was MEEEEEOOOOWWWWW!