Last week, the twin city (Hyderabad-Secunderabad) and the adjoining towns/villages experienced heavy downpour. It was Friday evening, 8th August, that the rain poured like never before. At about 6 o' clock, Old Boy's Hostel, IIIT-Hyderabad (where I live), lost electricity. Two minutes later my laptop switched to hibernation mode. While it hibernated, I could still hear the dialogues and the sounds of the movie I'd been watching. I sat in the dark looking at the silhouette of the laptop's screen, and listening to the rain. I looked at the dark blue glass panes of the window beside me, as I heard many of the occupants (the students of IIIT) shouting and laughing.
I left my room to move around and find someone to chat with because there was nothing else to do. I walked across my wing and didn't sense much activity in other rooms. As I reached the central rotunda of the OBH, from where all the wings emanate, I saw few dark, human shaped bodies moving as single or in groups in random directions. Unable to recognize anybody among them or any voice around, I retraced my steps back to my room.
After a few minutes, I heard a knock at the door and was delighted. I opened the door and saw a tall opaque black figure (a 3D shadow, maybe!) standing in front of me. I recognized the face after I recognized the body language and pose in which he stood at the door, leaning a bit towards the left side. His voice sounded both familiar and novel after hearing the raucous music of rain.
"Come, lets go and find others. You shouldn't be staying in your room."
As I searched for the lock in darkness, Akshay told me that the water had collected in the passage of the wing of his room and he got wet while walking through the corridor of his wing, as it faced the rain directly.
"Open the door completely and let some fresh cool rainy air in," he said.
I couldn't agree more. The weather was indeed cool, a bit chilly perhaps. But it was great. We talked for a little while, standing at the door, then went to find others.
A few people had gone out to get drenched in the rain, few others wandered around, while yet few others played cards in candle light in their room!
By the time I decided to get drenched in the rain, the rain had lost its vigor. I met Amit while wandering across the corridors. We went to one of the wings where a few of our batchmates were standing outside their rooms and chatting.
Half an hour later the electricity was restored and we went to have dinner without the change of our wet clothes.
Under the ambiance of sound of mild rain, I walked to my room after dinner. I saw foot prints of some animal on my keyboard on my desk. First I thought they were footsteps of a dog, but rejected the idea. Without any further thoughts I rubbed off the soil imprints of footsteps from the hand-rest part of the keyboard. While I sat in my room later that night, thinking over the questions given as a part of assignment, I thought I heard a cat meowing. My first thought was that the sound came from outside the window. Living on first floor of OBH made it less likely though. Few more meows made me feel its presence near me. I felt something black move across my room. I glanced across the room and my eyes fell on a black cat standing and staring at me from near the bottom of my bed. It meowed softly once more. My first encounter with a cat in my room made me jump on my chair. The cat scurried under the bed. My basic instincts of fight and flight told me to flight (escape!), because fight was not an option here. Interestingly, as I saw the black cat, the first thought that crossed my mind was the famous superstition, "Don't walk the path crossed by a black cat. Let someone else unknowingly cross it first."
I left my room and knocked at Asrar's room. As usual he opened the door with a welcoming smile, even if he doesn't want it to mean that way! I told him about the black cat. He didn't hesitate to help me out, what a great neighbor! I stood at the door and told him that the cat was under the bed. He sat on the bed and tried to hit the wall and the trunk under the bed so that the cat is scared away. I stood on my chair, at a height well above the cat. After a few attempts, it worked and cat scurried out of the room, and I saw it enter the bathroom+toilet section of the wing.
I thanked Asrar and carefully closed the door while looking down, in case the cat tried to come back again. Being all alone in the room made me feel better. Not that I hate animals or that they'd harm me, but they'd do other sorts of things... in fact when we were not able to get the cat out of the bed, I asked Asrar to leave it there, but Asrar told me that it might dirty the room. I agreed. I figured out that while Akshay and I were standing at the threshold with an open door, the cat must have scurried into the room.
I told this to Akshay the next day. The first thing he asked, "Was it a black cat?"
I replied in affirmative and asked him as to how he came to such a conclusion.
He replied that white cat would be seen in dim light as well. In an attempt to prove that his conclusion of cat being black was a fluke, asked him, "couldn't the cat be brown?" to which he replied, as if he had the reply ready for that question, "brown cats are not found in this region of the country."
Akshay later added that the cat, to save itself from the rain might have entered into the room, since the door of my room was the only opening around while it rained cats and dogs!