Greeshu was a wonderful friend. He always greeted me whenever I returned after my rounds, mostly in the evenings. Usually I call on one or two friends to pass messages concerning our Association meetings etc. Greeshu knew these houses. He'd read my mind, and proceeded straight to those houses ahead of me. Some of my friends did not like his presence and used to shoo him. But Greeshu used to bear the insults for my sake and wait nearby. At times, my trip was a purchase mission. But Greeshu, thinking that I was going to a friend would take a wrong route. On finding that I was not behind but on the other side of the road, he would decide to cross the road instantly. He had escaped from the wheels of running vehicles over a hundred times! At times, alert driers used to apply sudden brakes and also throw a few abuses on Greeshu. But Greeshu would position himself close to me and smile. The agony or relief from it, in the mind of the driver did not seem to bother him.

He followed my wife and daughter also whenever they went out but in a different role. He went and stood close to the girl as she was transacting the deal. He uttered a low growl if anybody tried to sneak out without bothering him but failed. He read at the gate. Perhaps he followed the talks between me and my wife. I used to wonder at his intelligence.

Greeshu always enjoyed human company. Sometimes he would be running down a street aimlessly, but if he found a few men standing and chatting, Greeshu would stand and listen to them intently. He never joined in the street fights of stray-dogs. Perhaps, he was aware that he belonged to a 'higher class'. He bypassed such scenes, as any gentleman would by-pass the untouched talks of drunkards. He was ever friendly and gentle with children.

Just as nobility and wisdom, age also filled Greeshu. As time passed, he reached his ripe, old age. His walk became sluggish. He felt difficulty in going upstairs. He had difficulty in digestion. Even vision was less efficient. He enjoyed sleeping long hours. The general opinion was that Greeshu had lived 'his life' and should be put to (eternal) sleep now! It was said that we will be saving him from the difficulties he was facing due to age and saving him from the death agonies also. But our hearts would not buy any such views. Greeshu has been one of us. He will be with us till the end. And the end is in God's hands.

We continued to take care of Greeshu. We had a bit of worry, since we were going aboard on holidays. We had done it before and left the dogs in the care of servants. But this time it was different. Greeshu's condition was a very big worry to us. While we were agonizing silently, Greeshu solved it himself, quite heroically.

One day I opened the front-door and found that Greeshu was nowhere! We searched all day. I looked for him in the night also, in places where some dogs gathered, but to no avail, later, when we discussed this matter with others and we were told that dogs went away and died in a secret place. Greeshu had also done that!

Not our cat, but we still love!

Cats are very common. They are introduced to us even in our 'play-school' days through some popular, nursery rhymes. As we know, cats are peace loving and beautiful creatures, yet they are cited to describe indecision or opportunistic tendencies, as in the oft-quoted phrase "cat on the fence". A cat's inborn right to sit on a fence or a wall, is very badly maligned. But cats are not bothered over it!

WE have become friendly with a cat lately (we means self and my better half). She just walked in one day (or evening) stared at us, gave a friendly mew and walked inside to locate the kitchen - just to seek food and not for any 'vaastu' investigation. My wife has not one but several soft corners in her heart - for cats, dogs, squirrels and birds that reciprocate love. She offered some milk (human hospitality) and the cat lapped it up instantly. "Somebody's cat, and has strayed off", she remarked. "It will go back home", she said in conviction. But her prophecy had no effect on the cat, who continued to live in our street. She dropped in quite often for refreshment and to snatch a nap on the divan. My wife kept telling the cat, "See, you are not our cat. Go back to your people".

But the cat stayed, we had to accept the event. Yet, later developments proved that stayed is an understatement. She lived happily, loved, conceived, littered and prospered. And the littering is continuing as an ongoing process - as frequently as the law of biology of the species permit. We have had trouble finding homes for the kittens. Over a dozen kittens of 'not our cat' are now in as many homes. May their tribe increase!

Nearly a month back, my wife sensed that the cat was searching for a 'Maternity ward' and started cautioning the animal that she was not to 'do it there'. But, as I have recorded earlier, this cat is not open to any sort of briefing or counseling. My wife had to leave station on a mission and I was left alone with the cat. I did not repeat instructions, but I took all other precautions. I kept all doors closed and firmly believed that the cat will have to look for a new place now with the sagging-belly and I knew that she was 'still on the job'. I felt relieved. One day, self and a neighbour observed that the cat had 'done it'. Feeling sure that it was not in our house this time I asked the neighbours to see if it was in their houses. They all gave a negative reply next day. Then, where? A thought flashed in my mind. I ran upstairs and gave a look in the small room, where some old blankets were stored. I was right - the cat was there with four tiny kittens. I bolted the door alright, but the ventilator was open. This proves our belief. Even if all doors are barred, God opens a window or ventilator.

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