Squish & I
It is not often that I share something that is very personal, except with a select few. I am, by and large a private person and Dhun and I guard our privacy fiercely sometimes. So why I choose to write this on my blog, at this moment is baffling to me.
Squish. It is what I wanted to do to him every time I saw him. I met Squish under circumstances that were far from delightful. A squirrel’s distress call saw Dhun and I bounding into the garden (led by the fearless Brownz, of course). My eyes hurriedly scanned the outlines of trees and the undergrowth- so fast that the lines were all hazy. Any movement? Dhun’s gaze fell upon a pot of water, full to the brim. I saw him dash towards it and stick his hand in, before I could comprehend what was happening. On the palm of his hand, limp and soaked, a ball of grey- a baby squirrel. The second or two that passed before it’s chest rose seemed like an eternity. Relief. The coming moments saw us scurrying around like rodents, trying to get this miniscule thing comfortable. I snatched it almost greedily from Dhun’s hand (mine!) and made my way to my room. Though he had a rather spacious Nokia box to himself, in the fold of my oversized t-shirt or in my palm, is where he stayed. Indeed, it’s where he stayed for the rest of his time with me.
Now, I’m not one of those women who do it all and do it all effortlessly with a serene smile and has everyone wondering “how?!” No. That, was my mother. Me? I was struggling with three rescued animals while deadlines tightened on me like a vise. My mornings saw me roll out of bed and reach for a basket. In a daze I reached for formula and cat food. With a toothbrush dangling from my mouth I tried to figure out what I should be doing… even though I did the same thing everyday. My ‘morning’ tea got cold till I gripped the mug at 12:00pm.
Soon the sleepy face smiled. Almost involuntarily. I had just peered into a basket and found a ball of fur curled up in its depths. Again, Squish. I hungrily took the moment in, for it lasted only a fraction. Even my finger dwarfed him. Sleep now broken, two beady eyes stared at me. There wasn’t a moments calm until Squish decided to snooze once more. He clung to my finger and hoped on, waiting to be transported to my work-table where the Mac dwarfed him some more. My Rotrings and Post-its were now in the company of milk, droppers, syringes, rags and grapes. He was stuck to the 2cc syringe much like a magnet and drank till his belly protruded. He wiped his face mostly on my keyboard and flopped on the mouse. I never got over it. I squeeked and squealed, every bloody time.
Until the next time Squishu got hungry, he was in my hair, or in my pocket or in my t-shirt or on my shoulder. We did everything together. Correction- I actually ‘did’, while he slept. While I made plans to rehabilitate him, he only dug deeper into my bun. Inwardly, I gloated at that fact that he was mine. I was also a little worried he wouldn’t leave.
Leave he did. Perhaps, not the way that I had imagined. Squish got sick. He stopped eating. Dhun and I tried everything. We called every Vet we knew and called on past experience as well. Squish and I still stayed together all day… only his time with me grew since he didn’t eat much. Helplessness can be a humbling experience. Distraught at the deteriorating situation, I found comfort in him and he in me. I truly believed he’d be fine and stubbornly dreamt on of rehabilitating him.
The already fragile being grew weak. He could barely stand and the scamper that was once so endearing, was reduced to a lethargic gait. It was painful to watch. Despite how weak he was he propped himself up on me and cleaned himself, as if to make me smile.
Yesterday he insisted on being left on the table. He ritualistically waddled across my keyboard and sat limp. I took him in my hands and we sat as we always did. Dhun and I huddled over a gasping Squish. He went, as he came- in my hands. Always in my hands. He was so small. How can something so small have such a big impact on me?
Today morning I rolled out of bed and reached for a basket, but there was none. I sat at my table alone. I typed with two hands and didn’t enjoy it. My hair didn’t have a life of its own. Every whatsapp window, every SMS and the gallery are full of stories and images of a tiny grey ball. My keyboard has stains that I’m not very keen on getting rid of. Amidst the void I realize I ‘lived’ more in the last month and a half with Squish, than I did in the past year. Every gloomy or nasty thought was exposed and washed away when two beady eyes looked at me. He continually dragged me back to living in the moment. My hands feel very empty, but I am not. Is it only in death that we remember to really live?
Love you Squishy.
P.S. The past few days have been trying to say the least. I often felt unaided when I rescued animals, only to feel sheepish when I saw the number of people who propped me up. Dhun, Jantu, Dhaara, Puppy (Colaco), Nana-Nani, Nilu-Vispi, Mel-Harmon, Jubb, Somu, Suddu, Meg, Peem, Baba (Rutvik) …and anyone and everyone who was at the receiving end of a barrage of pictures and stories- For all the love and propping me up. I am truly grateful.