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Come evening, I feel the urge to see the open skies and so I make for the roof top. That has been my habit during the ten years of stay in my old house. There beneath the vastness I walked, read a book or listened to music till sunset. When I saw the roof top garden in the new apartment complex, I decided then and there that that’s where I was going to sit and read in the evenings.

Accordingly every evening I now make my way to the thirteenth floor with book, water and a few peanuts to munch on. There, beneath the wide open sky, I sit on one of the benches or chairs and read with only the pigeons and crows for company. They mostly come to drink water from the swimming pool and sit on the railings afterwards musing about life or whatever it is the birds generally muse about.

There are kites soaring in the distance. They do not deign to alight on apartment buildings. Sometimes a neighbor pops in and then we chat for a bit, but usually it is just the birds, the breeze and I. Last evening though there was someone new.

I was immersed in my book -The Writer On The Hill: The Very Best Of Ruskin Bond- when I felt something fall, very lightly, on my foot. New building, artificial grass, what could it be? So my usual creepy-crawlies alert system did not go into an overdrive and I went on reading.

There were flower pots strewn around with real flowering plants. It could be that the wind had picked up a dried leaf and dropped it on my feet. But my self-preservation instincts wasn’t about to be lulled into a false feeling of security by the take it easy policy of the creepy-crawly alert system. Come on, check your foot, they clamoured. It could be anything!

I obeyed. And found Mr. Hairy here relaxing on my foot. Where had it fallen from? Had it been on the underside of the table beneath which rested my feet? Or had it crawled up from the artificial grass? Whatever, this was a take-a-picture moment. But first I sternly told Mr. Hairy to get off my foot. This was no viewing platform, you see. We could be friends, but we had to have clearly defined personal boundaries.

Nothing I said worked. Mr Hairy just sat curled up on my foot saying nary a word and I then had to forcibly evict it. And then, I took a picture.

Anyone know who or what is Mr Hairy?

© Shail Mohan 2022