“Who is that a guy in a squirrel mask” . “Why is he sitting onthe bench all stuffed up with that Squirrel costume? “, was heard from right behind me. I ignored, thinking, it’s just kids playing around. A few more minutes and another kid excited about the costume joined the league of onlookers saying, “hey! look mom, he is feeding squirrels in that fancy dress”. Curious, I tilted my head to the back, and adjusted my spectacles to focus on the strange guy sitting at a distance. He was sitting on the bench adjacent to the big gulmohar tree, which housed numerous cute little Squirrels and at that moment they were all over him, running, jumping, playing hide and seek and eating grains from his hands without any hesitation or fear. Viewing him from a distance was such a treat to my eyes.

That moment it struck me how he must be feeling. I thought about the face of the guy inside the mask, his face remained a mystery but all I could imagine was a gracious smile. Reminiscent of the inner joy of my own childhood, by being so close to nature, made me wish to go and talk to him. But he seemed occupied with the Squirrels, so I took my glance back to the newspaper which I was holding in my hands out of habit. Then there was news of Jitsu gili’s arrival to our city, every other person was talking about it, which made me very excited. I was overjoyed about the news of arrival of my favorite star and somewhat for the blessful sight of the masked guy. just like me all the people passing by this side of the park, were enjoying the scene. After a few seconds got up from the cold iron bench to head back to my home . Next day, as usual, I completed a round of jog around the park and then came to sit on the same bench which was luckily lying empty, as if only for me. I turned my head towards the direction of that gulmohar tree, to look for the masked guy, it was quite surprising to find him sitting there again. He was still zipped in his costume feeding a handfull of bajra grains to the little ones.

My curiosity in this guy increased with every passing day. Next morning, as I started on foot from my home to reach the park, I finally decided to approach this person. I completed my jog and waited for the Squirrels to make those happy noises, they make when they welcome their feeder.

That day he did not come to the park. Like this, almost 3 more days passed, I waited there in hopes of meeting him and talking to him, but he did not come. Eventually I forgot about him and returned back to my ruotine of reading newspapers. To my dismay news headlines read Jitsu gili has been admitted to a hospital. My day passed in visiting church and listening to jitsu gili’s old tracks.

After a week, chilled air started blowing announcing the forthcoming winter season. I completed my Jog and sat on the bench placed under that very gulmohar. I rolled open the weekly telegram, which was a diffrent publication than what I usually read. Here the first news I read was of Jitsu gili’s recovery from a deadly desease. He was a star and my idol too. I finally thanked god for this pleasant news. As I breathe fresh air and relaxed a bit before walking back home my eyes caught the glimpse of a very handsome gentleman. He was walking in my direction.

In another few minutes I was wondering if I am still dreaming becase Jitsu gili was standing right in front of me. He sat next to me which was more than a dream come true moment for a very ordinary guy like me. I don’t know why he chose that very bench. Only thing special about the bench was that it was the same bench where the Squirrels use to come and eat grains from the hands of the masked person. Squirrels finally chirped again. I looked around to see if the costume guy was back, but he wasn’t. But squirrels started piling up around Jitsu gili which clearly hinted about the identity of the infamous Squirrel feeder of the park. These creatures were somewhat concious of me though but with Jitsu they played like he was their own kind. A hundred squirrel noises in the garden gathered on one spot like never before, this time these small rodents were not just welcoming him, they were too happy to get him back.

I was frozen in my seat, feeling conciousness, sitting next to a superstar. That day I found out the face behind the mask. I felt so proud about the choice my idol that tears suddenly rolled out of my eyes.

I slightly moved my eyes to see his face, it was decorated with the same subtle smile that I had always imagined behind the masked Squirrel feeder. His eyes met mine, and I smiled to him, he too responded in a similar manner although much gentler. After feeding the Squirrels, he bid good bye to them, apologizing that he will no longer be available to feed them, and telling them about his near death encounter which has lead him to leave the city and settle somewhere with advanced medical services. Since that day I took up the responsibility of feeding his Squirrels.

I was amazed about this beautiful incident. Although there was no one else around to tell me I was just dreaming or not but even if there was another person telling me Jitsu gili never met me, I would still have never believed him.

Although I know Jitsu gili has a secret life, far away from all the glamour and flashlights but his secret will remain safe with me forever because he is more than a superstar to me, he is a true hero.