The sun falls on my bed in the morning and I know I must get up. It’s time for me to wake up Mom. I stand beside her bed and call, the tone and voice has to be exactly right, a little demanding for else she’ll cover her head with her sheet and ignore me. Waking up Dad is easier, I just have to whinge a little and he’s up on his feet ready to do what I want him to. But I need Mom to get up too, she does more interesting things, she deals with food.

Mom wakes up and goes into the tiny room, she spends ages in there, sitting around reading, I know this because she forgot to lock the door once and I pushed it open. She takes so long to groom herself; I decide to go to Dad for some time. At least he talks to me even when he is locked up in his little room. Finally Mom is out, she looks the same but just smells different, not worth the time and effort I think, when I grow up to become a human I am going to skip this part for sure. Anyway we go down together and I tell her to open the door so I can check if there are any trespassers around. Left to myself I would chase away those pesky birds too but oh no Mom’s going thru a love all creatures phase.

She even has a little plate hung on a rope and she puts in stuff for the winged wonders. They fly down, chittering and twittering. They are such flatterers, you should hear the things they tell Mom, no wonder she feeds them every day. Who wouldn’t like to be called the queen of Sheba! I ignored the food these stupid creatures were given for a long time, I didn’t want to eat their food and grow up stupid like them till I saw Mom put in peanut butter into the seeds. Peanut butter, I tell you. And she gives it to them without the tirade I have to hear about how fat I am and will become. She doesn’t even call them baby hippos. Now the Moment she goes in I lick the plate clean, Mom doesn’t know. I am as bright as ever too.

Oh, I forgot to tell you about Ben-dog. He is a strange phenomenon, he’s an adult, old and grey but he still walks on four legs. Something must have happened to him when he was really young. Mom and Dad are very kind to him; he is allowed to come out with us when we take our evening walks. Poor chap he didn’t grow up fully. Ben-dog smells bad too, but I am kind to him, i don’t turn my head away when he comes sniffing up to me. Kits is another story, she is a cat. Cats like other low animals never grow to be humans.

What I like to do best is watch TV with Mom. We watch a lot of programs with humans in them but sometimes when Mom gets nostalgic about the time when she was a pup, she switches to either Discovery or Animal Planet. I love watching those big fishes in the water, I asked Mom if they would grow into humans too but she ignored me first, then told me to hush when I persisted. Those huge fishes are such funny creatures. They say such rude things with a straight face. The one called Jed once said,

“Hi long nose how’s your ugly wife?”

and the man gave him a huge fish, I don’t think he listens to what they say. I looked at Mom but she didn’t look shocked. If I said something like that to her, which I wouldn’t, because her nose is not long and I never tell lies, I know she would smack me not feed me fish.

Kits tells some of the most amazing stories. Some nights she doesn’t come home at all. She goes ‘on the tiles’ as Mom says. But Kits tells me she has been to a new restaurant in town with friends or to a movie theater where she chased mice or some such thing. Kits has a lot of friends. She gets invited to parties and has asked me to go out with her but when I tried following her one day Mom was furious. Kits being a cat is not destined for greater things. She is quite debauched, often brings boy-friend’s home. Funnily they are all called Tom. Cats are very limited. I haven’t told Mom about some of the things Kit says about them but I will if Kit doesn’t show me more respect and share some of her food with me.

I know Kits wants to become human too. I told her she would first have to grow into a pup and only then would she have some chance of becoming human. So for a few days she tried sleeping in our bedroom the whole night. Mom even bought her a new bed. But Kits has no perseverance or self control. Within a week she was back gallivanting the whole night with her friends. I don’t think cats will ever grow into responsible humans. But of course not all humans are either responsible or good. Take those tiny retarded stunted ones for instance. Mom and Dad have a special word for them ‘children’. They smile to them and try to be nice but I don’t. When they see me they yell pup or dog. They annoy me so much I chase them and then my parents yell at me. As if I started the fight. So I always get into trouble when these ‘children’ are around. Mom wouldn’t tell me why they were so mean or why so stunted so I asked Kits. She has been around a bit so I think her answer was correct. She said it was because as pups they didn’t get enough rest. They used up all their energy thinking up new ways to be mean.

Kits gets a lot of rest during the day. After a night out she falls asleep in the middle of a story. I try poking or nudging her but no sir, nothing wakes her up. Kits can be mean too. Once when I nipped at her tail accidentally; her plate sort of fell off the ledge that Mom places it on and since I didn’t want Mom to have to clean up the mess, I licked it all up. Kits just upped and left. The next morning she told me that she had complained about me to the witch who lives in the wet lands near my house. The witch she said was tinier than a child and could get in anywhere. She would come for me in the night and spirit me away to her hovel where she would eat me and all of Kit’s food that I had stolen. I tried explaining to Kit, that it was an accident, but she refused to listen. I was terrified. I ran to Mom to tell her and she hugged me hard, I don’t think hugs alone can protect me now. I am going to stick close to Dad for ever, he is bigger than Mom. I told Ben-dog about the witch and Ben-dog is terrified to go up the stairs alone even during the day. He wants to stick close to Dad too, I wished I hadn’t told him.

Mom hates lizards and gets Dad to shoo them out. I offer to do it, it is great fun they offer me their tail first but I still nip them. They then lie silently and sulk till Dad sweeps them into the dust pan. I think Dad would like to keep them, he looks so sad when he throws them away

When I am growed up into a human I am going to make a few changes around the house. I am going to get a pile of sand put in front of the TV. I love sand piles. Down the road there is a huge pile of sand. I love climbing to the top, it is so much more comfortable than the sofa.

Poor Ben-dog. He fell asleep one day and refused to get up. So Dad planted him under the tall tree that grows in a corner of our garden. Mom wrapped him in her favourite dupatta, the pink one with small beads at the end. I waited under the tree for him to jump out of the hole, but he never did. Mom and Dad cried the whole day; they even forgot to feed me. I tried to dig Ben-dog out, but they carried me inside and didn’t let me out.

I really miss Ben-dog, even his smelly mouth. I called out loudly to him, ran around his tree offering my tail for him to nip, but nothing happened. Mom took me out for rides; she drives a big metal box with four wheels. Dad has a long box with only two wheels, but those wheels smell so good and so different each day. Mom’s four wheels always smell of some place she goes to alone, she calls it the Mall, ‘I am going to the Mall,’, she says and I know she won’t take me or Dad with her. I don’t mind, for the moment she leaves Dad puts me on their bed and we go to sleep. She always comes back with goodies too.

One day Mom and Dad took me on a long ride. We went thru places I hadn’t been before. In the middle of the field to nowhere they stopped at an old house. I got frantic, the place smelled of fear, sickness and desperation. I shouted at them to turn around and drive away fast but they grinned stupidly at me,

‘Like the smell of so many doggies, huh sweetheart!’ Dad patted me on my head. Sometimes they are so condescending I could bite them.

They left me in the car and went inside. I hid under the seat, if they didn’t return I would have to live alone in this box. I searched around and decided I would start doing something I am never allowed to do; I would gnaw my way out of the door. I had just started when I saw them coming back. Mom hugged a brown bag to her, Dad kept trying to take it from her, and she dodged him smiling. Mom, the eternal shopper had found something to buy even here. I was so surprised when the bag turned out to be a tiny pup, brown with a black face. Not half as cute as me.

I didn’t like what they had done one wee bit. And to add to the insult they brought the ugly puppy close to me and cooed, ‘Cellie, see what we got you, a little doggie to play with.’ I have been brought up well so I said thank you, in what I hope sounded aloof and pretended to sniff at the ugly brown face. Ugly sniffled all thru the journey home. She crept closer and closer to me. I growled and Dad turned around and gave me his sad, disappointed, guilt inducing look. Mom was more direct as always,

‘Be nice Celine,’

She snapped in her no nonsense voice. We stopped at my store, I decided I wouldn’t get off the car if they were going to take Ugly in too, but fortunately Dad said he would stay with Ugly in the car. When he said Ugly it sounded like Fudgie but of course that can’t be.

Mom takes me to this shop once a week. I am allowed to choose one thing I like. But since I am so cute the shop-girl always gives me a treat too. Today I chose a milk bone and then, believe it or not, Mom bought one for Ugly too. And worse, she confessed to the girl about Ugly and the girl gave her a treat for Ugly. I barked angrily and so she broke off a piece for me too, but I refused it. I was not going to eat Ugly’s leftovers.

That night was a nightmare. Ugly cried and cried. The greedy creature gobbled up a bowl of milk and still cried. She cried in Mom’s lap and even when Dad carried her around. She cried even when Mom gave her Ben-dog’s bed and covered her with Dad’s mundu. Finally I decided to help, so I jumped in with her and let her cuddle up to me. Anything for some peace and sleep. Mom brought out her camera, I put on a smile, I have fans on the internet I can’t disappoint, I have to look good.

The next day I woke up early. Ugly slept on. I woke up Dad and Mom, it was time to have a talk with them. They had a lot to answer. Was Ugly going to live with us for long? Were they expecting me to be its surrogate mother? WAS I ever that funny looking? Big head, long body, cock eyed? Were they crazy? What were they thinking bringing home an orphan? Yes Ugly had whimpered her sad story to me, her mother had been crushed under a monster, her father had abandoned her etc. I did feel sorry for her, I even cried. Then I told her she couldn’t have my Mom and Dad.

Surprise. Mom picked me up and put me on the bed. She hugged me tight and went back to sleep. Ok the answers would have to wait. Its just too cosy and comfortable to bother with Ugly now.

Kits strolled in later during the day. She knew nothing of Ugly’s presence. I rolled around laughing when Ugly leapt on a completely unprepared Kits.

'Mmmmmmeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee,’ the normally silent, 'Read my expression and guess what I want,' Kits screeched.

She did a high jump on to the fridge and looked down at Ugly who wad running around yapping happily.

“Scaredy cat, cowardly cat,’ I chanted and Ugly took up the chant in a squeaky lisp.

“Huh.’ said Kits still shaken,” where did that creature come from? Tell it to shut up or I will scratch it’s eyes out.'

‘That’s Ugly,’ I said, ‘Our dear parents latest project.’

Kit slowly climbed down from her perch.

'Keep her away from me, I don’t feel like socializing today, had quite a Party night,’ she said winking widely at me.

Really that Kit, no sense of propriety.

“Party, what party I go party,’ Ugly jumped around.

Kits raised her paws and if I hadn’t stepped in between, she would have slapped her hard.

‘Shut up, ’said Kit.

“Shut up, sute up puss up,’ Ugly pranced around Kits staying at paws length.

Kits started to grin.

‘Betty Better bought some butter,’ she recited at top speed.

For a second, Ugly looked confused. Then she ranted loudly,

‘Bubby bub but bubber,’

‘Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers,’ became

“Piggy pig pigly pup,’ or something equally ridiculous.

So it went on for the next 10 minutes, Kit showing off her meagre knowledge of English rhymes and Ugly obligingly repeating the nonsense even more nonsensically. Mom and Dad scurrying around with a video camera.

I don’t like way Kits is monopolizing Ugly.

I will have to warn Kits in private to be more discreet, I don’t want her corrupting Ugly. I realized I would have my job cut out for me. It’s not easy being a big sister.

About Author

Prita Warrier

Member Since: 27 Feb, 2015

Prita has an M.Phil in English Literature from Madras University. This is her first published book, though writing has always been her passion. Her other interests include painting and travelling. She lives in Mangalore a coastal town in the South of...

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