A cat named Miula wants to share her story and experiences.


3. An indifferent Christmas in Gattilum

Festive seasons are celebrated wholeheartedly in Gattilum. Although the population here is getting less and less, tourists are getting more. Each year we receive thousands of tourists. Tourists are very enthusiastic and passionate about festivals. For those who stay more than a few days, they would collaborate with the local restaurants to organise something interesting. The advantage of being a small town is that words spread easily. The organisers do not have to send invitation; mouth to mouth invitation moves faster. The preparation for festivals is a consuming stage but also full of spirit. It lightens everyone's mood and there is something to look forward to. 


This year's upcoming Christmas is dedicated to seeing the better side of everything. It is not difficult to see the good sides of one's surrounding when one is in a relaxing holiday, enjoying the best of what Gattilum can give. Christmas will be celebrated at a local restaurant at the heart of the town. Everyone is invited to decorate the restaurant with a tiny card of 3X3 inches. These cards should be filled with positive words that one sees around them - it can describe a person, an animal, a furniture, anything! A Christmas tree has been erected for that purpose. One can choose to hang their cards on the tree or place them anywhere in and close to the restaurant.      


Everyone is so excited and joy usurps every fiber of the atmosphere. We, the cats of Gattilum also rejoice in each festival for a couple of reasons: Firstly, celebration means more food and secondly, we are more than happy to be left alone. We love to be pampered, scratched, and petted but too much attention is not welcomed. We always need to create a space balance between ourselves and human beings. I prefer to think that the existing harmony between people and cats in Gattilum is almost perfect, hence there is nothing I would like to change.


Who could reject a fun and energetic celebration? It is infectious just like laughter. Except for one little old lady who lives at the very border of the town. She feeds us everyday without fail just like she walks across the hanging bridge everyday to lay flowers at her husband's tomb every morning. I do not know their story because her husband passed away before I moved to Gattilum. Sometimes, I could hear her talking to herself and once in a while I could hear a name uttered with emotions. I figured that name must be of her husband's. 


She never joins in any of the celebrations. Her daily routine includes visiting her husband's tomb, cooking, reading, gardening, listening to songs, watching TV and feeding us. Once a week, a neighbour visits her and they share some chit-chats. She seldom opens herself to strangers, thus all comings and goings of tourists are just part of the activities surrounding her which she got herself habituated. The tourists are just one of the many aspects of life that she not only habituates but which she accepts with pure complete indifference. I found out that there is an endless list of things which she does not react to. She eats moderately probably due to her age. Her food intake is three times daily and whether it is a delicious piece of cake or a plain porridge, she eats it with ease without complaint. 


That is the point I was trying to tell - I do not hear any complaint from her, never. It is as though she takes whatever life gives her. The only weakness she shows is her feelings towards her late husband when she calls his name once in a while. 


On one of the evenings during the preparation of Christmas celebration, the owner of the restaurant came to her little cottage to invite her. Although the owner does not live in Gattilum, he has known this lady for many years. He wanted to share the joy of the festive season with her. While she was feeding us, he presented himself and told her that it would be great if she could participate and enjoy the celebration with them. He would be honoured and touched if she could join because as an organiser, it was his duty to make sure that every resident and tourist receive at least a shred of joy from this event. He told her about the card that she had to write on. She refused to take part and she even refused to write anything on the card. She simply said, "I try to see everything as equal - plant, grass, animal, insect, people. Everything has its worth. Even the weather has its worth. The weather can be unbearably cold in winter and it can also be scorching hot in summer. I don't want to judge the weather just like I don't want to judge the others. As long as I'm not perfect, I cannot judge, bad or good."

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