The little ones – III
Moody’s eldest baby, a grey and white male, is also the biggest of the lot – and that was probably why she rather neglected him as a baby, focusing most of her attention on her weaker children. At three weeks, while gazing at me with steady blue eyes (which were soon to turn greenish, and then a tawny yellow), he looked so like a tiny lion cub that I, fresh from my reading of C.S. Lewis’ The Chronicles of Narnia, had no doubt what his name had to be – Aslan.
Baby Aslan was the loveliest kitten you ever did see – exactly like one of those adorable little guys who adorn picture postcards. He was also the most sickly – a rather bad chest infection when he was barely two months old permanently damaged his vocal cords, because of which his maiows are still rather cracked. Not that that mattered much to our lion king – baby Aslan grew into a gorgeous tomcat, fiercely protective of his little brother and sister, headstrong, fearless yet trusting, and very, very affectionate. He would run to his mother, lick her lovingly, and then have a mad game of roll-me-over with her – and later, he would jump on our laps, butt his head against our faces, and contentedly go off to sleep in our arms. Aslan was always the most patient of the three, and the most accepting. He would wait patiently for his turn to eat (we soon stopped feeding them together when we realised that murder and mayhem would ensue if three mad little kittens were let loose together on a bowl of fish or milk), and would then eat neatly, slowly, and with a gravity that accompanied all his actions.
For all his leonine majesty, though, baby Aslan is the most homebound of the lot. For him, home is where his heart is – he hated the outdoors, and always refused to accompany his siblings on their adventures, preferring to stay in with us instead. He’s also extremely naïve and innocent, with a firm belief in the goodness of all living beings – quite like his namesake, the lion king of Narnia. Aslan’s mortal enemies were towels, socks, and trousers – his strong little teeth would soon rip anything flapping in an unseemly manner, or anything furry that didn’t have a tail. Once he realised that we were less than pleased at this systematic destruction of our towels and clothes, he began dragging his prey off under the bed, when he would gnaw peacefully for hours until, much to his annoyance, we would decide to play spoilsport and drag him and whatever remained of our towel out.
Tawny-eyed Aslan is also incredibly possessive and jealous – especially of K. He didn’t mind me petting his little sister, whom he adores, but would always leap into my arms whenever he saw Ariel being cuddled – whereupon Ariel would then be unceremoniously smacked out of the way, and I would feel a reproachful yellow glare on me. But K – he couldn’t even give me a hug without Aslan knocking him over, jumping into his arms, and staying put, growling if anyone dared come close. He periodically gets into these mad fits when he rips up newspapers, and plays like – well, like a mad kitten – joined by his siblings, whose wild, crazy games would send us alternately into fits of laughter, and screeches of horror when they landed too close to something breakable.
Aslan hated the journey to Kolkata, and being the fearless warrior that he is, he let everyone in the airport know just how displeased he was. He has now attached himself to my father, and having discovered the joys of an open kitchen after the strict dietary discipline that he had been under while they were with us, he soon set to figuring out how to open the larder door using his teeth and all four paws – and once that was done, Aslan would get the food out (not steal it – my little ones have no clue what ‘stealing’ is – as far as they’re concerned, food that they see before them is meant for them), and then, like a feline Robin Hood, gather all the other cats around, and proceed to feed himself and his merry men (and women). My parents actually had to get a stout padlock for the larder, much to Aslan’s anger!
Unfortunately, baby Aslan still remains the weakest of the lot – he has fallen ill about thrice already, twice rather seriously – and we spent plenty of anxious, sleepless nights here in