- 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.