Look who's got a new mommy!
We've seen it before, of course. In the wonderous case of Laddu and Kiara.
Once upon a time, in the Old House, we heard a squeaking behind the bookshelf beneath the attic stairs. We had just returned from Kodaikanal and thought the empty house had invited in visitors. "Shoo, Laddu, shoo! Go chase away that mouse" we said. This continued for a few days. Then it was a Sunday morning and we were spacey and treading softly in our t-shirts and laziness. Again the squeaking. But this time, Laddu snuffled about the bookshelf beneath the attic stairs and returned with a tiny, wet, charcoal rag that she deposited in the middle of the hall. We, the two adults in the house, shrieked and jumped on the diwan. Zui, the child, terrified at the behaviour of her parents raced off to Geethamma's house next door. "What have you done, Laddu?" we yelled, thinking she had killed the mouse and brought it to us. Then we saw it moving... Fie! It must be half alive and dying. I'm not sure if we made a closer examination but a short while later we realized it was a kitten, was not hurt, on the contrary was very much alive and that Laddu the Saintly Labrador had in fact rescued the poor abandoned baby.
We wiped the mite dry and took her to CUPA where we were told she didn't have a fair chance without a mother to care for and nurse her. That it was best we took her home and ink-filler fed her till the inevitable. So we did, with a sense of futility. First, she lay in a box but she was fiesty and it wasn't long before she began snuggling against Laddu for warmth. And Laddu licked and licked her. Licked her so much that one day...
Again it was breakfast time and we sat at the blue wooden table in the kitchen, frying eggs and so on. Suddenly we notice the mite suckling on Laddu's teats. Unreal. We went close and saw warm pearls of milk. Laddu who had never littered, had never had her own puppies to feed had licked the mite so much that she had begun lactating. We named the mite Kiara, meaning dark and light, knowing she was now safe in Laddu's mothering.
Kiara grew to be the Queen of St.Mark's Road, walking regally into the house through the front door. Three dogs adored her and she lorded it over them, sitting atop my computer falling on the keyboard every now and then, giving any intruding canine noses a soft whack if they woke her gentle sleep as she rumbled on the wooden table amongst the little brass Ganeshas.
That was then. Now I see little Chinna finding his baby buffalo-self a herd among the three mares. Every morning he chooses to graze with Noorie, hiding against her brown flanks when shy. What new cross-pollinated love will you discover, Chinna, with Quiet Noorie, I wonder? Is it just instinct that draws you to this herd of female hormones? Or do you need her gentle warmth? Do you miss your biological mother, Lakshmi, who is away grazing in the hills during the day? You remind me all over again of my beloved Kiara...