It was June of the year 2014, and I was on my usual morning walk, looking around, feeling the early morning air on my face.  A tiny squirrel slithered down the tree in bright eyed curiosity, scurried towards an ice cream wrapper lying under the tree, picked it up in its front paws, licked it dry, and threw it away. Then its eyes fell on an empty tea cup lying a few feet away, it entered it almost as apprehensively as a person entering a cave, oblivious to what dangers or treasures lay hidden there. Then with a serendipitous gleam in its small eyes, it licked the cup clean of its dregs, its tail twitching joyously.

 Now it craned its neck this way and that, and then darted towards a plastic glass, which I had seen a man throwing away in the garden after slurping away the beetroot juice. It picked up the glass, and licked anew. Its tiny stomach lined with the triple bonanza of ice cream, tea and juice, the gluttonous squirrel was still insatiated.

"Life's just one long battle. We are walking on a minefield. At any moment, we may be blown away. "

Snatches of conversation flew from the wall where a group of men were sitting and exchanging small talk. But this small talk hit me in a big way. I quickly looked at the ground; shuddering at the possibility of a hidden minefield. But thankfully I could see no minefield, only the tiny squirrel which had now reached my feet.

 Was it about to grovel at my feet or in its spree of gluttony was it about to bite off my little toe? Like pieces of paper, some more chunks of conversation ricocheted in my direction from another group standing near the juice seller.
"Luis Suarez will be banned from the World cup football. Imagine biting Giorgio Chiellini".

"Nothing new, he has a record of biting people."
"You know, a Norwegian has even won a bet to the tune of 5,600 kroner that Suarez would bite someone during the world cup."

 A spindly youth chimed in with a broad smile." This Suarez has set a very bad precedent. My dog is basically very peace loving, but these days I have seen him watching World cup football with a very keen eye.....I am afraid, really afraid."

Saying this he guffawed loudly in self -congratulatory mirth, and the others joined in too, and I am sure I saw the dog looking on with a guilty air.
 “Don’t tell me it will bite? A stout man with a thin moustache said in mock horror.

Suarez's biting propensity did not bother me , nor was I worried about the possibility of the explosion of hidden minefields , I was worried about  the fate of my gluttonous squirrel , who I was afraid, had bitten more than it could chew. What would happen now? Would it suffer from stomach indigestion?
 Where was it, my eyes frantically looked around , ah there it was on the wall, scampering towards  the avian community kitchen , where a troika of pigeons,  a myna, a sparrow, and yes the ubiquitous magpie robin were merrily partaking of the breakfast laid for them by the Good Samaritans thronging the park. It scurried towards them, sat down on its haunches, its ears twitching, goggled around, and fully armed with spunk, picked up a tiny morsel of roti.  
And then appeared Suarez- disguised as a crow.

 It gave a cantankerous caw, and almost bit off the tiny squirrel’s nose, as it pounced at the piece of roti and flew away in one triumphant sweep, the morsel of roti firmly in its beak. A couple of kids dressed in the tiniest of shorts I had ever set my eyes on, put their tiny hands together and applauded this gesture of the canny crow with lusty cries of jhoot boley kawa kaatey, kaley kaway sey dario”.  
 “Do not tell me, this crow is also a football fan?”
” It also has a record of pecking and biting,” Someone quipped, and threw back his head and laughed the loudest at his own joke.

Crows will be crows. The talk had now shifted to crows and their cunning ways, their fads and whimsicalities.

What is life without a little whimsy, as Sheldon Cooper would have said; I headed home smiling to myself but the smile disappeared when I saw a wicked looking crow looking balefully at me, and the squirrel sitting on the wall, a petrified expression on its tiny face.

Football was all right, so were crows, but crows suffering from the dubious Suarez syndrome were definitely not my cup of tea.

 I picked up speed; I would have my cup of tea at home.



1 comment:

  1. Such beautiful a description, such penetrative eye for nature and its sweet little agents. The writer seems to be a minute observer. The heart warming details are sweetly and caressingly reminiscent of Emily Dickinson who too gifted with a keen eye for detail narrates beautifully how A Bird Came Down The Walk. Simply loved the piece.


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