viernes, 30 de octubre de 2009

Gay chipmonks

Kerala cuenta con más de 32 millones de habitantes, aunque creo que el número de ardillas supera al de paisanos. La ardilla local es chiquitina y luce lomo a rayas, como si Shiva le hubiese pasado una mano de pintura blanca con el tridente. En inglés, este animal lleva el nombre de "chipmonk", pero no he encontrado la traducción al castellano.

El "chipmonk" es muy vivo, nervioso y escurridizo. Es tan bonito que una como yo seguro desearía acercarse al roedor, amigárselo dándole de comer fruta en la palma de la mano, ganarse su confianza hasta acariciarle la tripita y porqué no comérselo a besos. Obviamente, el bicho ni loco consiente tales achuchones: ya te puedes dar por contento o contenta si se deja tomar una foto.


Sin embargo, no es imposible desarrollar una íntima amistad con el "chipmonk". Yo tuve esa suerte, al convertirme en madre sustituta de dos pequeños. Mi primogénito se llama Chap y es el único sobreviviente de un trío de machitos caídos de su nido. Mi benjamín es Scratch, que adopté varios meses más tarde. Se lo encontró el capataz de obra, que se lo entreal cocinero, que se lo pasó a Nora, que me lo encasquetó a mí.

Al principio me preocupaba que pudiesen surgir conflictos de territorialidad entre los dos machitos, por lo que enjaulé al pequeño Scratch mientras Chap corría a sus anchas en mi amplia habitación. Pronto descubrí que mis temores estaban totalmente infundados. Los "chipmonks" son muy gregarios y no soportan la soledad.

Nada más liberar a Scratch de su jaula, Chap se acercó al pequeño para rociarlo de cuidados. Pensé que iba a desgastarlo de tanto lamerlo. Se hicieron amigos inseparables. Dónde estaba uno, no lejos se encontraba el otro. De día, trepaban juntos a los cocoteros, se perseguían y jugaban incansablemente. De noche, dormían juntos acurrucados en una cajita de cartón.

Tan amorosos se los veía siempre que pronto se hicieron famosos en el instituto como la pareja de "gay chipmonks". Para que luego digan que la homosexualidad no tiene cabida en el reino animal... ¡Ay, si yo os contara la de cosas que se dieron en una cajita de cartón!

Chip, Chap, Chop


Para comérselos...



Escenas del sofacito rojo


Nora con Chip y Chap


Chip



Chap


Amjad y Chap


Phil y Scratch


¿Cómo distinguir a Chap de Scratch? Pista: para beber, a Scratch le toca encaramarse a la tacita con sus cuatro patitas.

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Nota para quien la lengua de Shakespeare no intimide: podéis leer más sobre mis "chipmonks" en el post siguiente. Lo escribí por encargo para la sección humorística del "Spectacle", la revista del IISE, pero su publicación quedó vetada por profano, trivial e intrascendente.
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Hairy news


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May it be known to all that the IISE is fostering friendship with the hairiest locals. I am not referring now to our moustachioed and bushy-chested neighbours, but to our most adorable four legged friends. Last December we rescued a little puppy plagued with maggots; in January, our security guards brought a tiny cutie kitten into our lives; and since last week, like little drops from heaven, Chip Chap Chop fell into our yard.
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How a seven metre free fall had not even hindered their minute bodies is one of nature's great wonders; despite their frail appearance, baby squirrels are undoubtedly resilient. After ten minutes of hoo-ha and melting admiration, our catalyst team was ready for first aid action. While my hands were busy warming up the quivering squirrels, Jenni consulted the modern oracle. Saint Google spoke to us:
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“It is more likely that a baby squirrel with its eyes still closed, found at the base of a tree, has fallen from the nest and will be retrieved by mom. If a whole nest is on the ground with small babies inside, mom will take them back if given the opportunity. Even if you have touched the animal, mom will still accept it, she may come and then leave, but come back for it in a few hours. To reunite, leave the baby in the exact spot where found (mom won't know to go look anywhere else), you can place a hot water bottle (wrapped in a towel) under it for warmth. Do not cover the animal with any materials; leave in plain view, otherwise mom won't be able to find it. Monitor from inside. Try only during daylight. If after several hours mom does not at least come to see the squirrel then it needs help” - to me, it sounded like a good plan.
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Early next morning, we executed our family tracing scheme. We followed instructions precisely, wrapping towel and hot water bottle included. We laid our little protégés in plain view and let them squeal for their mum. Our part in the mission was accomplished. Well, almost. If it weren't for one small but fatal oversight: we had forgotten to monitor from inside! By the time we ran back to our babies, tragedy had already unfolded. Our little Chop had fulfilled the profecy of his name: he had become mince meat to the ugly crows.
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Quickly, we declared our babies officially orphaned and proclaimed ourselves surrogate mothers. Back to the source of all wisdom:
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“Orphans that have been without their mother will be suffering from chill and dehydration. They must be thoroughly warmed first, and then offered warmed rehydration solution. [...] Cow's milk, human baby formulas, and most pet products are not suitable and will likely cause death. Use a 1cc or 5cc oral syringe, warm the formula, and hold the squirrel in a towel, firmly, and covering its eyes. The squirrel will suck very quickly and take too much formula if you are not in total control. If this happens the squirrel will sneeze formula out of its nose. Severe aspiration can cause immediate death or pneumonia on a long-term basis” - daunting: all of a sudden squirrel resilience seemed disputable.
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And there was more: “It is very critical that baby squirrels are stimulated to urinate before and after every feed. The squirrel may be doing it a bit on its own but this may be overflow and if not stimulated the bladder will rupture. To stimulate a baby squirrel hold it over a face cloth. Dip either your finger or a Q-tip in warm water and then light feathery strokes over its genital area will cause the squirrel to urinate and/or have a bowel movement. Once the squirrel starts to pee don't stop as the squirrel will then stop”.
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So far, so good. After one week of syringe feeding (vanilla flavoured, gluten and lactose free nutritional formula, alternated with relishing mango juice) and feathery stroking, our squirrels are happily sucking, peeing and pooping.
Chip is the smallest of the two. He is both lighter in weight and colour. He likes sucking the syringe with delicacy, rapidly moving his tiny pinky tongue. He only opened his eyes yesterday and has been very inquisitive ever since. He runs everywhere, collecting dust from every corner of my room. He is an inexhaustible chatterbox, always squeaking at the top of his lungs. He thinks my head is the perfect playing platform to try his newfound climbing skills. And today, I said a sentence I could never have imagined myself pronouncing: “Excuse me Theo, I find it hard to listen to you with a squirrel in my eye”.
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Chap, on the other hand, only cares for food and naps. He is dark and big headed, lazy and glottonous. He cherishes his hot water bottle and loaded syringe more than dear life. He greedily engulfs the syringe's hard beak in his tiny mouth, sucking with nervous desperation until the warm and sweet liquid slowly soothes him into new dreams. I bet it will only be a matter of days until he joins his hyperactive bro in his world conquest. At this rate of development, one fact is certain: these two will soon drive us nuts in the office!
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A sad note: just one day after I had written my article, our little Chip went into a sleep so deep he never woke up. Metabolic Bone Disease (MBD) seems to be a very common cause of infant squirrel mortality. Chip's little limbs went numb in the morning and before sunset he was gone.
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But let's not end our story on a sad note. Our last child is doing great. He has grown a big pot belly and a long fluffy tail, which he curls and wraps around himself like a fancy furry boa. In a few weeks time, if all goes well, our sturdy “Fat Chap” will be fit for freedom and released into our beautiful tropical jungle.
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Chip

video

lunes, 12 de octubre de 2009

Tortilla para todos

Ayer, en vísperas del día de la Hispanidad, me llevé a todos mi alumnos de almuerzo ibérico y campestre. De menú: tortilla de patata, chorizo, salchichón y queso manchego.

Pa chuparse los dedos...

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