02. Spare the cat! | Ivory

August 16, 2020 Sujay Sarma

“I don’t want it.” Satish said firmly. “I put my foot down.” “If you didn’t want it, then why did you not be more careful?” Spruti demanded, angry tears in her eyes. “It is your fault. I told you from day one that I didn’t want a baby.” He said flatly and walked away. Spruti…


“I don’t want it.” Satish said firmly. “I put my foot down.”

“If you didn’t want it, then why did you not be more careful?” Spruti demanded, angry tears in her eyes.

“It is your fault. I told you from day one that I didn’t want a baby.” He said flatly and walked away.

Spruti sat herself down on the cane chair by the window and buried her face in her hands and sobbed to herself. He had told her that he did not want children. But she had assumed like most women that once they had conceived, things would change. She had found out she was pregnant only this morning when after missing her period, she had taken a home test. She had disregarded every warning her mind had given her, trying to prevent her from telling Satish, and told him.

She was furious. With Satish, with herself, with her life.

Picking up her phone, she dialled her mother.

Mumma!” She cried. She told her of the conversation with Satish from a few moments before.

Her mother listened to her patiently.

“What did you expect he would say?” She chided her daughter. “Shouldn’t you have been more careful, beta?”

“So, this is now my fault now? Is that what everyone has decided?”

Beta, the world does not work that way.”

There was a few moments of silence.

“Are you there?” Her mother asked.

“What is done, is done.” Spruti sniffled. “I’m going to have the baby.”

“Okay, it’s your decision, dear.” Her mother said. “But I am here for you. You know I will support you through this.”

“Thank you, Mumma.” She hung up.

Spruti walked slowly to the kitchen, mulling over the situation. Things had been so golden in the early days. But last year, she had caught her husband cheating with another woman. A colleague from her office. She had found messages between Satish and the other woman on his phone, that had made her blush. He then confessed.

“NOTHING of that nature happened.” He tried to convince her. “She and I have just been flirting that is all.” He said.

It had taken Spruti a few months to forgive him. Actually not ‘forgive’. ‘Forgive’ was a strong word. She had decided to put it behind her and move on. She had found much support from her mother and from her in-laws, which was a blessing. They had supported her then, and helped her get through it all.


It took two years and a sojourn to Mumbai to get things to return to ‘normal’. Satish found a job in Mumbai, it paid less than the one in Delhi, but he had been laid off. This was the best he could find at short notice.

Spruti was in the kitchen, cooking, when she thought she heard a rustle. Though they lived on the second floor of an apartment building, she was scared of snakes. Setting aside what she was doing, she started to hunt for the source of the sound. When she parted the curtain swaying gently to the wind at the balcony door, she got a happy surprise.

“Hello!” she cried happily.

“Meow!” greeted a small kitten.

“Sorry, I cannot bend to pick you up.” She told the kitten, indicating her swollen belly. “Follow me to the kitchen.”

As she walked back to the kitchen, the kitten followed her, staring up at her face. She smiled back. She set a bowl of milk on a low shelf. The kitten hopped up onto the shelf and lapped it up eyes closed and thankfully.

“Did I hear a cat?” inquired Satish, walking in and looking around.

“Yes, I found this lovely little kitten.” Spruti gushed happily. “Isn’t she cute?”

“Oh my God!” Satish cried. “Throw it away.”

“What!” Spruti was aghast.

“Kittens are dangerous. They are evil.” He said with conviction. He had bloody murder in his eyes.

“It is a baby. It is a small kitten.” She tried to convince him.

“I don’t like cats.” He stated firmly. “Or dogs or fishes or pigeons or…”

“Me and our yet to be born child.” She fumed furiously.

Despite her vehement protests, he picked the kitten up and threw it down from the second floor balcony. Cats being cats, the kitten landed on its feet and walked away, shaking off its smarting paws.

Spruti sobbed to herself in the kitchen.

“What a maniac I have married!” She hit herself on the head.

But the next day, as she boiled milk for their morning coffee, she found a kitten’s face staring at her through the kitchen window.

“Hi.” She said.

The kitten mewed at a low volume.

“Yeah, he hates you. But I love you. Let this be our secret. Okay?” She whispered to the kitten.

The kitten hopped down to where Spruti stood and rubbed around her ankles. Then she went away to a corner, closed her eyes and sat there licking her paws.


It was a hot and humid afternoon. The weather people had predicted rain, but clouds were floating by without even a drizzle. Spruti walked back from her trip to the nearby supermarket. A bag loaded with her purchases weighing down from her hand. She stopped at the fountain not far from the gate to take a breath. She felt a wave of nausea. She vomitted.

A neighbour who lived on the fourth floor spotted her and rushed to her side. Spruti was friendly with everybody. Her smiling, cheerful banter had won her many friends.

“Are you okay?” He asked, frustratingly.

“Aaaargh!” Spruti cried, vomiting into the grass in front of her again.

The boy rushed off and was soon back with a bottle of water.

“Here, wash that off and drink some.” He offered it to her.

“Thank you Vicky.”

Spruti accepted the bottle gratefully and rinsed her mouth. As she was about to spit the water out, she spotted Satish standing next to a pillar of the ground-level parking under their building. He just stood there and watched. He could see she was sick. But he didn’t make a move toward her.

Vicky helped her up and picked up her shopping. Satish didn’t move a muscle as the three of them got into the lift. The only thing Satish did do, was unlock their apartment’s front door.

She plopped the bags on the floor and turned around.

WHAM!

She fell to the floor. Satish had slapped her hard across her face. Her cheeks stung from the force of the slap.

“Why?” She screamed.

“Vicky, huh! Vicky! You know how much younger he is to you!” Satish cried, his eyes bulging with rage.

“What the fuck are you talking about?”

“You just flirt with everyone. Don’t you? Everyone.”

“What is wrong with you!”

“Exactly, Spruti. Exactly.” Satish seethed. “What is wrong with you?”

Spruti stared as Satish walked to the water cooler.

“Why don’t you come out and say what it is.”

He spun around. “Is the baby even mine?”

Spruti fainted into the couch.

She didn’t wake up for a few hours. When she came to, she found herself alone at home. Even the bags she had dropped to the floor hours before lay exactly as they had fallen. Dusk had fallen. She could hear the children play in the park below their building.

Gulping down hard, she got up and started to put away her shopping.


About the author:

Sujay Sarma is an IT industry veteran, about 43 years of age. He has spent 25 years in the IT industry and has done it all, and seen it all. Now, his passion is writing [blogs, stories, novels] and music. He has his own YouTube channel called "Sujay Sarma's Musical Adventures" where he posts his covers and originals, and a Podcast named "Interesting People Interesting Stories".
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