Recently I have been missing my dear cat Monu a lot more than usual. It was his 1 year death anniversary a few days ago, probably that’s why. I know that most of you will think, ‘ come on, he was just a cat,’ not to me, to me he was my dearest, closest, truest friend.
He came to us at the end of Dec 2020, and he was so cute and small, he was just 3 days old! A cat had given birth in my cousin’s apartment, but sadly nobody in the litter including the mom had survived, except him. Because my cousin’s family had a dog, it was dangerous for them to keep the little kitten, so they gave him to us. In the starting he needed to be fed every few hours. I still remember for the first one month we used to wake up every night to feed him.
For the first few weeks he just slept, and he was so cuddly, he used to love to snuggle. But we were new with cats, thus we were a bit hesitant, so we built a bed for him, lined it with a heating pad and a few blankets, and he slept there. Now I wish I had snuggled him as much as I could every opportunity I got.
When he got a little bigger and a little stronger, he started playing. He used to look so cute running around the house, room to room. It was so simple, playing with him then we used to play a lot. We used to crumple up pieces of paper, or tie up a handkerchief in the shape of a ball, and throw it around the house. He used to love it, he would go chasing after it, jumping trying to catch it. We would call them “ चूहे “ which is the hindi term for mice, because he would try catching it, and attempt to kill it after. In the beginning he would bring it back after catching it, as if to tell us to throw it again!
When he got a bit older we started taking him out, just in the apartment. He liked it a lot, and he never ran away, we never used a leash. He used to just wander around us, sniff the plants, and sit under the shade. It was really hard bringing him back up though, we had to take a badminton racket so we could bang it on the floor to scare him, and he would come running back up. He knew the way home. In fact, one day when I was meditating, I heard scratching and whining outside the door, I opened the door to see Monu trying to open the door. Apparently he had somehow managed to reach the ground floor from our balcony, and he had come straight back up!
When my tournaments started, and I got busy, I started spending less time with him. I would play, and take him out rarely. Definitely, there was a bit of selfishness involved,
I was not doing great in chess, I was lacking, losing, in a slump. So I just practiced a lot, and I was a bit demotivated so I started wasting a bit of time, but no time cannot be afforded to waste, so guess from where did I compensate? My time with Monu, the biggest mistake of my life. Bigger than all the chess blunders I have made and will ever make.
All this time though I was not spending with him, I knew he missed me, he had started becoming lethargic, eating more, he used to sit by the window and stare out for hours.
I guess my biggest mistake was thinking there will be a tomorrow; I will play with him tomorrow, I will spend time with him tomorrow, Monu will be here tomorrow he ain’t going anywhere. Well there is no tomorrow now is there?
I don’t think there was a tomorrow ever, even if there was it didn’t matter. One day, 30 days, 45 years, it’s all too small to make a difference, it is the same. What matters is making use of every moment we have with them.
After he died, I didn’t feel sad about the fact I only had one year with him, what I regretted the most was not making use of every opportunity I had with him to make memories, to play, to be with him.
This is what Monu taught me, amongst the many other things he did. Thank you so much Monu for teaching me this valuable lesson, and being a part of my life.
My favorite moments with him were, sometimes when I was practicing chess, he would just come scatter about all the pieces on the board, spoil the position, stand in the center, and just flop down! Like right there, and just look at me like “hey, I am sitting here now, that cool?” Me, I would love it.