Tobermory: A cat with a tale

My name is Tobermory and I am a “talking” cat. This is my story.

Few months ago, my life was like every other cat. But then, Lady Blemley’s house guest, Mr. Appin happened. He was considered insane by everyone. He was; he wanted to teach me to talk. Finally a few months later he was successful. But Mr.Appin made me promise that I wouldn’t speak to anyone except him until he asked me to. So as a faithful protégé I had kept the promise.

Then one day, Lady Blemley was having a tea party which was joined by all her house guests. I was having my nap after my meal. Suddenly I was woken up by Mr. Whitmore’s cracked voice “C’mon Tobermory, Mr.Appin says you can talk. Let us see” I opened one eye and replied calmly,”You can go and tell everyone I’m coming.” A look of horror spread on his face, I chuckled and he hurried out.

I slowly got up and walked in to the living room. The smell of delicious food drifted towards me but I ignored it and walked towards my cushion and flopped onto it. Every pair of eye, spectacled or not, was looking at me. I felt a little conscious.

Every face looked curiously at me, so, everyone knew my secret. I slowly said, “So why did you wake me up from my slumber? I hope you have a good reason.” The eyes grew wider in shock. I was gloating inside and the sly smile on Mr.Appin made it obvious that he was too.

Mrs. Prickle regained her speech, “Ah! Lady Blemley has a fine taste. Only she can own an intelligent cat.”

“I thought otherwise because once you were complaining to Mr. Prickle that Lady Blemley had the most ridiculous taste in the world and that he upholstery in the house looked awful.” I said.

Mrs. Prickle’s face went a deep crimson color. Milady glared at her.

I continued,” Not that Lady Blemley thinks much highly of you. She was telling Maria the other day that you are the most spiteful woman she has ever met and that it is no wonder Mr. Prickle stays away for work most of the time.”

Mr. Whitmore cleared his throat and tried to lighten the awkward situation by saying, “So Tobermory what would your favorite phrase be?” “Hmm… that would be ‘Poor Mr. Whitmore would like a bit more’. That is one of Lady Blemley’s favorite one for you because she says you are greedy and it’s never enough for you.” I replied coolly.

Poor Mr. Whitmore looked horrified and now it was Lady Blemley’s turn to go crimson. Ms. Turner was trying very hard to stop her giggle, I turned towards her, “You do giggle like a school girl. Maria is right you do lack maturity and like she says if you had enough maturity you would be married by now.”

“You are a very bad cat”, snapped Maria.

I glared at her, “I say what I feel like, and unlike you I don’t speak behind the back…”  At that time a yellow canary had sat on the window sill, I leaped towards it, ignoring the gasps. It flew away and I fell into the bushes. I could hear a serious discussion going on in the room. I heard ‘Tobermory’, ‘kill’ and ‘poison his milk’.

That was enough for me. I looked at the house one last time and ran till I reached a faraway town. I’ve never spoken since as I have concluded that humans hate the truth.

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Monsoon in the ‘Bagh’

The thunder growled in anticipation of the storm. The shadow of the dark clouds had already spread over the red marbled courtyard. A cool breeze blew, bringing in the scent of rain. It had already rained somewhere. The cool breeze was a treat after the heat of ‘Delhi’ summer.

 Looking around, I could only see a few people; almost everybody had left for their classes or had hurried home seeing the weather. While I waited for the clouds to pour, the vehicles honked impatiently at each other on the road outside. The tall buildings looked longingly at the lazing courtyard, tired of its tedious routine. Maybe it wanted to break its window and let the cool breeze in!

 Every time I see this place it reminds me of an Italian Piazza. A rectangular area with a fountain in the center, around it is stone benches. It’s nice sitting there at times; the splashing water would send a cool breeze towards me which was always welcome in this heat and scattered around the courtyard is wooden picnic tables. People come here to have lunch, to chit-chat & to write. This is a good place to daydream as it was away from all the chaos and confusion of the outside world (at least it was mine!).

 At the other end of the rectangle there is an extension, a raised platform with pillars which was utilized as a stage during various events and on other days it’s used as a place to sit. And that’s where I was, sitting on the stairs leading to the platform. I was so preoccupied that the warm stone below didn’t seem to bother me much.

 On the other side of the platform was a face, the most interesting element here, a giant face that seemed to be deep in meditation. Its eyes could see the world, lips that could speak wisely, ears that could hear it all and a nose that knew all the beautiful scents. It seemed as if it was communicating with the ‘soul of the earth’.

 Suddenly, something moist and cold fell on my forehead and then trickled its way down. The clouds had finally given up, it was drizzling now. As the drops of water fell on the stone floor I could feel the heat fleeing from it.

 Ah! It’s raining. My soul was ecstatic. I breathed in the scent of wet earth, my mind was put at peace and unconsciously I smiled. Slowly the drops grew bigger and faster. I raised my head and let the rain fall on my face, welcoming the good old friend. Lost in the beautiful pitter-patter music of the rain, I was oblivious to my surroundings.

 In the distant my phone began to wail; pulling it out, I saw Nandini’s name flash. Knowing the obvious, I got up as I answered, “I’m in Charbagh…Coming in 5…”With a quick glance at the piazza, I dashed towards my class through the now heavily pouring rain.