MAHADEVI VERMA (1907-1987) was a leading poetess of the Chayavadi School of poetry in Hindi. She was also a well-known storywriter and editor of the famous Hindi weekly “Chand”. Some of her important works include Deep Shikha; Yama, Nihar (Poetry) Shrinkhla ki Kadiyan, Mera Pariwar. She was the receipient of Mangla Prasad Prize, Bharat Bharti Award and the Jnanpith Award along with Padma Bhushan. She was elected Fellow of the Sahitya Akademy.
Unexpectedly, one morning, when I entered the verandah from the room, I saw two crows playfully poking their beaks at the flowerpots, as if engaged in the game of hide and seek.
Suddenly, my assiduous critique of this mythical tale of the crow was intercepted by my gaze that fell on this tiny being, lying hidden in the gap at the junction of the pot with the wall. Moving closer, I saw that it was a tiny baby squirrel that must have accidentally fallen down from a nest and was now being considered by the crows to be an easy prey. Having sustained two wounds due to the assault by the pair of crows was enough for this tiny being and he was now motionless, clinging to the pot.
Everyone remarked that as he would not survive after having been so assaulted by the crows, he be left alone. But, my mind refused to accede to their views, and therefore, I gently lifted him up and brought him to my room, and after wiping the blood from his wounds with cotton wool, applied Penicillin ointment.
I tried to feed him by somehow putting a thin cotton wool wick, dipped in milk to his mouth, but he was unable to open his mouth and the drops of milk only slid down from both sides. Only after several hours of tending could I manage to pour one drop of water in his mouth. But, on the third day he became so much better and assured that he would use his two tiny claws to hold my finger and gaze all around with his blue, glass-beads-like eyes. And in three-four months, he astonished everyone with his smooth fur, bushy tail and naughty, refulgent eyes.
A transformation from common to proper noun followed and we started calling him, Gillu! I hung a light-weight flower basket lined with cotton wool on the window with the help of a wire. For two years, this was Gillu’s abode. All were pleasantly astonished at his antics and intellect.
When I would sit down to write, he would be seized by such an acute desire to attract my attention that he devised a novel way of doing it. He would venture close to my feet, go swiftly up the curtains and descend with the same breakneck speed. This sequence would continue till the time I got up to catch him. On some occasions, I used to hold
Gillu and put his tiny body in a long envelope. Sometimes, he would continue to stand on the table leaning against the wall in such an amazing condition for hours, and watch my activities with his radiant eyes.
When hungry, he would inform me by twittering ‘chik-chik, and after having received some biscuits or Kaju. I wondered with the twittering of chik-chik, what transpired between him and the other squirrels that were often spotted near the wire-meshed window! Seeing Gillu sitting near the window and affectionately peering at the world outside, made me realise that it was necessary to set him free.
By removing some nails, I made a small opening in a corner of the wire-mesh and, on being able to go out from this opening Gillu was thrilled to be liberated.
Due to my important papers and letters, my room used to remain locked in my absence. The moment the room was opened on my return from college and I stepped in, Gillu would rush on to me and climb up and down from my head to toe. Since then, this had become a regular practice. On my leaving the room, Gillu would also make an exit through the wire-mesh opening of the window. He would spend the whole day with his lot, jumping and prancing up and down the branches.
I have several pet animals and birds and all of them are quite fond of me, but I don’t remember any of them daring to eat from my plate.
Gillu was an exception. The moment I would reach the dining room, he would emerge from the window, cross over the courtyard wall and the verandah, reach the table and would want to sit in my plate. With great difficulty, I taught him to sit close to my plate. His
favourite food was Kaju and when not available for several days, he would refuse other food items and threw them down from the swing.
Around that time, being injured in a motor car accident, I had to spend some days in the hospital. Those days, whenever my room was opened, Gillu would rush down from his swing, but on seeing somebody else, he would, with the same alacrity, scuttle back to sit in his nest. Everyone would offer him Kaju, but when I cleaned up his swing on my return from the hospital, I discovered it was full of Kaju, which only showed how little he was eating his favourite food those days! During the course of my indisposition, he would sit near my head on my pillow and gently stroke my forehead and hair, and his moving away was like the going away of a nurse or attendant!
When I used to work during summer afternoons, Gillu would abstain from going outside or sitting in his swing. To keep himself close to me and also to tackle the summer heat, he had discovered a totally new method. He would lie prostrate on the surahi kept near me and thus remain cool and also close to me!
Squirrels have a life span of barely two years; as such, Gillu’s lease of life finally came to an end. For the whole day, he neither ate nor ventured out. In the night, even with the pain of going away, he came to my bed from the swing, and clutched the same finger with his icy claws, which he had clung to, in his near death-like state during his natal days.
The claws were getting so cold that I switched on the heater and tried to give him some warmth. But, as the first ray of the morning touched him, he departed.
His swing was taken off the hook and the opening made in the wire-mesh window was closed.
Gillu was put to eternal rest under the Sonjuhi creeper-both, because he loved this creeper most and also because of the satisfaction I derive from my belief that some spring day I will find him flowering and blossoming in the guise of a tiny yellow Juhi flower!”
PANORAMA ENGLISH BOOK PART 2 CLASS 10 PROSE
Chapter 1 The Pace for Living
Chapter 2 Me and The Ecology Bit
Chapter 3 Gillu
Chapter 4 What is Wrong with Indian Film
Chapter 5 Acceptance Speech
Chapter 6 Once Upon A Time
Chapter 7 The Unity of Indian Culture
Chapter 8 Little Girl Wiser Than Man
PANORAMA ENGLISH BOOK PART 2 CLASS 10 POETRY
Chapter 1 God Made The Country
Chapter 2 Ode On Solitude
Chapter 3 Polythene Bag
Chapter 4 Thinner Than a Crescent
Chapter 5 The Empty Heart
Chapter 6 Koel (The Black Cuckoo)
Chapter 7 The Sleeping Porter
Chapter 8 Martha
PANORAMA ENGLISH READER PART 2 CLASS 10TH SOLUTIONS BIHAR BOARD
Chapter 1 January Night
Chapter 2 Allergy
Chapter 3 The Bet
Chapter 4 Quality
Chapter 5 Sun and Moon
Chapter 6 Two Horizons
Chapter 7 Love Defiled
BIHAR BOARD CLASS 10TH ENGLISH WRITING
Unseen Passage for Comprehension Literary
Unseen Passage for Comprehension Factual
BIHAR BOARD CLASS 10TH ENGLISH GRAMMAR
Active and Passive Voice
Narration Direct and Indirect Speech
Idioms and Phrases