Tuesday, 6 March 2012

The Cry of the Cat

Ever heard the cry of a cat? Or ever noted when it cries? I’ve heard it a couple of times, and every time I did, it sounded like babies were crying without stopping for hours. Monotonous, low pitched screeches are all that you can hear… always a while before the wolves howl at the moon,  always a bit before my heart pounds and… always a bit before it strikes midnight.
                It was New Year’s Eve and the town buzzed with excitement. People were crawling all over the place and all the restaurants were open. Even the most deserted lane seemed lit with the light from the firecrackers adding color into the pitch black sky. On such a night, I was out with my friends, gallivanting about town, stuffing down as much junk food into my system as possible. My friends and I were planning on a bike ride after the club and so I had to get the keys from the apartment. I hurried to the back side of the club where my place was, climbed up the stairs and then grabbed the keys and headed out. The night air was chill as I pulled my jacket around myself closer. The sound of my heeled boots came to a stop when I finally reached the backdoor of the club and looked up. The moon looked so meek in front of the city lights.  Thank God, it was just 11:30pm.... i wouldn't have missed much. As the minute hand slowly inched closer to twelve, I walked out from a crowded club to pick up a call. I heard my own voice echo in to the dark alley that the backside opened into and jumped. And that’s when I heard it, when the call ended at 11:34. The cry of the cat. There were many stories built around this cry and I found water at the corner of my eyes just to think about it. But it was New Year’s. Nothing could possibly go wrong on this night. I stared deep into her eyes, stark yellow or so it seemed. But she was gone with a blink of my eye as I sighed and shrugged it off.  The streets had an eerie feel to them as I wondered where all the crazy people had gone. Leaving all of it behind, I took the steps into the world of partying people. All my friends held hands on the bikes as the count-down began and when it struck 12, there was a blast of life and happiness in the air. But I detected something more…the cry of the cat again that went unheard amongst the hooting and the screaming on the highway.
Throughout, there was that feeling that there were too many symbols for me to ignore. Beggars with brilliant black eyes stared; the dogs curled their tails and ran away from us. I seemed untouched by the night air that previously sent a chill up my spine. Maybe things were different or maybe I was just noticing it all of a sudden after the cat’s cry. I realized something was majorly wrong when we were all mounted on our bikes and tearing through the wind. We were making so much noise; it was impossible for anyone to have ignored us. And yet they did…we escaped some pretty close accidents and like always we fled. That happened every day, but today none of the drivers cursed us and more importantly…we weren’t riding rash. Eventually we did fall off the bikes, but everyone was just bruised and scraped. After that I just needed to call it a night. I was frail hearted maybe to handle all of the adrenaline rush. I made a petty excuse to hit the bed and left my friends where they belonged. Having done that, I headed straight for home. Avoiding the empty lanes I found the safest route home and only when I shut the door behind me did I feel at peace. I checked the time. 12: 15am. If I could amidst all this noise grab at least five hours of decent sleep, it’d be a miracle.
 Five minutes after I had comfortably curled up on the bed, I realized that the only set of keys to the apartment were with me. Which meant I had to stay up till my roommates returned…sigh… didn’t I tell you it’d be a miracle to sleep? I lay in bed for a while trying hard to keep my eyes from closing. Then suddenly I heard footsteps outside and the door knob to the apartment turn. I thought only I had the keys? I had padded up to the hall when the door opened.  Then, in- entered someone I couldn’t believe I was seeing…
The lights flickered on and I stared at myself. I saw my own self in flesh walk into the hall, past me and into the room. The lights went on again there and the other me snatched the keys off the table and headed out again. I followed, confused, desperate and moreover shocked. When I did reach there I waited in the dark alley looking at the fake me for a while. I watched myself enter the club and out again.  My eyes searched all over for the time and I found it through the red neon sign above the club. I couldn’t believe what I saw because up there glowing bright was the time reading 11:33pm. I shrieked out in shock when it moved up a minute to 11:34 and at the same time multiple things happened. The other me looked straight into my eyes as she lowered her phone, and my own voice? It came out like that of a cat crying.