Munching in the dark

We sat outside a homestay in East Sikkim staring at the infinite stars. One of the most peaceful places I have been to. It was cold, dark and the silence which for most city dwellers would be daunting. But Mukul Mukherjee.
And I were loving it. For where else would you have the sky to yourself with no city lights to distract your eyes.
And as we continued to sit there, Mukul heard some movement on a tree nearby. We were on a slope. The tree with movement grew from a place on the lower elevation of the slope. This brought the canopy close to us. We had no plans to spotting anything so we had no flash light on us. Then a boy from the orphanage we stay close to ran to us with a flash light. He knew what moved in the canopy. He said it visited this tree often. He had seen it often for the animal to not mind his presence. It was furry and could fly he said. And then, even without spotting the animal we knew it was a Flying Squirrel. These animals don't actually fly. They glide from a higher vantage point on a tree to neighbouring trees using a skin fold in between their limbs.
We had not seen the animal yet. But thanks to the flash light and the spotting skills of the kid, we got a glimpse of it. A Flying Squirrel indeed. We were awestruck with the size and the coat of the animal. It was bigger than a cat, orange in colour with black patterns on specific body regions. It seemed to be not bothered by our presence. It was bold enough to continue feeding on the berries but kept distance from us. It was bold enough for us to see it but far enough to not see it fully.
The boy then asked why we were not photographing it. And then it struck us too. We were so engrossed in watching the animal, we had completely forgotten to click a picture. Finally, I managed to get this shot where the squirrel fed undisturbed.
On a closer look, it turned out to be the Bhutan Giant Flying Squirrel

Small: A4: 11.69 X 8.27 inches
Medium: A3: 16.53 X 11.69 inches
Large: 2 X 3 feet : 24 X 36 inches