November 22, 2010
I killed a cat. And I turned an apostle. Here is that story. It’s a funny story and I could never forget it. I was in the final years of my high school. Actually as it goes, it was pre college in some earlier education system, I guess in my fathers time, but in our time in other types of schools it was college education. And it was the first year.
Before the school started I was on vacation at home. It was this time in my life when I was among other things learning calculus and as they say, Newtonian Physics. So I had yet to come into knowing what quantum mechanics is or the metaphoric Schrödinger’s cat was.
We lived in a rented house. We moved out of that house a decade later. This house is a memory. It was a two-bed room, one bathroom, one pretty small courtyard, one narrow kitchen place and dining as I turned the real Kitchen into a study room. This house has pretty many other funny stories like how I would escape over the top if I had to escape my fathers stern eyes if I had a cricket game and so on.
So in this house enters a big cat. Well not that big. But where I come from cats are not much of a pet and they occasionally put the ladies of the house in trouble like spilling the milk or toppling the food trying to steal it. I am kind of a housekeeper. If there is a trouble I have to trouble shoot. And I am this inspired inventive mind fresh out of high school. So I gave the cat a chase.
But before that I closed all the doors so it can’t escape. The cat ran swiftly and trying to go through the window got stuck in the iron bars. It was of the right size. It could not get out. I had a big stick at my disposal. Hey, listen carefully; I am recalling the real traditions of India. These are the sticks we keep in houses for several purposes. If the granny shows up she may need a stick. Or this may also be used against a thief that runs into the house in the dark.
I had an idea; I wanted to implement the stick against the cat. The poor cat didn’t have a premonition, the way it was stuck it was into the room and I see its back. The stick hit the cat as hard as it can. The cat possibly came out of the window in severe pain lying injured going around but could not escape. It was a deadly attack. My mother was already into her usual self when I did something mischievous.
What did you do, Dick? (My name is Lulu, the equivalent of Dick; I have a reason why I make that correspondence, but another time) Now its gonna die. So I am like, I am happy inside, I am capable of something, sinful pleasure of that age, but the religion says, don’t kill a life. I am borne into a Hindu upper caste, socially upper class, a category of pride. I am also a Brahman by birth. So am I, supposed to protect the Dharma. And here I am involved in a despicable act of cat killing. The mother gave some milk to the cat but the poor cat died in less than 6 minutes. I didn’t have a stopwatch, but usually that interval is 5 minutes.
Now I hardly understand the depth of the religious practices or superstitions as I call them. My family observed all the Hindu traditions and festivals as it is celebrated in the society. But I was not always a strictly religious, well doctrined God believer. I did try to play around with my thoughts a lot, trying to see what it is that we must succumb to as an all-pervading all-powerful almighty. But the family saw it otherwise. I was advised then to make a tour to the Lord Shivas temple every Saturday.
Lord Shiva is the one who would forgive all cat killers of their inherited sin. And to this day I don’t understand why. Now where I studied in school there was a big Shiva temple in the city a few kms away from the school. And come every Saturday evening I have to wear the traditional attires and leave whatever it is that I am doing and go to the temple. I missed most of the good movies they showed in the school premises because of this reason. So I knew what it is that you may lose if you were to embark onto something as silly as killing a cat.
I think our fore fathers were possibly aware of the consequences of a loosely disciplined man, let at large to the society and not having to pay for the consequences. They tried to imbibe this simple remorse technique, for a year, one has to continue to go to the temple and learn in the process the subtlety of life and its meaning and what’s moral conduct as per Hindu beliefs. This is largely missing from the society we have in today’s times, in India where silly notions of the religion are forced in forms of social engineering. Compare the subtleties of Hinduism as a way to denounce illicit tampering of the human mind with the doctrines of social control. Compare this with the Hinduism propounded by the political and religious groups of present day India. I think only if they were to kill a cat out of shear childish pleasure or if anyone were to tell them a story. I am just the riled kind. Too sensed up for anyone’s taste to tell anyone the subtleties.
So the tour to the temple stopped after a year when my family thought I might have done enough soul searching in the process. Actually with my impatience to continue going to the temple on a belief which I on the outside thought a superstition while internally going through a deep level of remorse and insight might have compelled them to think it was enough. They always thought it was good for me to continue to be a worshipper or at least someone who practices the hymns. I on the other hand continued to realize it’s not in line with my true thoughts. I am an atheist.
The cat became a favorite in my psychological Raison d’être when I learned the philosophical implications of quantum mechanics in college. I always remembered how I had killed the cat out of childish playfulness and I believe this has made me a little kind. After all there is a little connection between humans and other life forms.