The Night of the Cat

This is a funny but real story of an incident that happened many years ago. I just happened to think of it because we spotted a cat ( or bandicoot) last night while we were out for a walk. Bizarrely, it has nothing to do with a cat, but we have always called it The Night of the Cat!

This was way back when I was in first year college. My cousin, who is the same age as me, had come for a visit, and she shared the bedroom with my sister and I. We stayed in a government rowhouse on the ground floor, and it was summer, so we used to leave the windows open. We had a pet cat, Sphinx, who used to come and go at will, in and out of the house.

My sister, who was 12 at the time, always had a great talent for nightmares. I can remember countless incidents of her having a scary dream and crawling into my bed to escape. Anyhow, one night while we were all sleeping the sleep of the just, madame elected to have one of her nightmares. And she didn't react by crawling into my bed. Oh no, she began screaming at the top of her voice. Normally blessed with a sweet voice, when having a nightmare her voice used to soar to unearthly and bloodcurling realms, and it did so that night. My cousin and I, startled out of sleep awoke. Of course, far be it from us to do anything sensible like switch on the light, which was located right at the foot of my bed. No, the two of us also got frightened and began letting out bloodcurdling yells in our turn.

Poor dad was fast asleep when all this drama began, but promptly woke up and decided to rush to the rescue of his girls. For some reason, he got it into his head that the cat had gotten into the house and had walked onto one of us. Since we did not welcome nocturnal visits by felines, he started saying 'Shoo' , 'Shoo' and waving his arms about even before tumbling out of bed. Having rushed out of bed, he was so disoriented and befuddled by the darkness and his own drowsiness that he ran about blundering into doors and cupboards for a while, all the time 'Shoo'ing the cat away. He finally made it into our room and dramatically switched on the light after what seemed like eons to the petrified three. We stopped mid-scream, mouths open, gaping at dad who was still 'shoo'ing away.

'Yaaaaaaaaaaaaah'

'Shoo'


'Aieeeeeee'


'Shoo, shoo'

Mom, meanwhile, with her fine motherly intuition had guessed that it would turn out to be a nightmare, and had gotten out of bed and come to our room. One look at this screamshoo drama and she started laughing. Her laughter set the rest of us off, and at some 2 am in the morning, the five of us sat around whooping with laughter.

Eventually we recovered and tottered weakly back to our respective beds. My cousin and I continued giggling madly at intervals for quite a while, and then finally tapered off. Just as we had almost fallen back asleep, we heard a faint noise coming from my sister's bed. Intrigued, we tiptoed over and listened intently. My sister was singing in her SLEEP!!!That set us off again, and we started giggling out loud. My sister, disturbed in her serenade, paused, stood up, grabbed the bedsheets and flung them around her shoulder, announced, "I'm going to Mom!", and stalked off, all the while with her eyes closed. The rest of the night was a blur of giggles, fits of laughter and tiny bits of sleep.

Even today, so many years later, when my cousin, my sister and I are together, we have to re-narrate this incident, and each time we're ROTFL!

Comments

Nirupama Sriram said…
It was so funny! It is great to recollect this any number of times and right now I am giggling and trying hard not to fall off the chair.

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