It is a little story. A woman dies trying to save her kitten. There is no plot, just one scene. In a few minutes it is all over. Makes one think about how fragile life is. Tahesin Khan was 24. She loved cats. One of them strayed to the balcony of her fifth floor apartment and jumped to the terrace attached to it. Tahesin rushed, enticing the kitty with food. It did not work, so she tried to reach out to her and slipped. Fell down the five floors. Died on the spot.
No one will remember her. The kitten is unaware. Often, humans too are. Or they just don’t care.
For an inexplicable reason this story moved me. I am not an animal lover; never had pets. I worry though when I hear dogs howling in the street late at night or cats crying like babies.
I like the sounds of the jungle, seeing animals in the wild. Trips to wildlife sanctuaries taught me about more than looking for pug marks. There was naked survival and subterfuge. And detachment. You are a spectator, binoculars in hand, trying to spot the elusive one – quick footed, ferocious, rare. Then, if you are fortunate you take pictures of the sighting, especially about the one where tiger tears into flesh of lamb. You look away. It is revolting. But you want it as a keepsake.
Then you return to your room. Bathed in freshness. Sit down for dinner and eat an animal on your plate. The one that revolted you.
You learn so much about degrees of revulsion and how we maintain a status quo of morals. The animals, dead or alive, have been removed from us. Our opinion does not count.
Do domestic pets have opinions? Does a dog wait for you to finish with the flesh so that he can get the bones? How do cats look at fish in the small aquarium?
Then there is kitty. Kitty who was saved by a young woman. The woman died. Kitty does not know. Kitty cannot shed tears. How would a kitten express gratitude, anyway?
Kitty will now depend on scraps or find another home. Cats don’t know about terms like ‘getting on with life’.
- - -
Tahesin's kitten and the spot where she fell to her death. Pic: Times of India