The Squirrel

Its been so long ago that I left the boarding that some names just do not retain in my memory. No, No, its not the age thing, its just that its ages ago OK. so there is this young boarder with a love for animals and happens that when a real tiny messy lump of flesh opened its eyes it saw him and cried Daddy.

So he had this squirrel peeping out of his pocket and crawling over him at whim. It really freaked me out. He acted like a daddy, feeding it and even made a small nest for it to snuggle in. Then one day the squirrel died. Man he was totally crestfallen. We had a burial in a small box and buried it near the big banyan tree near bhaiyawadi.

But lo and behold the next day when he went to pay homage, he found that the grave had been dug up and the coffin was absent. Meanwhile I was elsewhere and ventured into the refectory and was surprised to see a small group around a dining table. As I went near and peered over other I saw my first taxidermist. He was skinning the squirrel which had been so ceremoniously buried. I was aghast. But you know the rules.

Hold your tongue. I of course sympathized with the owner who was grieving. At the same time I have always wondered about the taxidermist. What is a boarding but a group of young (some very young) boys, living together not by choice, without father or mother, many living by their wits. But many lessons are early learnt.

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