City Obituary – Sufi the Cat, Mehrauli
The passing away of a beloved.
[Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi]
Sufi died on 13 October, 2019, at her apartment in south Delhi’s Mehrauli that she shared with thumri singer Vidya Rao.
“She went peacefully as I was holding and stroking her,” says Ms Rao.
Sufi celebrated her 20th birthday early this year (see pictures) and barely managed to register her over-smiling human friends in the drawing room.
She was struggling with health problems common to a cat of advanced years. Her liver and kidneys were no longer functioning smoothly. Her eyes too had weakened. Earlier, she would constantly run around the house, jumping onto the sofa and climbing the tables. But in her final years, she would sleep a lot, often in Ms Rao’s bed where she snuggled under the sheets for warmth, lying quietly for long periods.
Sufi also liked spending time in Ms Rao’s study where she would look at the birds outside.
Ms Rao first met Sufi one monsoon afternoon in 1999 while returning from Hazrat Nizamuddin’s Sufi shrine in central Delhi. Her daughter, Aditi, spotted a kitten lost in the road. They brought her home and named her Sufi “because she was, so to speak, taken from one sufi dargah to the other.” Ms Rao house is walking distance from the shrine of Hazrat Qutubuddin Bakhtiyar Kaki. She also called Sufi by other affectionate names, such as “My Suflet” and “My Chomps.”
In her email invite to celebrate Sufi’s birthday this June, Ms Rao, who also works in a publishing house, wrote, saying: “In these 20 years that little scrap, whom we call Sufi, has shared our home she has enriched our lives, listened to music, presided with a stern eye and ear over my riaz, broken several of my beautiful pieces of pottery, corrected and vastly improved my spelling as I wrote on the computer, adding the odd x and z to all words, helped me read proofs and edit manuscripts, done her share of gardening, watched episodes of Friends with me, made my friends feel welcome, and generally made my life rich and beautiful.”
Long time friend, gone