Squirrels on the fence

My bus turned around another bend after whirring through several miles of dusty and pot-holed roads. I have always loved bus commutes — including the boating experience when the bus negotiates the numerous humps and bumps aplenty in our city — because they allow me space and time to reflect on my past experiences and visualise my future triumphs and provide opportunity to meet interesting people. That day was no different as alongside conscious day dreaming, I took in all that was happening around me, which made the entire journey interesting.

The bus now entered the depot. All the passengers alighted from the bus to pursue their respective chores for the day. Now, this bus depot is a large property, separated with a high compound wall from a drainage right on the other side. The wall had an additional metal fencing to make it inaccessible to undesirable elements, not excluding the stink from the almost stagnant drainage.

As I walked through the maze of bus lanes out of the depot, something caught my sight. A handful of squirrels were playing right on the fence of the wall, oblivious of the dirty surroundings and the people around, thoroughly enjoying their playtime. Time stood still and everything seemed frivolous as my eyes were glued to the sight of the little ones engrossed in their antics.

I have a special place in my heart for these delicate cuties with a furry body and a bushy tail, but that day their fun and games did more than amuse me. Being prone to learning something from everything that happens around me, I was quick to grasp what the universe was trying to tell me. The little ones totally lived in the present without bothering about the multitudes of people there. They didn’t feel conscious of who saw them and who not, which reminded me of how in our childhood we built houses in the sand with pride in our creations, not once thinking if we looked silly to others. The squirrels didn’t stop playing because the place was filthy. Instead they made the most of the place shunned by people to freely play about.

The squirrels were not free from danger, as apart from people, there were eagles, kites and even dogs in that vast space. But the fur balls didn’t seem to be sitting and bemoaning the fact that they lacked the hands that humans have, sharp claws of the preying birds or the teeth of the canines. They lived and enjoyed life just as they were.

Suddenly, it struck me that I, with all my God-given faculties, had failed to live as fully as I can. That instant, I learnt that I must celebrate my abilities, enjoy my opportunities and live my life as fruitfully as only I can choose to. Those adorable furry squirrels playing on the fence that day will stay on in my mind for as long as I live, for, small though they were, they taught me huge lessons on living.

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