Farewell, I Think

Farewell, I Think…

I hate goodbyes but I think it’s time for one.

My squirrel of 3 years has stopped coming. It’s over many days now. Never has she been absent for so long since she frisked her way into our home & heart.

A small soul, capable of immensely human feelings, the little one spent the better part of her interaction with us while being addressed as Ganpat – a name my husband fondly christened her with. It was a case of mistaken identity. The boisterous `he’ was actually a firebrand `she’. We realized our error only in the past few months & quickly rechristened her as Ganpati to bring the feminine touch to her name.

Ganpati has always been a squirrel with intensely human emotions & choices. She was far above the mundane. She would sit motionless in attention as I chanted shlokas & mantras. She fondly ate the Prasadam & drank the Ganga water that I brought back my Mahakumbh trip. She brought me small throw-away flowers on days that turned out to be special occasions. She was choosy in her food, and lately, she developed a taste for pan-fresh chapattis & mango pieces.

Ganpati delighted us with her antics. Her sneaky habit of curling up on cushions when we were not looking; her habit of playing with flowers; her habit of flattening herself on her belly with 4 outstretched paws, while she heard us talk over morning tea; her cutest way of carelessly dozing in our balcony during afternoons; and most endearing – her absence of fear & doubt. I think love is defined by it – absence of fear & doubt. Last but not the least – the delight she brought us with 2 consecutive broods of youngsters, each little fellow as unique as her.

The first few days I kept wishing for her to come back soon & hoping she was alright. But yesterday, during my morning prayers, something inside me told me that she was gone. I couldn’t complete my prayers in that thought. Today again when I didn’t see her – I told my better-half that I was going to pull a random book & open a random page, and whatever is written there will answer my question. Ok, do it if it makes you feel better, he said.

And I did exactly that. The random verse on the random page of the random book, read thus: “The day I arrived from my holiday in Alaska, I sat down to pray & asked God: Does she have long to live? The answer came: No. it’s time to go home now. She has resolved her problems. Her body cannot cope & her spirit is waiting to be released. She has had a long journey & her life has served its purpose. She will be blessed when she goes.”

Whoever said the Universe doesn’t talk back to you?

The last few days before her absence, she did exhibit some strange behavior. She would simply come, catch my attention, and sit flat on her belly – motionless & staring at me. I have spent 10s of minutes at a single stretch – staring back at her, equally motionless wondering what she was trying to convey. It was as if she was trying to say something. She would get disturbed if I left & restlessly wait till I got back – and then go right back to her motionless staring.

I have to admit that it tested my patience & finally I just ignored her after a while. Then, she stopped coming. Today, I wish I could have just sat longer & allowed my thoughts to reach her.

Why is it that goodbyes are never perfect? Why is it that so many things are left unsaid & undone before the final rendezvous? Is it perhaps because we never expect to part ways?

As I stood in my balcony late morning with tears streaming down my face – a snow white feather floats down from somewhere above & precisely makes its way into my balcony through the fine grills. I have seen no bird that white, where I live. I pick up the feather. I know where it has come from – a parting gift from that little soul. Angelic on Earth, Angel in Heaven.

I have preserved the feather. For me, it’s symbolic of pure, unconditional love. For me, it’s an assurance that such love will always come my way.

Strange as my story may sound, soul-connect is beyond body or form. Love understands no barriers. If there are barriers, it cannot be love.

Farewell & God bless.

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