Hassan’s Cats

Hassan drew cats
Indian cats
They neither speak Hindi,
Gujerati or Urdu
But miaow somewhere in between.
They are mine
With pink fur
The colour of The Red Sea beaches
And yellow eyes
The shape of goldfish
Sleepy but open
Staring, enchanting
Indian Cats.

Today they said it would be hot
So I put on my thinnest shalwar kameez
With swirls of pink,  orange and blue.
My mother-in-law hates it
So I wear it more.
On its neck sits
In blue see-through beads
Sewn on deftly by maids
On Ganges banks
A feline CAT
Whose eyes see all.
She holds a fleshless fish
Where bones are threads of
Polyester silk.

Hassan’s painted cats purr with men
Mine like a smoothed- down lap.
There is no urgency to hunt
Under a Rajasthani sky
Or stalk a red-winged bird.
Rather they barter
Craftily slowly
Like winking traders in a Goan market square.
They lay open their stash
Of loyalty
Lifelong and true
To covet
A bucket of fresh-caught mackerel.


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