Friday, November 26, 2010

The double-double that wasn't

    "Well, they aren't the most useful creatures around."
That surprised me. I wouldn't say shocked, especially given the nature of our preceding conversations, but I was expecting (hoping) you'd be in agreement with me on that one.
    - "Define useful."
    - "They don't really do much. Lay around, eat, sleep. Cute, yeah! But useful?"
    - "As opposed to dogs who'll fetch twigs, bark noisily, lick and feed on a steady diet of turds."
    - "You mean cats don't slobber?"
    - "They do, but are courteous enough to spread it discretely all over themselves, where it vanishes, except for adding that subtle gloss..."
    - "Look at you go there again! I meant useful work. Dogs guard, sniff bombs, lead the blind, retrieve, and where I came from..."
    - "You mean come from!"
Cutting you off without losing a moment, it was around a quarter of a second before I noticed your right eyebrow rise up, and the tiniest fold develop above your other eyelid. It was within the next second by four that I realised what that meant, and wiped that smug wise ass smile off me in a hurry.
    - "Oh! Sorry! You meant.." Difficult following up such an action packed semi-second.
    - "Yes keener boy, where I came from; I am not a natural. Forgot that already, eh?"
Sorry! No more Grammar Nazism.
    - "So, where I came from, dogs hauled around luggage, you know, supplies, postal bags and all."
    - "hmm... Extrapolating the route your train of thought is chugging along, the next station has to be you telling me why one should be a cow-person."
    - "I just meant dogs are more active, mankind's best friend, if you will..."
    - "'Mankind's'. You sound like a perfect left winger, and yet you..."
    - "Hey! Hey! It's called libertarian!"
    - "Ok.. I mean when I think of dogs, what comes to mind is an emotionally insecure person with a need for constant, interminable, unremitting, unconditional affection; not exactly the most Li-ber-tay-rian type around.. hard to imagine someone like that rolling a joint, really..."
Oops! Had I said too much? You just had your eyebrows raised, and the most perfect poker face I had seen on you. Double oops! I just saw you see me seeing you intently; too late for a poker face now!
    - "Go on..."
    - "Uh! Yeah.. So, cats don't make good slaves, don't wag their tails, and don't slobber you with affection. And the closest they come to sports is when someone makes racquet strings out of one. They're just so placid. Self-contained. They do what they want. Don't listen to you. Moody. Expect you to cater to them. Persuasive, but with dignity. Walk away if you still don't give in. Wish to be alone when you feel like playing with them. Drive you nuts. And yet, they make us fawn over them..."
This time, I turn my gaze from the moon towards you, casually. Yes, just revving in the collect-your-thoughts pause. Not watching you. And... there you go. Saw me see you. Again. Why do I even try?
    - "You think I'd make a good cat?"
    - "I think you would. Not a great cat though, but still, a very good cat."
    - "hmm... You're not doing too bad yourself!"
Huge smile. Won't hide it.
    - "It's almost time; They won't let us back in after another hour. What do you propose?"
    - "A coffee would do well."
    - "So it is then, two double doubles!"
    - "!?!"
    - "Oh! No double doubles here, my bad! hmm... I know just the place. Let's get something that gies well with the java... why're you looking at me like that?"
I was expecting you to follow up with something of an if-you-know-what-I-mean... perhaps a double double wasn't what I supposed it was. Best not to ask you now. Mental note: urban dictionary, first thing when I get back. Minutes later,
    - "So what do you call yours? Figaro, Tom, Pixie..."
    - "I don't have a cat, if that's what you meant."
    - "You don't?"
    - "My folks uprooted a touch-me-not plant I had been tending to since years, you know, the one that folds in when you touch it. Supposed to be inauspicious. Wouldn't count on them getting a cat. But there are several in the neighbourhood whom I spend time around."
You squealed with joy as your eyes stopped somewhere on the menu. But I had noticed the dimples getting deeper as we had stepped in, the smile leaking away even before you picked up the catalogue, and the impatient delay trying to stop the flood gates from gushing out before you read the name in your mind. You knew what we were having all along, but the experience just seemed incomplete without this "à la carte" ritual.
    - "They seem a bit selfish though. After a few weeks, you'd think they love you. And then they'll go away. Won't recognise you if they saw you."
    - "I think it's usually us who go away. They're not heartless. They probably just move on. They must be great actors. Punishing us with their indifference. And yet also, redeeming us, of our guilt, by appearing heartless."
Wow! It WAS good, the best ice-cream, ever. You agree, but still seem to lament the double double from the corner of your eye. Someday!
    - "They don't carry luggage though."
    - "Nope. Just baggage."


bibhash k jha said...

"I think you would. Not a great cat though, but still, a very good cat."

lol :P
Theatre of the Absurd

A said...

No title credits? :P

Azel said...

Fascinating. The great cat-good cat part was pretty cute, from whatever I could make out. =)

Btw, Random Cat Trivia: Contradicting the by-default assumption of most Hindus i.e. cats are inauspicious, there is a Goddess named Shashti, considered to be the goddess of fertility and the protector of children, whose vâhana is a cat. Not very inauspicious there.

Shrey said...

@A :P

@Azel Much of the post consisted of inside-jokes and references, but I'm happy many people have still liked it.

Indeed, on rare occasions, cats are even considered auspicious, which I think probably evolved out of reverence for the animal as a natural enemy of crop-destroying pests. And our Gods mount most major animals known to the ancients, from antelopes to crocodiles to geese to human beings (Kubera). But the whole black-cat-phobia remains, and if you count out the urban-sophisticated demographic, it is pretty rare to find a pet cat in a traditional Indian household.

Azel said...

Hence the disclaimer, "from whatever I could make out". Enjoyed reading it, without getting much of it :)

Yep, true, it is just that I like finding loop-holes in theories or beliefs, the exceptions to a rule. Not really much of a cat lover, I let them be, just like they let me be :)

Touch-me-not is my favourite plant. Sad to hear about it :( How on earth can that be inauspicious?