Hindustan Times ST (Mumbai) - Brunch
"THREE KITTENS SWINGING FROM THE END OF GRANDMA’S SAREE WHEN SHE PUT HER FEET UP”
My mother’s parents had a house in a small town in Jharkhand called Khunti. It was 19 miles from Ranchi, and was well known for its mica mines. I went there for my holidays and they were pretty idyllic: picnics by waterfalls, mutton curry for lunch, unlimited mangoes in summer, spending all day running around in the dust with my friends, a champa tree by the entrance of the compound.
One season, the house cat had given birth to kittens and they gambolled around the inner courtyard, disappearing into nooks and crannies when unfamiliar people came, playing freely the rest of the time. My mother and aunts would sit with my grandmother and chat. One afternoon, when I had come back from playing with my friends, I saw that three kittens were swinging from the ends of my grandmother’s saree as she had her feet up on a stool. It was the cutest thing I’d ever seen. My mother was chatting with her two sisters casually, and the kittens were swinging happily—they were three sisters too. My mother was no great fan of cats, but these kittens were an exception to her iron rules. For the rest of our stay this became a daily ritual. I know I must have named the kittens and petted them, but none of that remains. Only this one memory has survived. The house has now been sold and my grandparents are no more, and somehow the three kittens now tug at my heart strings with greater ferocity.