Over the course of two failed relationships and a relatively successful one, I have come to realise one thing: I am disposed towards falling in love easily.
Generally this may be regarded as a trait that is largely desirable, unless the timings of the said dalliances coincide and the lovers involved, do not.
I have also realised that as a human being, I am painfully clichéd. Like all well-meaning MBA graduates who have been taught to gaze up at the sky and wonder about their place among the stars, I too tend to trample on the thousand splendid flowers that have come to flourish on the lush, sprawling hills in the first rains of the bleak, unforgiving summer. And it is only in times of great distress, when the world around me has grown ominously dark, that I am compelled to look for meaning in the dirt.
And it is exactly in that fleeting moment, that I begin to unravel the one overwhelming truth of life: in spite of all the unkindness in the world, love is all around us.
So here I am, sunk in my couch, counting my last few days in a city where I have seen despair and hope, felt uncontrollable rage and betrayal until it has been washed away by the compassion and reassurance of my lover – where I have dangerously teetered at the edge of hopelessness and darkness, until I have been pulled back by a pair of tiny paws and soft, reassuring purrs.
I have been questioned over the practicality of adopting a cat from the streets of Chennai, and her four tiny kittens; I have been disparaged over letting her walk all over my laptop (and claw at imaginary slights on the screen) while I work. I have faced bewilderment when I have recounted (countless times) the story of how I could let an ordinary house-cat that slept under the dried leaves, shed disdainfully during the autumn, sleep on the couch while I slept on the floor.
Because she is family. And of the thousand lessons that have been beaten into me over time, one particular lesson sticks to me like a blue blistering barnacle. You never quit on family.
So without any prior experience of having raised an animal (literally anything that moves) – that leaves thoughtful (albeit stinking) gifts all over my prized belongings (something that my girlfriend does not take too enthusiastically to) at will, I have decided to take her and her unbelievably cute offspring along. I have decided to shell out a fifth of my monthly earnings to ensure that she gets to go where I go.
Because in exchange for that considerable sum of money, I know that at the end of that disappointing, bleak day at work – there are a handful of purring, grateful and happy-go-lucky set of paws that pull off the greatest circus tricks for me for free. And when my Sampriti is lying next to me, and we are dealing in bad puns, there’ll be a tiny ball of fur that wants to be the centre of attraction, in spite of our best attempts to push her off the bed. Because, in exchange for that majestic sum, it’s going to be one hell of a road trip, with a bunch of tiny creatures that have grown in significance over the last eight months.
Because, when you look at it that way, an eighth of her lifetime is already over. In the remaining seven years or so that she has (despite the allegations we level at her kin,) from within her tiny beating heart, and those large twinkling eyes, she has the love of a thousand splendid lifetimes to offer to me.
And I can’t quit on that. I will not quit on Peanut.