Shanu is a hero. He doesn’t care for anything when he rides. He’s like those crazy knights of King Arthur.

But, this wasn’t your mundane travel, when you see three puppies trying to eat a baby squirrel, you react. Unless, you are not a human being. My son did what I would have done. Actually, I would have gone a bit easy on the cycle, but as it wasn’t his money, he jumped off like a south Indian hero and smashed the cycle in a wall (Cost: 300).

He came walking home. With a cute little baby squirrel, which my daughter immediately adopted as her honorary sister. She named her Chilchil. Unfortunately, Chilchil was a male, but we always treated him as a female for a time, so that she won’t get angry. My daughter, Shree obstinately refused to address it as a He.

We have a weird home. My kids remind me of my old home in Mazagaon, which was a veritable zoo.

Chilchil was very comfortable amongst these monster canines. He used to jump around them, with they snapping their ugly teeth at his fleeting ankles…

He had a small fan following of little kids and a monster sister, who ensured that no one can disturb him. Who will argue with my love?

Initially, Chilchil used an eye dropper to feed. My daughter hovering and clucking like mother hen. Even I used to get exasperated! Then it started to nibble and eat. Now the trouble arose! I found my favorite pen chewed. I called the handler. I tried to scream, but her pretty face cooled me down. Her icy reply deserved an Oscar!”I don’t know.”

that’s it.

Chilchil ate anything it could find.

Chilchil owned the entire home. We have a 1500sqft ground floor home, which has three doors. One runs to a lawn and the main gate faces a jungle, which is beyond a wall. For Chilchil, it was the same. I have a great experience with the fauna. They don’t care about the size of your home. All they care is, the size of your heart.

He used to eat from our plates. It was impossible to have any dish, without Chilchil gnawing at it. He ran on my TV, the dressing table… Hell! He ran on me! When I was sleeping!

We had a plastic basket for him. When he was a teenager (2 months), he used to go out all day and always was back at nights. Whenever he used to stray, for long, Shree used to walk out, piping in her cute childish voice….

“Chilchil, Chilchil.”

…and he infallibly used to jump in her lap or head.

Rajni, my wife decided her annual visit to Bhagalpur in April 2015. I was the brains. I planned everything about Chilchil. I told her to not to worry.

She went.

I worked nights. I was sleeping days. The house was silent as a morgue. May be, Chilchil came in the cavern of my home. May be he didn’t find anyone familiar!

When we all arrived at our home after a visit to Bhagalpur and Benaras, Shree had one question. “Papa, is Chilchil sleeping in his basket?” I didn’t have any answer.

It was 2 am when we reached home. She ran happily inside, screaming, “Chilchil, Chilchil…”

“Papa, where’s Chilchil? ”

I was busy unpacking. My restless daughter initially ran around the entire home, lawn, foreyard and also till the wall to the jungle, then slapped me. She cried. I hugged her tight. She kicked me and howled. She hated her father. She hated me.

I? I hated God. For playing such an ugly joke with such a small kid!

Yesterday she saw a squirrel running on the boundary wall of the jungle before my main gate. She screamed happily!

“Papa! Look, Chilchil!”

I smiled and wished all the happiness I can collect at that moment. I wanted my ward to happy!

Godspeed, Chilchil!