I don’t know when and how Ron and Ross found their way home. Their mother had been a regular visitor at our home on Saturdays when fish would be bought and cleaned to sustain us for the coming week. One day, I woke up to the cries of kittens from the back of our house, and I couldn’t control my jubilation. I rushed to discover the new tenants, only to be stopped by my mother. “One oughtn’t disturb the cats; they’ll be at their most vulnerable and fierce selves now”, said she. Consequently, the door to the back was locked for days. Their dates of birth had been obtained by conjecture, and I counted my days for the final reveal. Finally, the cat momma started dropping hints that its babies were ready for the reveal, and the human momma nodded assent. The day arrived, finally, when I could meet the furry babies- one was a ginger tabby cat, and the other a white one with patches like a panda. I named them Ron and Ross respectively, after characters from my favourite TV show and book series. The cat momma soon left their charge almost entirely to me. She bade them farewell, and Ron and Ross were to live the rest of their lives with me. They were a happy bunch. They were also extreme opposites. Ross was lethargic, and always slept; and Ron didn’t waste a single wakeful moment in his life- he was to be seen climbing trees, stealing dried fish, jumping walls, and doing every sort of mischief that tiny being could do. Watching them being them became my favourite pastime; putting them to sleep and feeding them became daily activities that I looked forward to. Weeks passed, Ron and Ross were growing; they were looking healthy and happy. And I couldn’t be happier. I had become something like their mother, and they my babies. I was spending most of my days with them, and was loving every bit of it. One morning, I didn’t find Ron in his usual spot in his favourite tree. He stayed in bed, and Ross was with him. I found it quite unnatural. My gran gave him the local antidote for indigestion, but it wasn’t helping. Ron’s health started to decline rapidly, and this took its toll on Ross as well. I couldn’t help but think of the dizygotic twins Rahel and Estha, wondering if Ross would be equally bearing the pain Ron was going through. We did everything we could; Ron was given medicines, prayers were said for him. He showed a slight improvement in the following days. I could see the look of relief on Ross’s face, and Ron was returning to his regular spot in the tree. The next morning, Ron wasn’t to be found anywhere. Ross was crying to the top of his voice; I could see his grief in his eyes. I was equally worried. A ‘search party’ was sent to find Ron, and they returned with the report of a tired ginger lying in the back part of the plot. I ran to the spot, and my mom followed my lead; Ross didn’t need to be told; he’d already found his way to his brother astray. I was crying, seeing him like that was hard. My mom told me “cats know when they are going to die, they run away from their homes to rid their family of the grief. They take the ill-fate of their masters upon themselves; it’s for Us Ron’s dying”. I shot back “you ain’t helping, and Ron is not dying”. I carried him back to my house- his house. I spent more time with the brothers. It was hard, but it was the need of the hour. Somewhere deep, I was starting t reconcile with the fact that end wasn’t far for Ron, I was preparing myself for that wretched day. I gave him his favourite food. Ross didn’t complain this time, and Ron gobbled up his treats savagely. The next morning, I rushed to their bed as soon as I woke up. Ron and Ross hardly moved. Ron was still, Ross was too grief stricken to move. Ron was dead. I don’t know if cats had tear glands, but Ross was crying. We buried Ron. Ross spent the rest of the day with me, he couldn’t seem to manage solitude very well. He had lost his comrade, his partner, his friend and brother; and I, my baby. Ross went on to live for many more years. We were inseparable. We gradually got over the memory of Ron. He had a free-way ticket to my bed, he’d wake me up, and we’d play together. He’d eatfrom my hands, and we’d do everything imaginable together. We were happy, in spite of our loss. They say, cats are selfish creatures- as opposed to dogs, who “live” for their masters. It takes a great deal more of love to die for others, doesn’t it? Sometimes, when I hear this, I feel, people are just blind and insensitive to not see the way a cat loves its family. I saw it- when Ron ran off that dark part of the land, in Ross’s eyes when Ron died. Years later, I see and feel it every time Luna, my tabby cat purrs, and snuggles into my arms on wintry mornings; when she mounts my shoulders, and bumps her head onto mine, when we’re eye level. - Ann Maria II BA English LIterarure St. Teresa's College
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