Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Mouse on the house

It's a peaceful evening at the Pronto household. Ms. Ayushi is at her study table steadfastly battling her demons, namely : Averages, Angles and Decimals. At this particular instance there's a vicious quarrel brewing up between some stubborn supplementary and complementary angles who won't listen to to the voice of amicability. They insist on extracting their exact degrees of flesh from this squabble. Ms.Ayushi is in fact contemplating the prospect of seeking arbitration from daddy, who's in the next room in front of his PC reading worthless blogs. She doubts this will be a happy scenario, 'cause daddy, while pointing to a solution, has this nasty habit of running down people who are unequal to resolving such minor tiffs between angles. Those people include mommy, who has washed her hands off Maths ever since Ayushi went to standard five, into the grim world of fractions, geometry and other goblins. At this very moment, mommy is grappling with one of her endless phone calls, which threatens to eat into her appointment with sa-re-ga-ma-pa.

All in all, a pretty picture of blissful domesticity, with all indications that God has turned in a bit early for the night after a long week at office( sending another half a dozen i-banks packing), seeing all's well with heaven and earth.

Suddenly blasted to smithereens by a deep, lusty, soul-stirring cry of eeeeeeeek emitting from Ms. Ayushi's room. Followed by mommy slamming down the phone and running into cupboards and bedspreads with a broom in hand. Such a commotion that even daddy has to reluctantly abandon his schemes of changing the world, pondering on the latest entry in Dilbert blog.

Peoople will ask why all that fuss over a puny liddil mouse. What they don't seem to understand (to paraphrase John McCain), is that nothing can put on a homeowners' pride and self-belief a bigger dent than a rodent in the house.

The military attache' at the White House placed a frantic call to Pentagon : an wild moose is scouring the lawns, threatening national security. Get in touch with the Governor of Alaska ASAP......oops, wrong war story. Truth be told though, SOS calls did get made to various corners of the map. Ayushi's mom calling most of her relatives for advice on assault plan and damage control. It all ended with Daddy running to the nearest mom-and-pops' and heckling them into opening their store well past ten. A pack of ratkill was secured. Chuha jisse kha-kar, mare bahar jaa-kar. Ayushi promptly announced she'd sleep the night on her parents' bed. No, make that every night, till the mouse is gone.

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Dead at night, with Ayushi fast asleep save occasionally mumbling something about a mouse creeping over her pillow, the missus tells me she had wind of this. Well in advance. "Y'know, I used to get a mousy smell. Everywhere. In every nook." I'm like,"what, do you mean you kept smelling a rat? And I always thought that smell was about dead rats and financial scams only? Never knew live mice had a particular smell too."

For the next three agonizing days, the mouse kept eating the ratkill. Part by part. Only it didn't seem to be dying. It was very much alive. And it was having one hell of a bowel movement. maybe the Mortein company made sure their poison was full of fiber. Maybe it was meant to go out to defecate and die in the process. The mouse never made that mistake. Everyday, the missus would find inside cupboard and bed boxes, rat stool in quantities I myself would've been proud of as a homo sapiens. Oh for the iniquities of being!

"Hubby, our plan doesn't appear to be working."
"Who do you think you're dealing with, dear lady? It's a mouse, it should know all about the best laid plans."

"Y'know, dear, we should go get a mouse trap."
"What? No, no, no, not tonight, old lass. Tonight I'm not in the mood for Mrs. Christie. Tonight I'll be with Sir Pelham."

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They say, (with apologies to The Boss)

You can't kill some vermin without getting blood on your hands
This gun's for hire, even as you're just dancing in your pants.

How the mouse was won, is not a pretty story. It involved gore, a broom, heroics from our maid, and other icky stuff.

Our maid is getting a hefty bonus this festive season. And we're driving down to Kolkata for Pujo after two long years, glum in the knowledge our books and blankets are safe once again. Wish you all a happy Pujo, Dussera and Navaratri !

My wife has information from the grapevine there might be bomb blasts this Durga Pujo in Kolkata. I doubt it. Militants never pick Kolkata. Didi is doing enough here already towards disrupting public life.