In our school days at Patha Bhavana, Bhup Narayan Singh and Late Partha Kisku, both our classmates used to come to school with squirrels in their pocket. They would find a kid squirrel somewhere, take it to their home, feed it with milk, and the cute squirrel would travel along them to school in their pockets. At times they poked their nose out of the shirt, sometimes sat on their head looking curiously at their classmates. Naturally we were hugely amused. Squirrels definitely was the first living creature, beside mankind, which aroused huge amount of curiosity in me. At times my friends would pass the squirrel to me, and it was an incredible feeling when the tiny one moved inside the shirt clutching my body with its tiny nailed fingers. In short, right from our school days at Patha Bhavana we were very fond of these lovely creatures moving all around us.
I have never seen a squirrel in a contemplative mood. Dogs and birds (except perhaps the Weaver and Sun bird) our natural friends in school days, regularly used to shift to contemplative mood, in the afternoon time or atop a remote branch. That is to say dogs and birds did have their share of leisure time. But, squirrels were always up to something! I was pretty curious about this ‘something’ which made squirrels always restless. After even much observation, the perky squirrels remained quite a mystery for me.
After a full 4 decades with a zoom facility I started capturing snaps of squirrels off and on, resulting in a collection, which is being presented here. Now, I have little bit of idea about why squirrels are always restless. Much of this is probably due to squirrels being very fast sprinters is rapid short bursts, often just running atop a tree from the ground just in a whiff, jumping from one branch to another- which quickly depletes the energy level in the body; resulting in for an immediate need to re-fuel and the squirrels are often busy in search for food. The other reason being squirrels are generally very naughty folks, extremely playful between themselves. For example an interaction between two birds, lets say a male and a female, commonly is a lot of romantic tweeting between the two, or a nice early morning sunbath beside a bunch of flowers. Birds are generally speaking quite beauty conscious and takes plenty of care about their get up, and also like to perch on typical beauty spots. But for the squirrels the interaction between two is mostly a frenetically playful running around all over the place. Even a friendly bout between two squirrels appears to be a chaotic chase by one after another. So, naturally squirrels are always on the move, with very little leisure time.
The most intriguing part is what actually the squirrels feed on. We know they are extremely fond of seeds and nuts. But they are strictly not restricted to that menu. They are quite fond of nectar if they can gulp it down. They have a huge liking for moving around large assembly of flowers like Palash or Madhabi. They are never insect eaters like birds, hence I have no idea why squirrels poke their cute nose in bunches of Palash or Madhabi flowers. I tried to fathom the food habit of squirrels and found them to be fairly elaborate, as is apparent from the photographs.
To define the squirrels, we can justifiably observe that, this world and life is really a playing ground for them. They always appear to be in a sporting mood, and that is precisely what which makes them very attractive. It was a good sport for me to observe the squirrels a bit attentively, and I would like to enrich my experience more in future.
Duly amused, Shubhashis.