Sunday, June 10, 2007

The Case of the Incidental Rat

Like any other weekday, I came in by around 7 PM, changed and logged on. I checked out my usual websites, fiddled around with my guitar till I couldn’t ignore the rumblings in my stomach any longer. Of course, to cook you need clean dishes and so I proceeded with the ones in the basin and switched on to the news channels in the telly. You ignore Paris Hilton at your own risk.

Soon after, when I was eating and trying to figure out why my sambhar tasted sweet, I suddenly saw the rat. I had heard some noises before in its general direction but had learnt to ignore such sounds. A lot of wood is used in the construction here which is not really conducive to sound proofing and odd noises from neighbor’s filters through often. But this wasn’t a neighbor I was looking at eight feet away from me. This was a huge rat which had made its way from my bathroom into my living room and was now considering future course of action.

I acted first. I closed my mouth which was agape with a mixture of astonishment, confusion and puzzlement, put my spoon filled with my sweet sambhar rice back on the plate and blinked. Fortunately, before I could put my feet up on the couch and say ‘uhudhfgu’, the creature decided that it had had enough of a foreign realm and retreated back into the darkness of the bathroom.

I think that I pride myself on being prepared for any eventuality. For example, I know that if I were mugged, it will take me only 2.4 seconds to take off my wallet, watch, mobile and ring in one smooth movement. Or for that matter, not to use a deodorant when I am journeying in the forest so that I don’t have to lie down and play dead when I encounter a bear. But this, I wasn’t prepared for. It’s not that I hadn’t encountered a rodent in my house before. I remember a small mouse looking trapped, trapped as it was in a mousetrap when I was six. I remember mom not being very keen about me adopting it as a pet. And for good measure, it was decided that the mouse should be released to terrorize other families in a colony a few miles from my house, so that it couldn’t find it’s way back. There was nothing I could do except give it some company before I saw it disappear for ever from my life.

Then of course, was the unforgettable experience at the Rat temple, I think, somewhere in Bikaner, Rajasthan, where the whole place is infested with the lot of them. If ever there was a Rat Heaven that would be it. Being a temple, you couldn’t wear your shoes in the place (a logic somewhat lost on me as the place couldn’t have been more disease prone than already) and I remember me and my college friends tying plastic paper bags around our legs with rubber bands before venturing in.

Cut to the present though and it was pretty clear to me quite immediately that my past experiences were not going to teach me anything of any significance on how to deal with the current predicament. Anyway, self defense and fortification being my first thought, I immediately closed the door between the bathroom and the living room and considered the gap between the floor and the door. It didn’t look very big but a determined rat could squeeze through, was what my grey cells were telling me. As I considered further moves to safeguard myself, I unwisely decided to calm my nerves by drinking gallons of water. Soon enough, I had to take a leak. It is amazing how a man can gather his courage where taking a leak is concerned. Armed with a broom, I gingerly made my way into enemy territory and placed my ass on the usual place. Those twenty seconds when I was at my most vulnerable passed away uneventfully even though I had morbid thoughts about what happened to Saif Ali Khan’s character in ‘Ek Hasina Thi’.

Further investigation of the bathroom revealed no presence of the rodent any longer. Wherever it had come from, it had gone back and hopefully was at peace with itself. There were a couple of crevices in the bathroom which seemed to lead into some dark depths but never for a moment did I consider making a closer investigation. The next day, when I encountered this experience to my unflappable letting agent, he did express some sympathy.

“It’s rare for them to show up at a first floor flat. Let me know if it shows up again, otherwise we will just forget it as an isolated incident.”

I told him that I was having visions of rats partying away in my house while I was away at work but he just nodded and attended to another customer. But, to his credit, I must say that he might have been right. I haven’t seen any more signs of the rat two weeks hence and have stopped carrying a broom with me every time I want to pee.

Wait a minute, what was that sound now?


aria said...

somehow ..landed here.. perhaps it is the first time I was inclined to comment on a page I'd hit randomly .. :) enjoyed reading your blogs .. I think I'll be back. Keep posting..

dazedandconfused said...

thanks! :)