Photograph copyright @Saadul Islam.

(Sunday Mid-Day asked for a cat story, in 140 words. Here it is.)

My nine lives?

I had a house, once, and Bigfeet of my own: then they packed everything, except me, and left.

There was a word for kittens who wandered outside for the first time: prey.

Seven bird kills, eight battles with rats, two with puppies, and I found a word that fit me better: predator.

No river cat remembers the names of the boats we lived on; the fish, yes, we taste their names in our mouths still.

In Sikkim, I made babies with a monastery cat, solemn kittens with Buddha bellies.

The vet took one of my lives, the time I crossed the road without looking, but he gave me back two.

Two is ample, I thought, and then one was squandered in a bandicoot brawl, but it was worth it.

I have one life left. Three paws.

Enough.

(To read Sunday Mid-Day’s interviews with Scott Carney, Naresh Fernandes and me, go here.)