A cook, in Yeravada jail, had a pet cat and it had two kittens. Many times, the cat would come and sit wrapping itself around Gandhiji’s open and soft legs. Now kittens also started coming with their mother.
Once, the cat came with her kittens. One kitten started playing. It would come
running to catch the tail of its mother as if it was a mouse. It would then
catch the tail in its mouth. The cat would pull back its tail or get angry and
even bite. In this way their play would go on. At that time Bapu was reading
Ruskin’s book. He stopped reading to watch this game.
Gradually, the kittens got mixed with Bapu very well. They would sit in Bapu’s
lap at a prayer time, would play with everybody and at meal time they would jump
around, meowing all the time.
Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel would just tease the kitten. He would cover the kitten
with a semi-dome shaped metallic net, used for covering the food. Being trapped
the kitten would get puzzled.
One day the kitten got very scared. It pushed the metal net with its head and
took it all the way to the Verandah and then escaped from underneath.
Everybody was impressed by its wit. But, the kitten was still in panic. Bapu
felt pity on it.
Then, the kitten went little far and made the preparation for a nature call. It
dug up the land to make a pit and after finishing the task, again covered the
pit with the earth. But, then it found that the earth was not enough, so it went
to another place. There, the kitten finished that task. Another kitten helped
it to cover the pit.
On seeing the kitten’s keenness for cleanliness, Bapu said, “Flowers should be
showered on the kitten from the sky.”
Even Miraben (Ms.Slade) could not stop herself from mentioning this in her
letter about cleanliness education.
She wrote: “We have two nice kittens here. They learn a lesson from their
mother’s silent practice. Their mother is always present before them all the
time. The main and important thing is only practice.”