Sunday, August 05, 2007

Memories down the lane I - A squirrel Story

As we travel down the lane called life, we all leave behind trails of memory that one day during our ramble within the forest called mind, will evoke in us a happy or nostalgic aroma. And it so happened this morning, as I woke up from sleep the trail of a memory I left behind came snatching my reverie, awhile.

20 years ago, I found a baby squirrel which apparently had fallen from the tree nearby and was left in the mud by the others of the same family. At first I thought it was dead, but as I was getting closer to observe, the natural instinct of survival aroused the squirrel of the impending danger, and it tried to escape. Alas! It was covered thickly with mud from red earth and impossible indeed was its attempt to escape from me.

I knelt down and gently stroke its back repeatedly to calm it and let it be known that I am but a friend and not a fiend. After a couple of minutes, I slowly lifted it onto my palm and brought closer to my face and stared at the squirrel and slowly breathed warm air onto its shivering body. I brought it back home and gave a short bath with lukewarm water and dried the natural drape of the squirrel using a hairdryer. Then, I removed all the things from my table drawer and filled it with dried grass to make a home for the new addition in the family. My little friend was lucky as it was fruits season and many of the squirrels' favorite were freely served by nature during the season. So, I fed the squirrel mostly with bananas, durian (a kind of thorny fruit with strong smell), rambutan pulp and a little water. At night, I would leave a 100 watt bulb lit in the drawer to provide some warmth for the baby.

I named it Rama. After two days Rama became heartily healthy and started to wander across my room leaving traces of waste almost everywhere. At times, it would jump over my bed and sneak under my blanket. After almost a week my conscience began to play its music. We man have forgotten all the natural ways of survival and even have domesticated many animals for our selfish interest. Would it be fair for me to repeat it again with this high-tree wanderer? I decided to let loose Rama after almost a week. I wish not to trap nature within my selfish embrace for my own satisfaction, and I believed Rama has to return to where he belongs too. I bet Rama had no qualm about that after almost a week of special services provided for him. One day, I took him to the nearest forest and let him go. He disappeared instantaneously with some noise. I guess he thanked me for saving his life.

After that day, I returned many times to the jungle and started to call Rama. But, there were hundreds of Rama jumping from branch to branch, tree to tree. Which Rama was the one I saved? I couldn't recognize my Rama, but I know one thing for sure, whether I called it Rama, Mara or whatever, nature is nature and a squirrel is a squirrel. Down deep, there was a longing to see him again for one last time, but it never happened. And, even if I managed to see him for that 'one last time' would that really be a 'one last time' sort of anticipation? Then, once again, I opened the cage and let it him disappear once again, this time from my heart.

Years have rolled by, suddenly today the wave of Rama's memory came surging towards me. There were no any deliberate attempt to think of Rama nor was there anything which could take me back to Rama's memory. It just happened. I don't know why. 20 years is surely too long for a squirrel to stay alive. Perhaps, Rama's soul visited me today? I surrender this to mother nature. Long live Rama.

Errors Under Your Tender Care. Mistakes Are Mine.
Corrections Are Yours.

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