This is a true story… or is it? You be the judge of that :)
I have never really had a pet, I am not even a pet person. I love the birds that come to my balcony but could never quite understand why people would become so close to their pets. My sister devotedly feeds and looks after stray cats at our walking ground and I lend her a hand. My daughter, Alya looks after a cat at her university, I buy the cat food. And I had no desire to get involved any further than that.
Late last year, it was a Monday and I had taken my father for his doctor’s check up, I received a call from Alya. Her friend Krupa had found a stray cat at their university, it had a broken leg and needed to stay at our place for a couple of hours before she takes it to the vet. I was still at the doctor’s and hurriedly agreed to this, not giving much thought beyond the fact that it will be only a couple of hours.
In the afternoon the cat was brought home in a cat carrier. He was scared but pretty much well behaved. My daughters were so pleased at having a pet, even if it was for a couple of hours. We knew nothing about looking after a cat, but we spent time with him and took photos as a memory of our unexpected guest.
I had bought cat food which was hungrily gobbled up. Two hours passed. Three and even four hours passed but Krupa hadn’t turned up. I was getting a bit jittery. Finally she came over saying she had been delayed and now the vet was closed, could we then keep him overnight as there was a dog at her house.
Ok well I kept him for the night though we had no idea about his sleeping and toilet habits plus he was a stray. Somehow we managed and the following day waited to hear from Krupa. As the hours passed, I was getting a little agitated and thought to myself,
“Why am I getting an additional responsibility at this stage in my life?”
My financial situation was really tight, I had to wind down our business and probably needed to look for a job very soon, my savings were fast running out. Taking him to the vet would be very costly, but I hadn’t the heart to return him with a broken leg. I was now feeling a little resentful, why me?? why now? why?
Well, Krupa couldn’t make it again so we had the cat stay over for the second night. Conflicting thoughts were running through my mind when I suddenly remembered reading an article just a few days before. The only thing I remembered from the article was:
Till December 22nd, do not spend a single thought or emotion on “What about me; what will happen to me?” ~Sadhguru
Hmmm… well I know it was the humane thing to do obviously but my situation was suffocating me and I guess I needed a little reminder, don’t we all? So on the third day I decided I would take him to the vet and pay for his treatment and release him back to the university grounds. Fortunately no intervention was required for the leg, though his leg had an old fracture it would self-heal over time. His vaccination was partly funded by a program for stray cats. I didn’t need to pay an exorbitant amount.
Two days later, the cat came home from the vet. By this time Alya put forth reasons why we should keep him for a few more days and possibly adopt him if things work out. She was very reasonable and not insistent, leaving me with the final decision. I needed to consider the points seriously.
I had all sorts of concerns. We live on the top floor, how would the cat freely roam about? The birds in our balcony, how would it work out with a cat in the house? Will the cat be safe on the top flat? My younger daughter Samia is asthmatic, will she be okay? Daily food for the cat will inflate my grocery bills, which are already strictly monitored. What if he falls ill? Then I remembered Sadhguru’s words again and I decided to keep the cat just for a few days to see how we could work it out, if at all. Of course my daughters were so happy!
Days passed into a fortnight and somehow everything seemed to be falling into place. He got used to going down and coming up, we were able to keep him away from the birds (though he does look longingly at them!), we do need to keep him away from the balcony ledge and Samia so far had not reacted to cat hair. As for the grocery bills, well I just ignored them :)
We had all become close to the cat by now, there was a certain energy in our home and I was so fond of him. I finally decided we would adopt him and it is only then that I named him what I might have named my son … Kabir (after the mystic and poet), affectionately known as Kabira.
I wanted to mark the day he came to our home as his birthday but couldn’t remember the date neither could the girls, I just knew it was about 2 weeks ago and yes, it was a Monday. Oh, and that was the day we took the very first photos of him. So I went through my phone and found them and checked the date. When I saw the date I couldn’t believe it, I had to check again, made sure that it was a Monday. Yes it was the correct date. The day Kabira was brought to our home was 6th November, 2017 – it happened to be the anniversary of my introduction to the Shambhavi Mahamudra practise by Sadhguru in his Inner Engineering program – Isha foundation Nairobi. What a powerful initiation process it was! Moreover, 6th November 2017 meant I had completed one year of my daily Shambhavi practise. Does it mean anything? Who knows? But I loved Kabira so much, it didn’t matter.
A few days later I narrated this story at our family dinner. Well, everybody was fascinated but my brother asked me “What did you say Alya’s friend was called, the one who brought Kabira to you?”
I told him “Krupa. Why, do you know her?”
He said “You know what Krupa means? Krupa means grace.”
Wow that is even more fascinating.
Kabira was well settled with us, his leg had healed, we were just so happy even when he was naughty and scratched us. Then just after he turned 2 months, one evening he disappeared! Just like that…he went downstairs and never came back. Yes, I know cats wander off, it is part of their nature, but we couldn’t bear it if he didn’t return. I have seen stray cats get run over by cars and our neighbour’s cat was stolen. We looked for him all over, even out on the road. The girls were upset and went to sleep leaving their windows open in case they hear him. I kept looking out from the balcony any little movement I saw in the hedge I called him…nothing. It was the breeze or the stray cat from the neighbourhood, no Kabira.
The day was ending and I hadn’t done my Shambhavi practise yet. I kept thinking what if he comes up, what if I don’t hear him. I kept delaying it and just waiting and searching. It was a horrible feeling. 11:30 pm I didn’t want the day to end without doing my practise. One last hopeful search, still nothing. I changed my clothes and was just leaving my bedroom to start my Shambhavi when from my bedroom window (which I had left open), I heard a faint miaow.
Or did I?
Kabira never went on that side of our compound. I rushed to the window, I called him (from the top floor)
Oh my gosh! I flew down barefoot but with enough presence of mind to carry cat biscuits. Each window I passed down the stairway I called out to him Kabira, and each time he responded. The night watchman must have thought I was crazy as I ran to the back of the flats…oh! and there was Kabira giving me a questioning look as if to ask
“Why did you take so long to find me?”
I gave him a few biscuits and while he was eating I grabbed and hugged him so tight! Running upstairs I put out his meal and just managed to complete my practise, very tearfully!
I don’t know whether there is any significance to the story, all I know is Kabira makes us happy. He is also Purrfect for cat memes, he is very photogenic and he recites my poetry quite well :D
Thank you for reading to the end :)
I had wanted to post this story since the end of last year but for some reason I kept delaying it each time. Perhaps I was hesitating because I may have felt better telling the story after I settled with a job.
A few days ago I received a message from a volunteer at Isha foundation Nairobi asking if I would mind sharing this story with others. Well, I guess it was the push I could have been waiting for.
Thanks Alya, thanks Samia, thanks Krupa
My Inner Engineering program experience Clouds, a Collision