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There is a Mallu saying that goes something like this: ‘Puliye poley vannu eliye poley poyi’ (Arrived like a tiger, departed like a mouse). At least I think there is one of the sort. Or may be I am confusing it with something I heard in some other regional language. Suffice to say I watched what it implies happening for real one morning.

We, that is the L & M and I, were about to embark on a drive to a place nearby. What usually happens when we walk towards the car is that Luci settles herself down in the verandah with an air of ‘I know my duties and will take care of things till you are back’. But that day, uncharacteristically so, Luci was found nosing around the pot holder with pots containing the thorny euphorbia plants. She then proceeded to look intently at the dark area beneath the garlic vine growing close to the boundary wall where the sunlight never reaches..

Curious, I walked towards her. When Luci found I was right behind her, her demeanor changed from benign curiosity to one of aggression, a heroic dog intent on saving her humans from impending danger. She quivered excitedly from the tip of her moist nose to the end of her tail standing tall. I got this, Mommeee. I got this. You be careful, Mommeee. Dangerous impostors about, Mommeee. The gall to impost errr ummm.. I mean enter the premises of a house under my protection, Mommeee. I shall teach them a lesson, may be two, Mommeee. Just you watch, Mommeee.

The next thing I knew the air was filled with strange noises. Pffft. Pfffttt. Pfffttt. Mrrrrreeowrrrrr. Pffft. Pfffffttt. Pfffft. Realization dawned on me and (for I had spotted them as well), I found myself screaming excitedly, “Kittens! Kittens!” But guess what? Luci was back by my side having squeezed herself through the gap between the thorny plant and the wall. She then proceeded to grin at me in the typical Labradorean way. ‘Twas nothing, Mommee. Just some scared kittens, Mommeee. Totally non-dangerous stuff, Mommeee. Errrr, ummm… I’ll now go and step into the bucket of water and splash around a bit, Mommeee. Having communicated all that, she sauntered off ever so casually.

See what I mean? Go roaring in for the attack like a tiger and came right back like a mouse that suddenly remembered it had other more urgent things to do. The transformation had to be seen to be believed. Since I was on my way to shoot some pictures, I had the camera handy and promptly captured the kittens.

When we returned from our drive, Luci, with nose to the ground pointed out the way the kittens had left. Evidently, the mother cat had moved the kittens (to the backroom, among the boxes and stuff). Luci can now only stand around and sniff them from outside the room. Not that she wants to go in. No sir, not she. Only if/when her humans are close enough to step in and save her from the tiny pfffty thingamabobs will she go closer.

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©Shail Mohan 2015

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