Sunday, January 31, 2010

Lunch Meeting

I distinctly remember that day's lunch at the company Food Court. We had just started eating when we heard a gentle "meaow." In the midst of the lunch hour din that often made it impossible for us to hear ourselves clearly, this plea by a little cat didn't go unnoticed. We stopped our conversation and turned around. A beautiful white cat was looking up at us with soulful eyes. She was white as the moon, nearly camoflauged by the white floor tiles that she expectantly sat on, eagerly waiting for our hearts to melt.

For those of you wondering how a cat came to be in a company Food Court, let me clarify. It isn't uncommon to see stray cats in India. A couple of them live within the sprawling campus of the company. Every once in a while, they manage to sneak into the Food Court, which is this massive and airy building on ground level, with huge glass panels as side doors that, when left open, let the cats in along with the breeze.

As a chorus of "Aww she's so sweet" emanated from our group and others sitting around, some of us broke pieces of roti (Indian bread) and put them on the ground for her, much to the chagrin of the housekeeping staff who looked at us disapprovingly. Which one would it be, housekeeping policy or the cat? Uh... not much of a choice there. The cat of course.

She trod towards the roti pieces, sniffed them suspiciously at first, and then decided they would do. One piece at a time, she munched away, looking very content after each swallow. There's something about feeding animals that is so satisfying. Interestingly, when I see their thirst quenched, or their tummies filled, I feel so content myself that my own hunger and thirst seem to vanish. If I and the animal who just ate or drank were on a sunny beach, we'd probably lie on our backs and go to sleep, drunk on sweet contentment! 


Our moonlight cat wanted seconds. When she was done, she confidently strode off, leaving the last two roti pieces lying on an otherwise spotlessly clean floor. Housekeeping was not pleased. Nope.

I picked up the neglected pieces and threw them in the nearest trashcan. As I got back to my meal, a movement to my left distracted me. I turned around and saw moonlight cat walking back towards me. She came to the side of my chair, looked up at me with her soulful eyes, and let out a grateful "meaow." She then turned around and walked back, losing herself in the crowd of tables and chairs. She had come back just to say thank you! If she were a dog, I would have reached out and patted her on the back, probably given her a tummy rub too. But she's a cat. And I think cats like their space, and they like others to respect their space too!

So I smiled at her and said "You're very welcome!"


Beth Chapman said...

Oh Sai, you captured my heart and the essence of a cat not to mention you created a video film clip made only of words. Well done! What a wonderful way to start my morning. Thank you ... and keep feeding the cat.

Tony Anders said...

Thanks for your nice story of compassion. As was stated earlier - a nice way to start of a day! Welcome!

Katherine Jenkins said...

Sai, This is a beautiful piece. You really captured this experience and your feelings so well. There is such a gentleness in your writing. I often feel I am in whatever scene you are describing. Beautifully done and what a lovely cat. Is this cat in the photo the one you speak of?

Much peace to you

Heather Conroy said...

I agree that feeding animals is very rewarding-and our lives are enriched so much by their presence!