The Squirrel And I


Are you an optimist? Do you have a positive attitude towards life? Well I do, most of the time. In fact I am not only an optimist but an idealist too. I don’t say this with pride. No. An optimistic idealist is a crazy thing to be. I have always been the victim of my own optimism. I like to believe that people are not bad or cruel or evil but circumstances force them to do evil deeds and to behave badly.

I had such a terrible experience the other day. One thing led to another and towards the end it became too much even for me to take. At the end of the day I sat down and thought if I were to count the number of times I was disappointed on that day, from the time I was up till the time I went to sleep, if I were to mark a tally for each instance, I would need more than a few post-its to complete the task.

For the past three months now we have been having a really bad time with our landlady. We have been in the same house for eight years. Our previous landlord was such a good hearted person, respectful of our needs for peace and quiet, it was as if we were part of his family. It all changed when he moved out in May and the new tenants moved in.

Sometimes I even think that the only reason she rented out the apartment below was to give us trouble. For they are not home most nights and when they are, the music, the shouting, screaming, yelling, swearing, cursing and crying and banging on the walls keeps us awake. After what she made us go through I have started to believe that there really are bad people around. And the reason they exist is to make life unbearable to others, to us.

The night before last Sunday had been another sleepless night. I was in my car waiting for my kids. I was lost in my thoughts, trying to figure out the meaning of all of this, thinking how we can get away from the situation before any harm came to my family.

I noticed a squirrel on the hood of my car. It walked across from the right side and came and stopped right in front of me and stared at me. At first I was startled. The way it was looking at me was beyond anything I had experienced before. It kept staring at me as if trying to tell me something. And the sight of it right there facing me was so beautiful that some passers by stood for a moment to watch. We sat looking at each other there for some time before it walked away. And I smiled.

“Finish each day and be done with it. You have done what you could. Some blunders and absurdities no doubt crept in; forget them as soon as you can. Tomorrow is a new day. You shall begin it serenely and with too high a spirit to be encumbered with your old nonsense.” Ralph Waldo Emerson

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