Remembering Chiku, our squirrel child

This poem’s been inspired by real events and has been written to make children understand the power of compassion towards animals. It is meant to encourage them to love them.

I heard the crows scream out quite loud
And ran outside to see,
There lay on the grass in our Mumbai backyard
Tiny balls of three!

It was early hours, we were barely awake
But the cries were loud so we rushed off our beds

Shriya, my ward, just all of four, was passionate like a bee
She raced the steps with all her might
To shoo the crows away,
And while they tried to attack her too
She braced herself and stayed.

I threw her a towel from our third floor flat
And asked her to cover them up.
We thought they’d be but small bird chicks,
That fell from the trees above.

Shriya went close and stood quite still,
Surprised at what she saw.
Three tiny squirrel heads with their fluffy tails,
All wrapped up in a ball!

I gently bend down to pick them up
While Ira my eldest, grabbed a cardboard box.
She knew the drill, just all at six,
On how to rescue and love

Gently we picked up all the three,
Only one but stirred to my touch…
And carried them inside to a safe place
While the crows kept circling us.

We got some water in a dipper
And tried to feed them some,
Only one responded with quick gulps,
While the other two stayed quite numb.

The girls cried when they thought the worst
Saying it was their fault!!
“It must’ve been the crows,” they said
Although I think it was the fall.

The next job was to find a vet,
But alas, that was not easy at all!
It was rare to have wild squirrels as pets
And most thought we were nuts.

Some random calls and net searches down
We were on a taxi rushing to town
Waiting outside the vet’s office,
With the babies we had found.

The girls had squashed some fruits at home
The brown chiku fruit being but one,

The tiniest one kept nibbling in the box
While the nurse asked for his naam

Chiku, the girls yelped out together
Still all teary eyed,
While the nurse looked closely at the other two
And declared that they had died.

Well, Chiku survived and was fit and fine,
He made his house in our curtains and drying line
Turned out to be our cheeky boy,
Stealing Maggi Masala and sips of wine.

Playful Chiku, the apple of our eye
Was a perfect companion, but people shy!
He loved us back with all his heart,
Proving that God’s not made us animals apart.

Shriya feeding Maggi to Chiku

Smita is a multi-cultural freelance journalist, writer, and filmmaker based out of the US, London, Hong Kong, and India. Global Indian Stories is her brain-child. Created to chronicle diaspora stories written by Indians of all age groups, from different walks of life across the globe, Smita makes sure that the platform remains inclusive and positive.