To be completely honest, it would only be partially true if I said that Kandan paved the whole path to fearless furniture destruction and free indulgence in other feline fancies for future generations of cats in my family. Because many freedoms are not given. They are claimed by biting, scratching, and farting on the oppressor’s face.
A year or two later after a Kandan-less life, Gingi and I went for an evening walk to Kannamoola junction and returned home with what we then thought was an ordinary ginger kitten with extraordinary good looks.
The next morning it was clear that we had adopted a kaattumaakkan with murder in his tiny heart. How did we realise this? Amma came upstairs and tossed him on a sleeping Gingi and me because he was trying to rip her legs off as she was making breakfast. That was the first time I was murdered in my sleep by a cat.
We named the new kitten Leander because he loved playing with a tennis ball when he was not trying to dismember my family. But very soon his stature grew beyond his name and we decided to rechristen him as ‘The Poocha’. He was *the* cat.
The Poocha would sleep everywhere – on the bed with his head propped up on a pillow, on the couch, on your face, on our neighbour’s car leaving scratches and dents, and gave zero fucks. This same neighbour used to complain that they’d always find Kandan sleeping on their car. Kandan never caused any damage, but we’ve always suspected that these complaints eventually led to his untimely and unexplained death. And The Poocha made sure that dues, if any, were settled. With interest.
Remember how Kandan would never spar with the bullies? One day, one of Amma’s students told her that The Poocha was at her place and he beat the crap out of her paavam cat. Amma vehemently rubbished this and vouched for his character.
Around the same time, Gingi and I fashioned a blue satin collar for The Poocha and made him wear it. A couple of days later, Amma’s student was back and this time she had solid proof. ‘Teacherinte poocha vannirunnu, oru blue ribbon’um kettikkond.’ And The Poocha got Amma’s tongue.
Over the years, The Poocha stockpiled battle scars, chased away snakes from entering our house, fathered kittens, terrorised Kutty – our not so small doberman, farted on my face when I was sleeping on the couch (thus murdering me once again in my slumber), won a lot of local admirers, lost half of his face…
If the soundtrack of Kandan’s life would be heavy on violins and piano, The Poocha’s soundtrack would be the main theme of Pacific Rim on steroids. The Poocha’s story doesn’t have an ending. He went missing for a year, then returned unexpectedly one night, and then he went away again after a few days, never to be seen again.
Death isn’t applicable to legends.
Originally published on Instagram: