What my cat taught me about graduating

I had been studying since January this year to prepare for my exams in April, that got postponed to July and then last week, I got news that they were cancelled. Initially I was shocked, then I was happy that I didn’t have to spend the rest of my lockdown studying. I was frolicking around that I had graduated by default. I decided to take some rest and probably do everything I ever wanted to do.

But to my dismay, I found that I was absolute rubbish in spending my leisure time without a plan. I didn’t have the patience to sit and binge watch (Mad respect to those who can.) Neither did I want to write, read or even draw. Added to this lack of aim was my anxiety towards competitive exams that may or may not be held. To combat this situation my first instinct was to chalk out a plan to start my preparation for exams while trying to strike a balance with creativity. I even made one I was happy with, however, another obstacle faced me and this was one of my own making.

I always thought preparing for competitive was a herculean task because of the level of difficulty of questions but I found that the exams were hard to crack as many students like myself were unable to find the motivation to study. While I enjoy learning law, learning without a reward in near future is very hard for me and I believe I have asked myself “why am I doing this?” more times in the last week than I have done in the entire five years of my law school.

Thus, the lack of discipline to study and motivation haunted me every second of the last week until I had an epiphany while playing with my beautiful cat – Chitraangada (lovingly called as Chitraa)

Chitraa taking over my desk as I am not studying

Three years ago, Chitraa was born in our house along with two other kittens, unfortunately, she was the runt of the litter and was abandoned by her mother when she could not even drink milk properly and wobbled while she walked. I remember her crying in hunger and searching for her mother. We gave her food and took her in. We were as afraid of her as she was of us, it was a new experience for everyone. We now had the duty of teaching her the proper etiquettes of a cat.

We started with potty training and to our surprise she learnt it in the span of two hours (her children took three months. Oh god, the frustration.) Since she was a stray cat, she went out a lot and thereby got stuck in trees and roofs a lot, almost 5-6 times every day. It took her longer since she had to figure out the routes herself, but when she did she hardly ever got stuck.

Similarly, being a predator we expected her to bring home dead animals but the first time she bought a dead lizard, we were so horrified that we had to explain to her that she need not kill to give us presents, she interpreted this as bringing animals alive. So, whenever she wanted something, she would catch the prettiest and biggest jewel bug and submit it at my mother’s feet (my mother screamed, no surprise). We let this continue until one day she bought in a bat and let it free in the house. She received thorough reprimanding that day and rarely if ever brings in animals and at least never dead ones.

While the above anecdote may make her look like a fearless predator, the truth is she didn’t know how to hunt and it was only through daily practice (with me bearing the brunt of her claws and teeth) that she was able to gain absolute control over her body.

Even on the day I had the epiphany, she was still practicing with me despite being so proficient. And it struck to me that all the skills she had learnt over the past few years – she was consistently and without fail upgrading them on a daily basis because it were essential for her survival. She knows how important it is for her skills to be top-notch. And for the same reasons I need to study and prepare for my future.

Thus, Chitraa helped me find my lost motivation.

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