We were at the villa at Loutolim, where our guide, Mrs. Pinto, had gathered all her charges around herself, at the gate. As she continued her monologue about the history of the place, some of us listened intently, while others, including my brother and I, took pictures.
Subsequently, as we walked into the premises, along the path that led from the gate to the porch, there sat, on the grass that had been planted alongside, a kitten. It was pure white in colour, interspersed with patches of black. Even as my brother and I tried to attract its attention, it continued to nibble on something and appeared quite content doing that. So, we walked on.
Later, while we were inside the house, we found the same little one sitting in a corner and purring softly. My brother whistled and I snapped my fingers, as each of us knelt down on one knee, on the wooden floor, to try and attract its attention.
It got up and started walking slowly towards us. It stopped in front of my brother first, sniffed a bit at him, looked at his face and then walked on to me. The process was repeated as it sniffed at my feet, followed by my knee. Then, quite inexplicably, it climbed on to my knee!
After surveying the surroundings for a while, it settled down quite comfortably there, as I stroked its head and back very gently. It stayed put, even as the other visitors walked by, some of whom stopped to take a good look. Soon, my parents called out to me and I put the kitten down. It scampered away, to go and hide under a table, as if really scared of the rest of the people around.
When I narrated the sequence of events to my parents, afterwards, they said that I could have brought the kitten along and it could have lived with us. The memory of having lost Tinkoo was too fresh in my mind, however, and I was not sure that I could take on the responsibility of another innocent creature.
The memory is always going to remain with me though, even as I, or any one else, as for that matter, might never be able to come up with a credible explanation of the reasons for which the kitten chose to make friends with me. I wonder if it had anything to do with a certain kind of smell that might have begun to emanate from the pair of jeans that I was wearing and which I had not changed since leaving home!
The following photograph was taken by my brother soon after the young one had hopped on to my knee. I would have liked him to take another one, after it sat down, but he had wandered off by then.