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  • Samadrita Kanjilal


Mrs. Batra was a thrill loving woman. After her husband’s untimely death, she had moved

into a new apartment near Faridabad. There she used to live in peace and solitude and

enjoyed her own company in every matter. Travelling and exploring new destinations always

gave her a high! She was interested in art and history and therefore became an art curator in

the National Museum of Culture and Heritage (Delhi) at the age of 42. She lived life on her

own terms and never regretted for a single thing in her life. By nature, she was a private

person and socialized with people on rare occasions.

When a detrimental virus spread across the globe in a rapid way for which people became

home-bound, Mrs. Batra had left her apartment near Faridabad to live in a small house in

C.R. Park on rent. There she used to conduct special online sessions on Museum Studies and

also wrote articles related to travel on her blog. Her daily routine was quite banal since these

were the only things which amused her. Alongside, she maintained a diary where she wrote

the names of the unexplored places which came up in her dreams, during the pandemic. She

always kept in mind that when the world will regain its normalcy, she would be exploring all

of the places which she saw in her dreams at any cost.

One fine day when Mrs. Batra was making her morning coffee in the kitchen, a stray cat had

come inside her house just like a fallen leaf carried by wind. The cat was brown in colour and

was very thin and docile. It went near Mrs. Batra and licked her feet. She tried to shoo it

away but it continued to lick her feet. She then took it up from the floor, went outside her

house and put it on the footpath. In the afternoon when she was conducting the session

online, she saw that the same cat was standing on her doormat and shaking like a leaf. She

took a break from the session, gave the cat some warm milk and again continued with her

daily chores. From that day onwards, the cat lived in the house like an adult individual. It had

a separate corner for sleep, a particular bowl for meals and a toilet which it shared with Mrs.

Batra. It spent most of its time on the streets and only returned during the meal times and for the night sleep. Mrs. Batra was not interested in other’s affairs, therefore she never searched for the cat whenever she couldn’t notice it in her house. She never even scolded the cat for always roaming on the streets.

After several months of agony, when the world was finally regaining its normalcy, on a

certain Sunday afternoon, the cat returned for its lunch at the usual hour. But nothing seemed usual to the cat. The doors and the windows were shut. The giant Areca Palm which was there in front of the main door was gone. The letterbox was not there on its usual place. The whole atmosphere was strange for the cat. It sat in front of the main door, looked to its right and then to its left in such a way that it seemed like it is in search of something or in search of someone. Then slowly it turned its head towards the main door where it was written “Home for sale” and kept on looking at it for a while without understanding anything which had happened to it.

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Sumaiya Kabir
Sumaiya Kabir
06 feb 2022

I don't even know what to say. Just exiting this page tearful :) thanks kanjilal for this wonderful excerpt :)

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