All this started some 10 months back when Sandeep joined us (Tarun and me) as our new flatmate here in Hyderabad. He was the only source of entertainment for us (yes, I mean it! :P ) until two new members (each having four legs) started visiting our house very frequently and became a part of our daily life.

Sandeep always had a wish to have a puppy at home so that he will have a reason to come back early from his office (btw, you can understand what this ‘early’ means as the guy belongs to IT Industry). Though it was not a puppy but somebody else came to fulfill his wish. On a usual weekend Sandeep noticed a cat roaming around the house and thought of replacing the puppy in his wish list with this cool buddy. Now, it was not an easy task to catch and pet a matured cat but this was the point where Tarun utilized his 25 years of experience in the same field. (From his childhood, he has been doing a lot of experiments by catching, feeding and petting a wide range of species… but hey Tarun, it may not be that easy to feed and take care of your own baby! :-). In all, on day ONE, we were on the other side of window watching the cat drinking milk we had put for it and just on day THREE the cat was in our lap! Hurray! :-) After a few days, another cat accepted our friendship and today the condition is that though none of them is a permanent resident of our house but they spend most of their time playing with us. They don’t mind if we stretch their beloved tail, if we force them to walk on two legs, if we put them under water tap (what they never like) or if we try to check their sharp canine teeth by removing the upper lip with our hand (what Sandeep usually does :-). It’s really nice to hear their sweet mew-mew in the morning when they ask for milk or in the evening when they get to know we are back from office.

To add to all this joy, one day we realized that a new little guest is going to join our society. The famous search engine told us that the day shouldn’t be more than a few weeks ahead. We were waiting eagerly to see newly born kitten but the only worry was -‘what if the cat doesn’t choose our house to keep the babies?’ Anyways, it didn’t take long when Tarun and I (while leaving for the office) heard a different kind of mew-mew coming from behind the bush within our boundary wall. With high level of excitement we jumped towards that side, but it was strange to see only a single kitten there and no cat around! (Btw, I had never seen a newly born cat before. Man, it was too small, just like the size of a squirrel!) Feeling very nice, we observed it for some time as it was crying continuously and trying to creep slowly. We waited for some 20-30 mins for the cat to come back thinking if it’s ok to leave it there alone. But Instead of touching it we felt it better to leave it to his mother & the mother-nature and left for office.

Sandeep also was glad to hear the news when we all came back late evening. But now it was time to worry as the kid was still alone and crying. Finally, the most experience person among us, Tarun, went ahead and saw that one of its legs was swelling severely as it was stuck in the bush. The moment he separated it out, kid was quiet. Feeling little relaxed, we put it in a paper box in the store room where the cat used to visit regularly. Thinking, now the God only is the saver of him, I named it Allah Rakkhaa. Hey, at that point of time, I didn’t know if the same was the full name of Oscar winner AR Rahman! Actually, in olden days it was common in Muslims and Punjabis to name a child AllahRakkhaa (saved by Allah), RamDitta (given by Lord Ram), GuraanDivaya (obtained by the blessings of Gurus) etc.

After getting out of bed, next morning, we first checked – AllahRakkhaa. He was still there, breathing safely. Before leaving for office we all three sat together and tried to feed it some milk with spoon. Believe me, this job was 100 times difficult than to debug a C# code written by somebody else! The kid was too small and its eyes were not yet open. We somehow managed to put few drops of milk in his mouth as it was throwing his head here and there (what a divine experience it was! :-)

In the evening we arranged a syringe and fed it with few more drops of milk. As we realized that the kitten was now our responsibility only, we searched the web again for how to feed and take care of two days old kitten. Looking into YouTube videos we confirmed that the kitten was not an early born (which could have been a reason why its mother left it). Per day 15ml of milk was recommended for it for first week of birth. By night we felt that he was not feeling that comfortable. Based on recommendations from the web, we sat again to feed it some more milk. When we were done with one syringe of milk, Sandeep expressed his worry – “jyada naa pilaao bechara mar na jaaye” (don’t feed more, it may die). But as it was just a 2.5ml syringe (that too half went out of his mouth) we filled another one. After half an hour of hard work, we put him back in the box and went to bed praying for his good health as it was breathing fast by that time.

Next morning I woke up hearing Sandeep’s words – “ye to chala gaya!” (He is no more!). I rushed towards store room. Little kitten was lying motionless. Allah had called him back. Trying to get him moving by different ways Sandeep said – “Perhaps it died of over feeding”. After a long pause, exhaling a deep breath, I replied – “Thank God, it didn’t die of hunger!

I can’t express how bad we felt for next few days. AllahRakkhaa came just for two days, but it made me think of a significant number of children dying every day due to lack of basic commodities. Every day, a big part of our population still goes to bed without food. We may feel proud by making big achievements in different fields but Global Hunger Index (GHI) clearly shows the alarming conditions of our country on this front (we were ranked 66 on GHI scale in year 2008). Parents are bound to see their children dying in front of their eyes in absence of proper medication facilities.

Instead of wasting time, money and power in internal politics, it’s time to come forward and think in this direction. All our hard work, progress and achievements are waste if they are just to add more luxury to our life and are not aiming towards improving these severe conditions.
…Long live Allah Rakkhaa!