The squirrel brave: testimony from a playground

Recently I happened to witness a strange event in our indoor badminton court where I enjoy playing daily after a hectic daily schedule as a doctor, with fellow-players from different age-groups.

One evening, as the game was on, one player abruptly stopped and started staring at a particular spot. In that corner of the court we found two little creatures about the size of a little finger, writhing. Their eyes were unopened, their pink skin fresh: we could see the internal organs. We wondered where they had come from. Then we saw a squirrel on the rooftop, desperately calling and searching for its little ones.

So the baby squirrels had fallen accidentally from their hideout on the roof, surviving a 30-foot fall. It was heart-rending to see the squirrel calling out to its lost ones, and the equally desperate baby squirrels responding in their own feeble language.

Suddenly, the mother spotted them and promptly started climbing down. Soon it was fussing over them. It was a moving sight to see the mother squirrel comforting, reassuring and tending to them.

The squirrel then picked up one of the infants in her teeth and hopped to the nearest exit. We felt relieved and relaxed, and a sense of mudita (sympathetic joy, which is a sublime state of mind according to the Buddha) came over us.

The game suspended, we waited in silence expecting the return of the squirrel to pick up the second baby, which had by then fallen silent, tired after repeated distress calls.

After half an hour or so, just as we were losing hope and wondering what to do with the orphaned squirrel, the mother squirrel started her descent from the roof again.

In no time, it picked up the second infant and disappeared to safety. The intelligence, the courage and the maternal instinct of the mother-squirrel left us in stunned disbelief.

While humans as a race may claim superiority on this planet earth, the courageous act of devotion of the mother squirrel made us to believe it was no less inferior to humans.

After all, Mother Nature treats all its creations on equal terms.

Courtesy: ‘The Hindu’ Daily Newspaper

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