A squirrel runs up and down the tree

This morning I was speaking with my doddamma (my father’s elder brother’s wife) . I have very good memories of being with her during my school holidays. She is 86 now and is indoors most of the time. She was sitting by the dining table, drinking tea. From there she can see the branches of a mango tree just outside their house; they also have a lot of Bonsai plants in their verandah. There is a lot of greenery around. She enjoys looking at the plants and the flowers. I admire her positive approach to life. She believes in taking life as it comes. Faced with difficult circumstances, says she, we should try to make changes to improve our life at such times. Otherwise, we should try to do our best and leave the rest to God. She told me she loves to watch a squirrel run up and down the branches because it is “live”: it is something happening in front of her eyes.

When I heard her words many thoughts came to mind. Last week we had gone to Sringeri, a temple town. Devotees from different parts of our country come to the temple of Goddess Sharadamba.

Sringeri (7)

On the 27th we were in the temple complex the whole evening. It is situated by the banks of the River Tunga. We enjoyed watching the devotees: many were busy with their prayers, and others were sitting on the ground watching everything. Yet others were busy taking photos including selfies. But mobile phones and cameras are not allowed inside the ancient temples.

Sringeri (11)

The devotees were standing on one bank of the river offering prayers to the Gods, puffed rice to the large fish and watching the sun set.

Sringeri (15)

At the same time many white birds were flying back to their homes in a tree downstream. They were sitting on the various branches of the tree, like a white cap. Then suddenly, all of then flew up in all directions. I wonder why they did that. What disturbed them? We will never know.

Sringeri (21)

Sringeri (25)

Many ghastly things happen every day, all over the world. When we see them on the television or read about them in the newspapers, we feel sad and helpless. Unfortunately, it stops at that. But when such things happen close to home, we experience the hurt deep within us.

The tree in front of our house had shed its leaves when I returned home in the third week of January. But now fresh, green leaves have appeared, and the tree looks very beautiful. Life is coursing through its veins.


There is so much happening all around us: live action. Butterflies fly in pairs; birds fly from flower to flower; people are busy at work in their own worlds. We have to just stop, take a break, and watch Life live.

Sringeri (17)

“Setting Sun

The serene river

Sacred to its devotees

Birds flying home to the distant trees,

The gentle orange glow added to the serenity.”


6 Replies to “A squirrel runs up and down the tree”

  1. You write such clear and simple prose, a reader can imagine you talking to him/her personally narrating the scene. It’s a great gift. I thoroughly enjoyed this reflexive discourse. San Cassimally

  2. Especially in my nation now, it is easy to forget about the everyday loveliness all around us. I love watching the crows congregate in the late afternoon. I wonder how they know when to get together for the night and where to meet up.

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