A woman, neighbour’s daughter
I had not seen before
at my door yesterday
“Is it your cat running up
and down the stairs?”
I asked her what colour
the cat was
since I have two.
This dismayed her
“I don’t know that but please keep it inside.
I think two-three of us have complained
already. We are all scared of her.
Meri to cheekh nikal gayi!”
I asked her if she had ever been attacked
by my cat.
“No, but it is human to be scared
I said it was her nature and not everyone’s.
i pointed out that I, for example, was not scared of cats.
She lost her patience at this.
can’t you keep her inside?”
I asked her why she could not
let go of her prejudice. “I can’t keep her inside,”
I admitted, exasperated.
“Why?”, she turned combative at which point
I told her to talk to my landlord
and found myself slamming the door.
(How do I explain to her why a cat
wants to run over the stairs up and down?
Or goes out in the cold/ heat
to sit for ages in some forlorn corner
of an abandoned room of some apartment?
I also remember
someone who once asked me
what it was, if anything at all,
that one could learn from a cat?
I wanted to say everything but
I did not think she would get it).