- Lakshmi devi Bemplassery
Mouse in the house!
Thud…thud…thud…coming from the tiny tin loft above my kitchen sink-work space. It must be 7.30-8 in the evening, the TV blaring full blast with back-to-back serials…almost all of them featuring lachrymose women and cherubic children being subjected to a variety of tortures and, of course, the Ammayiamma, whose terrible visage would give you nightmares. So very much removed from real life.
Well…where was I?..Aahh..the mouse. It’s not the first one to get into the house. Though how it does get in we have never been able to determine exactly. So off I go to break the news gently to my husband who’s in front of the TV.
“There’s another mouse in the loft”
“What?” …he’s too caught up in the drama on TV…something very momentous is happening. It was really bad timing. Well! Can’t be helped. So I repeat “I just heard thuds from the loft. It must be another mouse.”
“Oh! Will it never stop? I must have killed at least a 100 mice. How many times have I told you not to keep the windows open? You light the lamp and pray to Krishna and then you make me do all these sins. Don’t think you are going to escape the consequences yourself.”
What was that? It was a new one indeed! I hadn’t opened any windows this time. The work area has a tiled roof instead of RC. The mice could very well be coming in through an unnoticed gap in the tiles. But no! the fault’s always mine and the mice can come in only through an open window. One day, who knows, the mice may ring the bell and wait on the doorstep, and push past me as I open the door. Huh! The last remark got me so riled I gave him he silent treatment for all of 3 hours.
But then I thought-you can’t blame him. Catching the mouse is his job—and killing it and disposing of the body too. Ugh!
Well, the whole rigmarole of baiting the trap, keeping it on the loft, and waiting for the mouse to walk in and get caught. Usually it works very well. We, maybe, have to change the bait a time or two. But this one refused to bite.
Then one night, as I came down after lights out, lighting my way with my mobile torch, there it was-THE MOUSE-a tiny one hardly bigger than a lizard. It had managed to come inside from the work area and, it now had easy access to all rooms including the bedrooms. At least in the work area it could be isolated by closing the door. Disaster indeed!
At sight of me the mouse scampered around the room finally jumping into the store room. Thank God! It was another isolation zone. I jumped just as fast and secured the door before it could get out. I switched on the store room light and slowly opened the door a crack and dragged out the bucket containing rice and a the bottles containing the bare essentials required for the next day and again closed the door tight.
Then we set the trap in the store room. But the mouse was clever-it ate the bait but didn’t get caught. In effect we were feeding it like a pet. Finally there was no other go but to use the last resort-poison. And after leading us a merry dance it was finally caught. May its soul, the souls of all previously killed mice, and the souls of all mice to be killed in future, find peace and a better life in the next birth.