Can a squirrel change your life , or do you think it is even possible ? The following is a narration of events that happened in my life , thought i would share it with you.The year was 2006 , The city of Dallas was buzzing with cars and trucks zipping through the 635 ( Circular Freeway) on a busy Thursday evening. It was a break time after a series of marathon meetings   and that was probably the only time I ever relished .It was around 6 in the evening (Dallas was blessed with bright sun light till 9:00 pm on the summer evenings)  I was staring at the barren open car park in the park that surrounded the R&D lab of Texas Instruments at TI Boulevard  from my corner cabin .

Some Honda and Toyota vehicles were parked around my black bull F-350 pick up truck ( I was probably the only odd Indian driving to office in a pick up truck ) denoting the usual crowd of Indian and Chinese sloggers who some how seems to love the office more than their homes and family, Seriously ,do they get such horrible food at home ? any way .  Looks like too many Indians and Chinese in Texas instruments R&D and Rayteon have changed the traditional american way of life to the Asian sweatshop culture . No it is not the Americans fault .

Nothing was going though my mind as i just wanted to spend time thinking of nothing during breaks , That’s not difficult as difficult as is sounds , or is it ? , No my friend it is the most difficult thing to do as thoughts keep bombarding your mind . It has been 2 full days since i have been back home for lunch ( I lived pretty near by and used to drive home for lunch every day)  .

TI was coming out with the next family of DSP Processors ( Digital Signal Processing) the trial production run has been completed successfully but the developer kits for those weren’t  ready yet. This would be biggest embarrassment for TI as a processor without out developers kit is as good as placebo show piece .This increased  pressure exponentially especially when you get work done through a global delivery model your working hours are as good as the working hours of both the time zones .

Things were going way above my head . How ever the mild notes of the Tamil song “New york nagarm urangum neram “ from “Sillunu oru kaadhal”  released that year was playing from my laptop which was soothing and ironically was very situational with its next line ” Naangu Kannadi Suravgalukulley Naalum Mezhuguvathiyo” ( Am i just a melting candle within four closed glass walls) . Little did i realize that my cheeks were wet from tears that had rolled down .

Nakamura who was an intern design engineer and a good friend of mine stopped by my cabin , peeped in with a  “Hey Sri , Joining me Smoke ?” as usual .( the missing “for a” needs to be assumed in her Japanese English)   She was an interesting person extremely brilliant and energetic .

I picked a Coffey and joined her for a smoke to the smoking area by the car park, We didn’t speak as things were running in our minds . Just a day before I  had a call from my mother’s cardiac doctor back in India. He said that she is suffering from a schemeic dilution of heart walls and her days are numbered , She might not survive beyond 4 years. I jut didn’t know how to react . Thoughts of excessive travel as part of my pre sales support ( On site) in addition to the current responsibilities , work pressure of the current engagement, thought of my wife staying lonely and bored back at home with a 3 year old kid and mother’s ailment were flashing back and forth in my mind . All I wanted was peace , Nothing else , is it really an ask of tall order ? or why me ?

As I was lighting my second cigarette ,I noticed a squirrel that was running around from one of the chestnut trees hardly a few meters away from where we stood.  American squirrels unlike their Indian counter parts are quite big built in fact some look like a small sized kangaroos , Hope it is not the junk paradises Mc Donalds or Burger king that had super sized them too. The squirrel was trying trying to break open a walnut that it had found by banging it on the kerb wall at the parking lot , No , the nut wouldn’t break . It climbs up the tree , goes to the highest branch and drops it ,  No , it still wouldn’t break . The squirrel was determined not to give up , It then picked the nut and placed it under the Tyre of a car, the biggest one there , but unfortunately it was my ford F350 pick up truck and i was not scheduled to leave for the next few hours .

Temporarily I had forgotten all my worries watching this amusing squirrel and for reasons unknown  a sense of strange happiness filled me . The squirrel waited for some more time , No, the vehicle still wouldn’t move , It just gave it up and turned back , It found another nut . This time the squirrel broke open the nut with his hands and legs itself . Some thing happened , I felt a  sense of shameful guilt in me .

It took just a few minutes for an animal to teach me priorities in life ,On one had I was so naive that i assumed my existing job that provided me dollars and a great lifestyle at most developed the power center of the world  to be the highest priority and was blindfolded to even think or look at alternatives , But a humble squirrel had though me that nothing is too important or too trivial in life .   Every thing needs to be given its due attention with the utmost sincere effort and without emotions , If it doesn’t pay as expected just change it without any emotions , An alternate nut for the squirrel became and alternate career to me ,

Yes, Life changed , I came back to India for good. Chose a career without much of a pressure , a career that gave me ample time to spend with family and with an ailing mother at the same time paid me descent enough to sustain a better lifestyle. After all It was my last token of gratitude to a noble soul who gave me life, flesh and blood and made me what i am today . Yes though life in India is a plethora of compromises i still feel that my decision has been justified and am happy that i got my priories right , Thank you little squirrel , oops i failed to ask your name , or did you even have one ?

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