i was enjoying my solitary walk home from nerul station, when my cell phone rang…
radhika!! where are you?
i’m on my way home…
come home soon! there’s a rat at home and i’m standing outside the door
THERE’S A RAT IN OUR HOUSE!!
rupali sounded really frantic on the phone, and sure enough, she was standing outside the building when i reached.
frankly, after i ended the call, i found myself smiling. but i realised the situation could turn serious. as i continued with the daily purchase of milk, bread and eggs, i wondered how big the rat must be.
if its small, its going to give us a hard time, i thought. and the bigger it is, the more difficult it will be for the rat to move. that’s it! hoping that it was a big rat, i walked on, and remembered how my dad had once used a stick to scare a mouse away at our home in thane. but i was a kid then, who knows, perhaps i was so afraid i would have been standing on the tabletop. (or was that when i saw a cockroach?)
i always wondered how it would be if i were that small. imagine huge towering figures that track you all the way into a corner, or land on you from nowhere, just like that. its also interesting how we always run away at the sight of a cockroach or a rat, when in all probability, the poor animal must be terrified out of its guts when it sees us. to top it all, its we who study psychology using it as a subject, and call it a r-a-t…rat. but how does an animal know what it’s called.
as i reached the gates of my building, i saw rupali standing in the compound, still waiting for me, with nothing in her hands but the housekeys. suddenly i seemed to feel very responsible, like how a father would laugh at his child and lead the lets-get-this-rat-out-of-our-house expedition. as rupali filled me with how she saw the “big” rat and locked the doors of the other two rooms so it doesnt enter there, and that she’d already asked mahesh and daniela who were at at office, to come home quickly (i was coming back from vashi), i knocked at my neighbour’s door and asked them for a wooden stick, or something that was noisy, so i could drive the rat out.
my parents would have never believed had they seen me tapping the walls and the dabbas and boxes in the kitchen. i was beyond surprise myself…i wasn’t afraid at all! twenty minutes later, i was still tapping.
soon mahesh came in with daniela (her first week in india), and we thought it best to buy a rat-trap, since it seemed to be the least messy. what we were not sure of though, was when the rat would be inside the trap.
it was past 10:30 at night, and all we found was mortein rat cake, or rat poison. what we did next will remain unforgettable…stuffing rat cake into tomatoes and bananas!