It was a Tuesday night two weeks ago. I had turned the lights off and was off to bed when I heard some squeals and squeaks followed by a bang against my balcony door. My dad woke up and shouted from his room in the ground floor “What’s that? What happened?”

I switched the lights on, and opened the door of the balcony to find a squirrel trapped in some dry twigs and branches of the jasmine creeper that dons the iron grills of my balcony. Two birds that were perched on a live twig of the creeper flew to the other end of the balcony and maintained some distance from this human who often disturbs their peace at night.

The squirrel wasn’t amused to see me. He panicked and tried to jump around, but was bogged down to the floor by the infinitely tangled branches. I wondered if I should hold the squirrel and pull it out, but squirrels bite when they panic and a rodent bite is not something you want. I pulled out an old walking stick lying in the cupboard and tried helping him (the squirrel) gain his freedom. I was the young man with the stick, he was the oppressed, decked in grey, white and black, panicking, squeaking, protesting my foreign presence yet getting tangled more and more in the mesh of twigs.

I knew I had to do something, so I pulled out my camera and clicked a few pictures. The birds called out and trashed me for being ignorant towards their presence, so I clicked a couple pictures of them. One of them surely got scared by the lens on my camera and flew away. The other was still considering what it should do while I was thinking on what I should do next.

It was my duty towards nature, for I had not got rid of those twigs for a long time now. I tried a couple of things, but every now and then the squirrel would just freeze, eyes open, mouth wide open, his arms, legs, fingers – frozen. It was amusing. I wondered if little BiBi is playing possum so that it can Bam Bam Dear Mr.Bill when the time’s right. I looked up on Google, and yeah squirrels did play possum.

As the squirrel lay there in my balcony, frozen for the nth time, I got bored and shut the door. The birds too were now shouting “Simon, go back!” On the top of their voices. I went to bed knowing the squirrel would be gone for good by dawn.

When the son rose in the east the next morning, I woke up to a certain silence. No birds chirping, no squirrel squealing. “Must be gone” thought I. Rubbing my eyes with my right hand, I opened the balcony door with my left. The right eye saw darkness while the left saw a still frozen squirrel lying on the floor – eyes open, mouth wide open, arms, legs and fingers – frozen.

I choked on the inside. It was getting late, I had to rush to the office in another half an hour. I pulled out an old newspaper, pushed the squirrel on it with the help of the walking stick, took him out of my house, across the road and placed him on the vacant site. I did think of giving a proper burial to him, but the kites have to eat too!

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