Friday, June 12, 2009

Kompot: Tail of a Kitten

Old folks used to say it is bad luck to take pictures of a cat. They said, the cat would meet with premature death.

While I believe what those old folks said were mere superstition, I somehow never did snap any. Either there were no real reasons to do so, or I just feared to have guilty conscience hanging on my shoulder. Until about 2 months ago.

While trying to take a picture of a tree, Cing - one of the 2 strays that come and go as they please to my house (the other being Ku) - walked across the street right into the frame. As the picture was devoid of any subjects except for the tree and other small plants, I naturally was thrilled to snap Cing, and the picture is now somewhere in my Painting Pictures blog. Since then, more opportunities came my way.


The sound was unmistakably that of a kitten. From its mewing I gathered it was still small, the age where it still craves for the mother's milk as well as the warmth of her body. Judging from its cry for a great part of the night, I had feared that the mother may very well not return due to a matter where mortals are incapable of avoiding. Sadness crept within but there was nothing I could do - the kitten, was well within a neighbour's compound.

Thomok II was the last cat I had as my own. A tomcat he was. And like many other tomcats in urban areas where territories overlap one another, Thompok IIconstantly comes back all bruised and battered, involved in a scrap with a larger and more ferocious tomcat living next door. Still, Thompok II held his heads high and continued to defend his patch within the grounds of our yard.

The next morning, the next door children sounded full of joy. Then, one of them said "comel nya!". Instinctively I knew my asumptions the previous night was wrong. This kitten must have been separated from its family and brought to the neighbour. But this initial sigh of relief was later pestered by the kitten's continous cry thoughout half the day. Stepping out to have a look myself, I was greeted by the neighbour, a tall but friendly guy. In fact, he and his wife have been nice especially towards my emak. Problem is, the kitten is now afraid of their children - all 3 are rough and tumble boys - and have fled across the fence into my area. As one who love cats, I just could not resist taking it into my arms and began carressing. That, turned out to be a mistake.

Thompok II was the kitten of a stray that gave birth to more than several litters of cute and adorable kittens, many within the small shed at the back of the house. Eversince he began eating solid food, we became attached to one another and over the years, he learnt a trick or two: he liked to sit on my shoulder, balancing himself rather precipitously when I stand and walk. Another was to greet me when I come home from school by jumping onto me quite like a dog with it's master. However, what I least liked about him was when he catches mice and leave them on the front of the kitchen door, perhaps as a gesture of thanks. Either that, or he must have thought that I needed to eat more.

Sometime last week, the neighbour and his family went back to their kampung. Seeing that the kitten is already attached to me, they gave me his ration for the several days they'll be gone. And for the 4days and nights after, the kitten and I became more attached. In fact, she began following me for short walks, something another cat from another time long ago did.

Thompok II was named after another cat several years before: Thompok. Then, we were living in Pengkalan Chepa, Kelantan, and had to move to KL, bringing Thompok along with us. As the roads then were small and treacherous at certain stretches, it was a 2night trip, with a stopover somewhere in a chalet near a beach in Terengganu (can't remember the other stop, though). The next morning, the entire family took a walk along the beach...with Thompok walking beside us, running further inland whenever a wave come too close for comfort, then resuming its position beside us when it was safe. At one point of time, we even put him on a coral and there were visibly, not a single protest from him. I may have been only 6 then, but I remember the day very well even now. Sadly, slightly more than 2 weeks after we settled into the house in Section 20, PJ, Thompok dissapeared from our lives.

However, all was not well for Kompot and me. For one, I realise the growing bond between us have to be broken before the neighbour return. This, would make it easier for her to return to her 'family'. Another, was that emak's rashes was beginning to redevelop, the allergy which could perhaps be the kitten itself. Emak is also squeamish with cats, especially when kittens rub themseves at her legs. There has been several occasions in the past when she literally jumped out of her seat when a kitten does. At her age now, this is something to be avoided. But oh, she does love cats and this is evident with Kompot.

The neighbours - till earlier today - had not given her any name. Thus, for reasons quite evident in the second picture, I had begun calling the kitten 'Kontot', to which she responded quite reluctantly. 2 days before the neighbours returned, Emak changed the name to 'Kompot', which she said describes the tail more aptly, and far more better than the one I gave. I have to agree. And so too it seem with Kompot.

Early Friday morning as I stepped out of the house, 2 of the boys came running towards me shouting "ayah beli bola pingpong! Kucing to tengah main ngan bola tu!".

I was glad to hear that as it means the neighbours are beginning to understand Kompot's need for affection and attention. But at the same time, I felt a tinge of sadness as I do miss giving it to her. To force her to return to her 'family, I had to use the water hose to spray her, and chase her every time she wandered into our yard to her favourite berth, that of large vase and home to a fern plant; n the past few days she was with us, that was where she would emerge from every time I called her name.

Several hours ago as I stepped out of the house as I normally do on very warm nights, Kompot was sitting on the wall dividing the 2 compounds. Soon as she started her mewing, I stepped back in and closed the door. Whether she likes it or not, she belong to the neighbours and she must learn to accept it. As I did.

Kompot, by the way, has a new name already. Perhaps due to her constant mews, the boys named her Siti Nurhaliza.

ps. To my friends: I lost my hp and all the numbers contained within. Kindly email me your number so we can keep in touch. Thank you.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

The Cello Hums Again

Just how does one describe the sound of a cello? A hum? Honestly, I do not know. What I do know though, is that I love the sound reverberating from one, having seen it played countless times on the TV series 'Air-Wolf'. Never once did I thought I could listen to it's deep soulful hum played in front of me. Well, actually, even that is not right as I normally have to hide behind a wall.

The picture on the left is a sketch by aN_archi, a friend of Cikgu Nazir, and a multi-talented teacher who will be retiring in less than 3 months now. When he uploaded the picture as an entry several nights back, it reminded me of Syairah Hanin, a young pianist and cellist, who is now studying - of all subjects - Mathematics, in Berkeley, California.

When I first learnt of the subject she was pursuing, my mind immediately recalled 'Numbers', a TV series using Mathematic equation to solve a crime. "So, you're going to join the series after graduation?" I asked her sometime last year.
"Yeah! Why not? Or perhaps, make my own", she replied.
Quite a sassy young lady she is, perhaps following the lead of her eldest sister, Syairah Hanis, who is a young architect with a firm called Stern Architects, Inc.

Sometime last week, Syairah Hanin came back for the summer holidays. A few days after that, I thought I heard her cello hummed again, but was disappointed that the sound came from a radio of her neighbour. Seriously, she would never play the cello with me around for some reasons. But once in a while, I managed to steal into the house without her realising it, and listen to her cello being played from behind a wall. I just hope that I would be able to catch her again before she goes back for her studies.

That's her up there with her cellom. On the right is her cousin, Nursara, who is quite attached to her. Can't remember the occasion the picture was taken, but it was sometime last year, just before she went off for her studies. And the reason for this entry is the likeness between the sketch by aN_archi, and the picture above. Off course, except that Nursara is lively girl and not a cat as in the sketch.