The Ladybird & Babu
The Ladybird & Babu2 mins 30 2 mins 30
It’s fresh outside. The sky is clearest blue, clouds are strangers, with birds stitching across its smooth blanket. Amongst the ivy bush, a Ladybird suspends from the tip of a blade of grass, defying gravity like snot drooping from a child’s nose. It’s hung there for twenty minutes, it’s red shell a gem, sparkling. It’s kept me company—not that I need it—but I’m fascinated by its staying power; the way it holds-on. Unlike people I know. These pretenders have greasy hands, and would let you slip through their grasp at the first sign of need—after all, this is inevitable, as they can’t hold on to themselves, so what chance do you have?
On the garden wall, watching me watching the Ladybird, is a bushy, bulbous, white cat. I call her Babu. I’ve picked up a clutch of Hindi words, and though in my mouth it fits ill, it’s one I like the feel of; it tastes like cherry brandies on the tongue, and my feline friend responds without mockery. I say, “Kya,” she meows. I say, “Kyo,” she meows again. I call her Babu, and then and only then, does she purr. She is an overweight bundle of fluffy love with chocolate stones for eyes: she sees everything. She doesn’t stay long: just enough to say hello, just enough to let me know that sometimes, I’m on her mind. That, and the fact we share anchovies, which keeps her coming back. I’m not sure who likes salty fish more? I’ve always liked fish on my palate, but still, I save the last for her, and when that’s gone, she’s gone too.