In my kitchen window, surfaced a small head with two tiny ears and a smelling nose. Even without an eye lid and with no expression on its face it stares at my face expectantly. Feeling frightened disappears and again peeps in. By this time I am ready with a nut in my hand. If it still hesitates then I call it lovingly and trying to make noise like they do. It remembers my voice or may be the tone. It get attracted and comes back to the nut. While giving nuts I cannot put another hand make it so scared and run away from there not to come back for a long time. So I had to keep the nut in my inner palm and while offering it I touch its head with fore finger. For few strokes it allows me, and then it gets impatient and withdraws from there if I don’t offer the nut.
I am telling about those few squirrels coming to my window daily. They have a food preference. Nuts over fruits and never take rotis once they knew I will give them their tasty food. Sometimes my kids also try their hand. They don’t mind until they get food. Some time new young ones bite my figure not exactly knowing the difference and also in their hurry to disappear from there. Some bold ones even step in to my kitchen looking for me often.
Anybody if intend could catch them easily but don’t they know the risk? Obviously they may not even trust me. But the hungriness in their stomach makes them to take all the risk.
Hungry is one such thing which makes living beings to do all things which otherwise they would not have done.
Other day we had been to Yamuna bank to immerse our Ganesh idol during Ganesha festival. Of course we had ordered for a raw mud Ganesha without much paint and with little organic decoration so that we need not to pollute the river. Yamuna River was looking extremely polluted with lot of chemicals foam filling it completely and with all dirt and wastes flowing. Stepping in to the river was not thinkable and even going in to the river for immersing Ganesha. The flow of the river was also quite strong. Muddy water from rains during these days had made the river very dirty. Dirt and waste was found depositing on to the banks and there was a stinking smell. Few fisher men were rowing in the boats in the distance. A group of men were gathering there for doing last rite to some relative who died few days ago. They were arranging a gas stove to cook rice to offer in the puja.
A little child was standing in the water below down the steps in the dirty water not at all bothering about the unhygienic situation or the depth of water or the flood that may surface suddenly. The child was dipping again and again in to the water to fetch something. Few young boys were washing the steps for the devotees who wanted to make puja with the dirty water pushing the waste in to the river again. One young boy approached us. As usual, he asked whether we like to take his help to immerse Ganesha in to the river. Certainly we did. When asked how much money he would take, he replied as much as we wish to pay.
He took the thali /Plate in which we kept the Ganesha in the raw rice bed and swim carefully slowly in to the river. We got scared to see how he was going deep in to the river and motioned not to go further. But he did not bother much and was doing his duty. He dipped in to the river and disappeared to our horror and surfaced in a while. After dipping his head three times he disappeared fourth time completely. We were so scared and did not know what to do. All people were watching. And after few minutes which felt like eternity he appeared nearer to the bank after swimming through deep in the river. Somebody was telling he could be collecting coins that fell in to the river. We took a breath of relief. I was thinking he could have lost my brass thali in the river while doing the exercise but surprisingly he was still holding the thali and returned it back to us. He accepted the hundred rupees note gratefully and shivering in the wind went towards another devotee who wanted to immerse their idol.
By this time the small child in the river had come out and approaching us. It was a girl of around ten years! As a try it asked for some paise and we paid some money. On enquiring what she was doing there, she replied that she was searching for the coins that were thrown by devotees in to the Yamuna from the steps above. She also told that the sometimes she also picks up rice thrown by devotees. We left the river bank quite saddened for leaving our Ganesh into the river..
While returning home, I was thinking what all mean things, risky jobs people do to fill this hungry ‘papi’ stomach!
We should be grateful for being born in a family which made us to live in a comfortable zone and also earning for our living is not really a do or die situation really.