Sunday, August 24, 2014




Having a big garden with trees means having to put up with lots of Squirrels running around with their high pitched staccato chirping : up the trees, effortlessly jumping from one branch to another, nibbling at and shaking down ripe fruit of the cashew tree in our front lawn. Our Guava tree till date has never yielded virgin fruit untasted by these little beasts. They create greater havoc when by chance they come inside our home, and cannot find their way out. When trapped thus in an alien environment, in mortal fear and adrenaline pumping they end up chewing the cloth and bamboo curtains, the teakwood frame of the window shutters, desperately trying to burrow out of their prison cell.
Naughty Bumbilli playing with her favorite stuffed toy, without tearing them

Bumbilli is our female Labarador who came to us two years ago as a pup barely two weeks old, the last of a litter of eight. Over time, she became the darling of the family, feisty and mischievous, always up to some prank : picking up socks, slippers, shoes left unguarded and dashing around the dining table, sliding, skidding and weaving out of reach of human arms trying to capture the little canine cannonball. The chase given up and over, Bumbilli would take shelter, hiding behind the curtains, puffing and panting, savouring her victory, the trophy lying in front of her outstretched paws.

                                                       She has really big strong paws
And in the garden, on hearing the shout of “cat” or “squirrel”, Bumbilli would go dashing about, sniffing around, darting into the shrubbery, chasing the invisible intruder until asked to stop and come back for her reward of a biscuit. For all that, Bumbili was extremely strong willed and had a mind of her own. The Police dog trainer whom we engaged to train and discipline Bumbili gave up the ghost after two months of futile exertion at his task.


                                            Don't get fooled by his innocent looks
                        He is doing everything that Bumbilli used to do before he came to us
Loki, the third player in this cameo is our daughter’s Labarador from Bombay. Puja, when she shifted to London thought it best to leave Loki in our care in Bangalore overriding all my misgivings, vocal protests and strongest of objections. With my husband’s secret goading, Puja persisted until I had to acquiesce to her plans. True to his name, Loki was mischief incarnate and master of the art, and Bumbilli proved to be a willing pupil. The usually feisty Bumbilli became more circumspect, mature and accommodating and would readily give in to Loki’s tantrums and treat him like the spoilt child. When thrown a ball, she would graciously let Loki go after it and not compete. During meal and snack times, she would watch Loki’s bowl get filled first and patiently wait for her turn. Loki certainly was an influence in making Bumbilli a more mature and dignified being.


Yesterday a squirrel sneaked into our living room through the sliding door left open for cleaning by Bahadur our absent minded watch cum handyman. In the living room not able to find its way out, the forlorn creature was moving helter skelter, crying and screeching. Unlike normal squirrels, this specimen was not as agile and fleet of foot, nor had it the acumen or energy to climb up the curtains.

Bumbilli and Loki hanging around near our kitchen

Bumbili and Loki who were lounging around in the kitchen watching our maid Mary doing the dishes, sensed the intruder in the home and promptly sprang into action. The fun of the chase got to their head and there was excitement all around. A huge commotion followed with Mary and Bahadur shouting and chasing after the dogs, trying to save the poor cornered squirrel from what they thought would be merciless slaughter.
After giving the dogs a good run around in the living room running behind the curtains the squirrel now christened Anila, (by my hubby) broke cover and slipped into the bathroom. Cornered, Anila tried in vain to scale up the slippery tiled wall and reach for the window through which she could escape the clutches of the motley mob of dogs and humans baying for its blood.

While the Squirrel was being chased by Maid and Bahadur, these two took a short break to discuss, as to,who is to take the lead: looks like Bumbilli is the leader here.

Anila was quite huge and plump unlike squirrels we have seen which are usually pretty slim and agile. And like the apocryphal spider of King Bruce, she kept trying and falling over herself after every attempt.
Bumbilli was the first to reach the bathroom.

She stood transfixed, watching in fascination as poor Anila scrambled to save her life. Then slowly, silently Bumbili moved towards Anila who had fallen and was lying down exhausted. Bumbili picked Anila up gently in between her jaws, and with the tenderness of a mother taking care of her baby, took her out of the house, into the open lawn and beyond into the shrubbery. There she carefully deposited Anila and let her go free, away from the attentions of Loki and others. Without a second thought, Anila fled the scene.
                               Our Beautiful, Hero Bumbilli, watching Anila run away
Here we all feared, thinking that Bumbillli might kill Anila and eat it, but she didn't do that. I think she sensed that Anila was pregnant, and that is why she was so gentle with it, clutching her very cleverly in her mouth without hurting her, and taking her gently to our garden and setting her free. We were so proud of our Bumbili for her exceptionally humane and compassionate act.

Animals are so sensitive, so much wiser than us. Bumblli became a hero in our eyes. She was cuddled and pampered, she was repeatedly told that she was a very good girl, she was a hero, a beautiful, lovely hero of our family etc. etc. She really lapped up all the praise and attention showered on her. Meanwhile Mr. Loki was a silent bystander looking thoroughly puzzled as to why Bumblli was getting all the attention and love. What did I do wrong, he seemed to say.
                                                 No need to feel so sad Mr. Loki

                                                 We love you too, Laddo Boy
 He is at peace for he knows he is loved very much by all of us, and in his mind he firmly believes, that he deserves to be loved more than Bumbilli.

Well, Loki too had to have his share of pampering and loving, so we pampered him, told him he was a very good boy, very handsome boy etc. etc. Then both our babies were happy or should I say all of us including Anila the expectant mother squirrel.

      Both are back to their antics: chasing each other, fighting for the ball.