(This article requires critical redrafting due to grammatical errors, shall fix soon)
One day I got a message on this site, that a shop keeper was keeping a cat in his basement. Locked and cooped up like a pigeon in a cage and that it keeps crying all night. She supposedly felt so bad she had to do something it and that something, was as usual, us. The constitutional peasants (serfs would be a better term) of animal welfare and as payment we receive goodwill of the animals . So few days later I had a bit of work at Govind Puri ext market though I hardly ever tread there to due its unmanageable and imaginable chaos and impossibility of finding a parking spot. After my work was duly done , I went around to find the place. I soon to realised that the address given by the lady in question was completely wrong but the shop owners were surprisingly helpful and quite soon I found that shop.
In the seat sat a dark slightly plump man with yellowish eyes staring into my soul questioning my very existence. I introduced myself as a member of PFA and informed him about the complaints we had received. It was regarding a cat being unduly kept locked up in his basement cum go-down. He was taken aback and inquired as to who was the complainant. My response to that was a simple one, I don't know! we lowly officers are not given the name or contact of the complainants , such details only stay with the highest of authority like the president of PFA Gurgaon, Mr Chaudhery.
The man stayed quiet for a while so I spoke again. "Where is the cat?" I questioned." He is in the Go-down", he answered. "Why do you keep him in the go-down?". "I don't know" he replied and continued to speak "he is fed and we keep him as a pet". "In a dark go-down?" I questioned with surprise. He stayed quiet. I requested whether he could show me the cat to which he replied that he didn't have the keys to the go-down hence he was unable too. I realised that this man was not the owner. The owner was some one by the name Subramaniyyam. I asked as to the time of his boss's return and he said couple of hours. I left.
I discussed this with Mr Amit Chaudhery (the one man army of all animal activists) and he was of the opinion that we should save the cat but I never over exceed my limitations and as such thought that someone as head strong and experienced as Abhinav would be my best bet and my thoughts were concurred by Mr Amit Chaudhery. I requested Mr Amit to call Abhinav and he responded soon enough. He informed me that when he is around CR Park area he will give me a call soon as at that moment he was going to rescue a snake.
Around 4 pm, I got a call from Mr Abhinav that he was a bit confused about the where abouts of the place and so I went forth towards my journey and my knight in shinning armour who was to save the animal and also protect me in case the shop keeper came at us with hatchet (that has known to happen too) .
Having spent my entire life in C.R Park I knew exactly where he was however he himself didn't know where he was. I found him sitting on his bike being busy on his phone when I startled him from the back. He smiled and asked whether we should be on our way. I sat behind him even though I was a bit worried about the fact that I did not have a helmet but I also knew that in an urban village like Govind puri, no cop really cares about a man not wearing his helmet. Within few countable seconds we reached near the corner of the shop but as usual , Govind puri being as chaotic as it is, there was a great big jam due to some man driving up the wrong way. I would get flustered at such situations earlier but lately I have realised, if there are things you cant change, for ones own good we should simply learn to ignore.
Abhinav and I decided to hike the rest of the way so we parked his bike at the side of the road, a big plus point about having a bike. I wondered what happened with the snake case and he told me that he rescued it. I asked where the snake was and as soon as I did my gaze fell upon a white coloured plastic bag he was carrying. I froze in my tracks and asked whether it was in that packet and he smiled and said yes. He then offered me to touch and pet the snake, even though the offer was genuine and so is my love for animals, I am simply scared of snakes. I respectfully declined.
We went off on our self justified journey to save a kitten and found ourselves standing in front of the shop. We saw another dark burly man and realised by his attitude that he was the owner of the shop. Abhinav introduced himself and said that he is from AWBI and we have come to rescue the cat he has. He responded with a hostile "WHAT?" . He again reiterated his line but this time with an authority letter from AWBI in his hand. The owner took his own sweet time and then after reading the whole thing toned down his attitude and asked "what was it that we wanted?".
This time I pitched in that he was from AWBI and I was a member of PFA and both our organisations have received complaints about a cat being forcefully kept in your go-down and we want to check her. The shop keeper had no choice but to let us in. He asked one of his workers to take us to the go-down and we followed like lost puppies. Soon we were standing in front of a rusty door leading to a basement/dungeon. He opened the door and we followed in his path but we had to stop short and tried to adjust our eyes because it was pitch dark in there.
Abhinav being the expert that he is quickly started taking pictures. He took the picture of its apparent feeding cup which had dots of spoilt milk stuck to it and it looked more like rotten curd than milk. Mind you, we could see that only after he started putting the lights on otherwise we had no idea whether it was midnight or 4 in the evening. He continued following him one bent after the other as this was a large go-down and every dark corner we turned and smelt the pungent smell of stale air of mold and decaying grain, we both clicked our tongues thinking about the life of this cat.
We reached the end of our short not so interesting journey of a filthy go-down and stood wondering why we wandered around not to find anything and asked the tour guide where the hell was the cat. He pointed towards a card board box. We peeped in and saw a brown and striped kitten with large eyes peering at us with intrigue about this new intruders or rescuers, that I bet she did not know. I picked up the cat and we walked out. On the way back, two school girls and a lady played with her while Abhinav strutted towards the shopkeeper to take his case. Soon I joined him to find him charged up and discussing why what he had dope was wrong but the shop keeper found no validity in his claims. He said he was keeping the cat safe and fed it. We informed him that if that was the case, how as soon as the cat was bought out, she panicked from the light and sound (and clawed me at 3 places).
That was a cat that had never seen the light of day in weeks. Abhinav simply put his cards across the table and told the man that he was not interested in any kind of argument and we simply wanted to take the cat away . He also said that we required him to give it to us in writing that he will not keep another cat in his go-down again otherwise we will initiate legal action. After some more argument , the man agreed and he signed.
We started walking towards the motorcycle and discussed what to do with this cat. I suggested some NGO but Abhinav was quick to dismiss the idea. He said that the life of a cat in an animal hospital is not much better than that of a dungeon she was living in and I had little option but to agree as he was right. Then we decided to atleast move from this place before the shop keeper tries anything funny so we got onto his bike and head for my home which was hardly 5 minutes away.
We got down and started discussing more options when he received a call from Mrs Anjali Sharma ( another hard core animal lover and a stalwart in her area) . He was informing Abhinav of another case near by and he agreed to help when he could as at that moment he was helping with the rescue of the cat. Abhinav was looking clearly flustered so I said that for the time being, few hours let me keep the cat in my guest room and then we can figure something out. Abhinav asked that his snake was probably thirsty so I pointed towards a tap and bucket in my courtyard where he could quench its thirst but I did not stay to see that spectacle as the kitten was clawing me again.
I quickly went upstairs , put her on the guest room bed and closed the door , got a bottle of water and glass for Abhinav and went down. After he had his water I asked him why he was looking so flustered, tired I can understand but flustered? He narrated his story as to how he has lost his very expensive camera on one of his parrot raids, where the bloody idiots started attacking him as soon as he questioned about the parrots held in captivity.
He asked as to why people like him are not getting legal and financial help as his business has gone down the drains due to the fact he is running around 24/7 just saving animals of all types, from cats to dogs to snakes to parrots and I completely agree. If people like Abhinav are not given the support he duly deserves then soon he will have no option but to get back to the same work of earning his bread and we will loose a very worth while solider who keeps fighting day and night for the voiceless. I couldn't agree more with him but thats how this country is, not only do people like Abhinav spend money from their own pocket, their own time, energy and sometimes blood the only thing they get in return is a grateful animal. That would be enough if man could live on bread alone and in this situation he is not even getting the bread.
He left after that, promising me a hasty solution while I become the foster father of the cat. I went to the market, bought some milk and came back to feed the kitten. I locked all my dogs in the house and opened the door of the guest room but couldnt find her. Soon I see to my shock she is sitting on top of a cupboard and looking at me with anger and the hair on her back were all standing.
I realised quickly that either I got her to be friendly or she would claw me to death. So I quickly went down and got her some biscuits too. I broke them into little pieces and put them on the table. The smell of the biscuits finally made her come down and she gobbled them like she was hungry for days and she actually could have, considering that she was quite thin. After the set I gave her, I gave her some more but this time directly from my hands and soon she got friendly to me, I had locked the roof door where my guest room is but she had access to an open roof so I wanted her to get the feel of an open sky and wind but no matter what she would not step out.
I tried calling her and thats when I gave her the name 'Meow' but she just couldn't garner up the courage to come out, she just kept sitting on the bed so I decided to go and sit beside her too. Pretty soon she started being friendly with me, rubbed her claws on my shorts and made a funny purring noise. Rolled over her back and chased my legs and bit them too (that hurt) but I knew it was not in aggression but out of playfulness as I have raised three puppies.
After some 30 mins of playing with her and feeding her , I realised she was not going to come out so I left her in the locked room for sometime. Again after some 3 hours I returned and opened the door of my guest room but was shocked to see her missing, I kept looking here and there and then turned around and was startled out of my guts . I saw her perching on the top of another cupboard and staring down at me with big big eyes which gleamed like light under water. I called her down and so she did and again I coaxed her out but she wouldn't.
after some 2 hours of trying she finally realised that it was safe for her to come out because neither was I hurting her and nor was I forcing her. Finally she came out and very carefully started smelling everything, she was obviously a bit scared as there must have been a lot of dog smell on my roof. She went around smelling everything and kept rubbing herself near my legs and doing that same purring thing on my furry slippers. I started to get very attached to her but I knew I could not keep her for more than just personal reasons.
I quickly messaged Mr Amit and Mr Abhinav to help me out soon, either to get her adopted or a foster home and they both agreed to help me out as soon as they could. I realised that she was rubbing herself on me much more than usual so I guessed that perhaps she I was hungry again so I went to get a bowl of milk . When I came back I found her sitting inside the room and on the bed. As soon as she smelt milk, she popped out and starting drinking it like great greedy guts .
It was such a touching scene to be able to feed a hungry kitten and watch its striped tail wag. It reminded me of the time when I had hand fed a coughing dog, thin and frail at then of its life, just wanting some water. After which, leaving all my urgent projects I needed to finish I stood outside with her on the roof while my dogs were left wondering why I was not letting them on the roof today. They could smell something tiny on the other side and were not very happy about it. For once something else other than my 3 dogs was getting more attention and that wasn't going down very well with them, regardless I continued to pull her out of her shell by trying to play with her, making her see that there was nothing to be scared of etc.
After another hour she her self again went and sat on the guest room bed so I closed in and let my dogs in as I knew that maybe they had to pee. After they were done with their peeing , I washed my roof and let her out with few biscuits in my hand again and again she had climbed the top of that cupboard. SO i called her down and as usual she did but there was a difference this time. She was much more playful and running around.
Finally I saw a bit of her kitty coming out of her shell, she was rolling on the ground wanted me to play with her then all of a sudden jumping up and running as fast as she could. She looked happy and that started to scare me. I didnt want her to get too comfy here as this was not going to be her permanent home. I kept playing with her for half an hour , I even ran after her few times and she seemed to enjoy that. She would hide behind the table and soon as I would turn my back she would pop out grab my leg, give a small bite and run off again.
I remembered that I had an online meeting with a client so I locked her back into the room and went off for my meeting. After the meeting concluded and opened her back again and she was her usual cheery self. She was running into the room and then bolting out with such speeds that I have never seen from either of my 3 dogs (excuse my labrador, she doesn't know what running means ) . She made those few runs and before I realised why she was doing so I understood later that she was trying to gain speed to jump over my wall and go to my neighbours balcony . As soon as she did that , my heart got stuck in my throat.
I clambered over, half sticking my body out over 40 feet to see where she was. It was completely dark as it was around 1:30 at night. I kept calling to her and it seemed like she was looking for another exit but couldnt find one as my neighbour has sealed her balcony with that green anti heat cloth , so she could not go anywhere, the only exit was the little gap and that lead to my balcony . For 30 minutes I kept hanging my body out trying to call and catch her.
Few days back man opposite my house jumped from the roof and I still get chills down my spine because I clearly remember the THUD sound of a man falling from 40 feet to his death. It sounds like a sack of potatoes and as long as its that you dont mind but as soon as you realise it was a living, breathing man , you just cant get that sound out of your head.
I couldn't help but wonder if I was going to be the next guy to fall off and someone else hearing my thud because I had one foot over the roof and one on the other side of the fence. After 30 mins of trying to get her back and failing, I realised she just wasn't interested in coming onto this side and instead was trying to escape from her new jailer which I was not but who can make her understand.
I went down stairs and brought a piece of a fish, being a vegetarian for last 8 years now , this must have been the first time I had held fish. The smell of that fish was too much for her to resist and so she climbed on that parapet and I quickly grabbed her but not before she clawed me at three different places , gave her that fish and left her in the room locked again and went to sleep as I was completely exhausted but before I went to sleep I narrated the whole story to Mr amit and Mr abhinav through SMS begging them for help as I knew I was not equipped to handle this at all.
In the morning my mother woke me up reminding me that I need to feed her and that she must have been locked all night so I woke up and opened the door to find her rolling around on her bed quite chirpy and happy , I assume with the fish she had last night. This time I barricaded the place she had jumped onto that led to my neighbours balcony with flower pots, mats and a basketball. She tried the same trick few times, running as fast as she could from the room to that place but forfeit her jump at the last moment as she realised that now the wall was over 6 feet in height and as such was impossible for a kitten. I being satisfied that now she has no where to go, went down stairs to get some more milk and biscuits for her. When I came upstairs I found her rolling in the sun and seemed quite happy but every now and then she still went under that barricaded parapet corner and tried to jump onto it but realised she could not. I left her in the room again and left for work.
Around three hours later, I opened the door again and she popped right out. This time she was sitting on top of the fridge (which i had switched off for her protection) . She again started running around and it was a cute scene the way she was playing, running around my feet , jumping on my shorts but I tried to neglect most of it as I just didn't want to get anymore attached and maybe she felt and understood that and maybe that's why she did what she did next.
I was leaning near the barricaded wall as she jumped onto the parapet again, I knew from where i was standing she could not pass me . She climbed onto few of the pots i had on the parapet and started chewing on the grass. I was fine with her playing around, I felt that she was finally at ease with herself but then all of a sudden she ran off with the speed of light and climbed on to this small tin shed area I have on my roof that used to cover a small area of my roof where we used to keep our washing machine once upon a time.
I knew what she was trying to do but I also knew that there was nothing I could do about it. I quickly got my metal ladder and climbed that shed. That shed is so old that it could have broken and I could have fallen to some fatal injury if not death. I softly treaded over the stronger bits and climbed over to my parapet of the roof and then jumped over 2 feet of abyss to reach my neighbours roof (illegally I might add). At the edge of the roof I saw Meow looking at me and before I could go towards her she meowed at me twice wagged her tail and jumped to my other neighbours roof. I climbed over that roof too and by now i had illegally over entered two houses without the owners permission.
I looked around everywhere but could not find her . I came back home , hoping maybe she is sitting in the room but she wasnt. I climbed my roof again with the metal ladder and saw every everywhere. She still wasn't to be found. I was heart broken. I saw her half filled cup of milk and couldn't hold my tears anymore. I kept looking for her everywhere but she was nowhere to be found. I left the milk cup on top of the roof and hoped she would come back.
I went into my room and saw my dogs sleeping there, this was the first time in many years I screamed at them and sent them out. I guess partially because I was so distraught and partially because I blamed them for not being able to keep her more safely. I sat down with a bottle of gin and fell asleep soon. I was woken by my mother who realised that I have not had a single piece of food since last night as she found my breakfast still lying in the fridge. I lied to her saying I had made some sandwiches and went back to sleep. Around 11pm, I woke up and went to look for her again, climbed that roof in the pitch dark and sat there for sometime hoping to hear a mew from my meow but she was no where. The cup of milk I had left for her on the roof had by now got completely spoilt and I threw it away.
In the morning with a massive hangover I went around looking for her again. On my roof, on the tin shed, the guest room but she had left me.
Maybe one day Ill see her, maybe I wont. All I sincerely hope and wish is that wherever she is, she is safe and loved. Goodbye, my meow and take care, my best wishes will always be with you.