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Friday, May 18, 2007

Squirrelly (adj.)

A one-word definition for this word on Merriam-Webster Online: nutty. How simple is that. Nutty. What do we mean by "nutty"? Well, not a) having or producing nuts, or b) having a flavor like that of nuts, but c) eccentric, silly; also : mentally unbalanced. How strange the first two meanings are. Or perhaps that's because I would never use nutty in that sense. I mean honestly, "That's a nutty tree." Or even "Oh my God. You taste so...nutty." Like that's ever going to happen, eh?

As usual, and I apologize profusely to my readers for digressing and taking a while to get back to the topic (rest assured I am working on maintaining focus...seriously), I seem to have briefly, if at least only initially, lost the plot. But what is the plot? And what is the meaning of life? Well, I may not be much of an expert on that second question, but the first one has to do with a visitor to my uncle's place in Chennai.

But who is this visitor? A series of pictures to follow, but not before I give you a brief insight into the mind of a Malayalee. Isn't that always the case? But if you're with me thus far, you better not be complaining because you're doing the whole I'm-a-closet-fan-of-this-blog kind of thing. That's not cool. But whatever floats your boat.

Again, who is this visitor? Why, let me show you.

This picture may not be clear, or perhaps it's just a case of good camouflage. For those of you still going, "Huh?", it's a squirrel about to partake of a coconut feast. The coconut, one half of it anyway, has already been scraped out for some delectable Malayalee dish or the other (We are the coconut people!), and whatever we couldn't get to found it's way up on this feeding platform. Well, it's not really a platform, but it serves the purposes and the squirrels seem to be encouraging us to do this.

But what a wonderful example of man and nature coexisting, right? We find that the squirrels are willing to help us deal with the wastage of some kinds of foods, and they in turn provide us entertainment and some sense of relief, as we sigh deeply to indicate some sort of satisfaction at observing a smaller, rather adorable life form surrying about and being itself. And where does this relief come from? Is it because we feel like we've done a good deed? You know, feed a critter today and walk hand in hand with Mother Nature tomorrow? Or is it because we feel we're somehow giving back to life what we've been so graciously given? Perhaps it's one or the other. Perhaps it's a little of both. But in this world, we're sure to find those of us who do this genuinely, those of us who do this out of some sense of spiritual or ecological/environmental fulfillment, and those of us who hide in the shadows with devices to capture and/or kill because it's a bit of a sport. Or maybe, like my cousin Aditya who took this picture and the ones to follow, it's just a sort of visual reminder of that one time when we managed to see a squirrel up-close-and-personal like, and happened to have a camera handy. To each of us our own...

And that's just one of things that happens on a daily basis at my uncle's house in Chennai. And similar things happen at similar houses, of uncles and aunts and brothers and sisters, and all manner of relatives, with all sorts of pets and's like a great big circle of life. Or at the very least, it's a circle of similar nature-related experiences. Some people feed stray cats and dogs, others feed the crows, still others feed fish...or use parts of well-fed fish to feed great white sharks so that as they lunge at the bait held tantalizingly just out of reach, their gaping, razor-lined jaws are captured on film, soon to wow audiences several hundreds of miles away. But no great whites in my uncle's house. No, that would just be way too naturally bizarre.

And how about a profile shot of the squirelly-wuirellys? Well, first one...

Then another one.

Man and beast, although this little guy is hardly worth that sort of nomenclature, living in harmony. And in nature? Well, maybe we'll let the gods puzzle over that whole mess. It's just another example of life as it interacts with itself, lords over itself perhaps, and ensures that in a most simple manner, ultimately, it too it has...and like it probably always will.

So, squirrelly? In a word, me. Feeling squirrelly indeed. Nucking futs, even. And for those of you who don't get it, please switch the first letters of both those words. One little squirrel. One long-ass post. And one helluva way to say that the mind is trying to make sense of the world that it perceives around it but cannot deal with. Or maybe it can, and it's really just playing a joke on poor ol' me to amuse itself...or to amuse me? Perhaps this blog is nutty; if I keep this up I'll be the perfect candidate for c)...also: mentally unbalanced. (Laughs silently to himself).
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