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Delhiwale: Mehrauli’s aged Sufi is a thumri singer’s cat

Private Capital: Singer Vidya Rao lives with her cat named Sufi, whom she had found in 1999 while passing by a Sufi shrine in Delhi. The cat is now over 16 years old and has developed ‘old-age problems’.

delhi Updated: Jun 30, 2017 14:19 IST
Mayank Austen Soofi
Thumri singer Vidya Rao with her aging cat ‘Sufi’. Rao named the cat after a Sufi shrine where she had found her one monsoon afternoon in 1999.
Thumri singer Vidya Rao with her aging cat ‘Sufi’. Rao named the cat after a Sufi shrine where she had found her one monsoon afternoon in 1999. (Mayank Austen Soofi / HT Photo)

The famous thumri singer is sitting on her writing chair, the cat is on the table. We are in Vidya Rao’s apartment in south Delhi’s Mehrauli. She lives with Sufi, her cat, who is more than 16 years old and has developed “old-age problems.” Her liver and kidneys are no longer functioning smoothly. Her eyesight has dimmed. “Earlier, my Sufi would constantly run around the house. She would jump on to the sofa and climb the tables,” says Ms Rao.

Now, Sufi sleeps a lot, usually in the singer’s bed.

Rao found the cat one monsoon afternoon in 1999 when she was passing by a Sufi shrine in central Delhi. “I picked her up from near Nizamuddin’s dargah so I named her Sufi,” she says. Ms Rao’s book-lined apartment happens to be a walking distance from another famous Sufi shrine , Qutubuddin Bakhtiyar Kaki’s dargah.

As Ms Rao sits down on the drawing room sofa, Sufi climbs on to her lap. The thumri singer closes her eyes. The friends seem to be at peace with the world.