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D-RATTTTT!!!!

Thursday, August 11, 2011

"There” I told her, “You can sleep now”. She nodded through troubled eyes and hugged her body tight. I mentally shook my head in a never mind. I felt so superior for being non-girly and somehow the brave one around. Even more so when the next morning, her friend came knocking. Through sleep-groggy states I ask him how I could help him. The laash he said. Hindi for corpse. For a moment I thought she had committed suicide, since I had seen her depressed from the time she moved in. The laash  he said again. Then I understood. He had been summoned to move Lizzie baby. Poor thing died a violent death at the hands of a fearless woman. Or so I’d like you to believe.


I have had many comic encounters with animals I fear. Okay okay, I fear most animals, but I think I fear rats and bees the most. Well rats, I grew up around them. An old rambling house attracts its fair share of rats and bandicoots and mice and the long-snouted mouse we call the chachondari. Of all the various sizes the rodent comes in, it’s the mid-sized one that scares the living daylights out of me. Because it’s that mid-sized goon that is the most sprightly and bright-eyed. And it has this evil reckless look in its eyes that clearly tell you that it will stop at nothing.  Just nothing.

Yesteratracerday was quite comical. There I was video-chatting with my three year old niece when Mr. Ratashooey decided to make its debut in our house. It hopped out from just beneath the computer desk and started running all about. Before you could blink, yours truly was screaming her head off and climbing upon any high surface available. Had this encounter happened by the mountain, I most certainly would have jumped to my death. But I must tell you, even in my panic-stricken state I couldn’t help but be amazed at how cartoon-like the rat was. I mean, the way it hopped, the way it ran at breakneck speed, its body undulating with each jump, and the way – well listen to this --- this was absolutely comical : when I screamed it actually shivered mid-air, just like the cartoon rats. Its big fat body froze for a split-second. The feminine claws paws whatever they may be high up in the air, tail defying gravity, and mostly all of it was sort of suspended in air. Its shiver actually corresponded to the rhythm of my scream. And I was so fascinated, I screamed again to make it dance to my tune. AND IT DID. And somehow it ran even faster, careened at breakneck speed by our floor mat and magically slipped its big fat body under our door and disappeared. And all this while I was screaming my head off, flailing my limbs about like it was actually upon me. My mom reacted in disgust. My dad came running from upstairs with a torch in his hand –- apparently the biggest weapon he had to scare away the intruder who he assumed was attacking me. What he thought that a torch would achieve – God only knows. After I calmed down, I had to face a niece who was pealing with laughter. The three year old mocks me with “mitthu khala is scared of a rat…..funny lady” and continued to give me a tut tut shake of her head until I managed to reinforce somehow that I was indeed the adult, and she was indeed the baby. But I know that the balance has now been changed forever.

But after yesterday’s incident, I feel a deep sympathy for the animal-challenged. I pride myself on being super comfortable around lizards and cockroaches. And I know so many are deathly afraid of them. Including the girl who took my place at a flat I was vacating. When she moved in, I slept on the couch outside. In the middle of the night, she shook me awake. Trembling in fear. I really thought something had gone wrong. “Lizard…..” she whispered. “Whaaa….?” I responded. “Lizard…” she whispered again – I suppose afraid that a louder tone might bring it charging right upon us. Then I understood. Lizzie baby, who had been a friend all along my tenure at that apartment, had spooked her. “Allright I said --- I’ll chase it.” And so I went inside the room. And there we enacted a mid-summer night’s drama. At 2. AM, I chased and sadly killed a lizard for her. That – after a massive frenzy in which the mattress went topsy turvy, the bed had moved from one end to another, her suitcase upside down, and a blood-splattered carcass. “There” I told her, “You can sleep now”. She nodded through troubled eyes and hugged her body tight. I mentally shook my head in a never mind. I felt so superior for being non-girly and somehow the brave one around. Even more so when the next morning, her friend came knocking. Through sleep-groggy states I ask him how I could help him. The laash he said. Hindi for corpse. For a moment I thought she had committed suicide, since I had seen her depressed from the time she moved in. The laash  he said again. Then I understood. He had been summoned to move Lizzie baby. Poor thing died a violent death at the hands of a fearless woman. Or so I’d like you to believe.

But my bravery is indeed limited to the little ones. There is one favourite encounter with a monkey that cracks me up even now. A long time ago I went tripping to the Cauvery riverside with a bunch of friends. Now those familiar with picnic spots around the Cauvery will know about the monkey menace as well. We were having a nice relaxing time by the riverside. At one point, all my friends decided to climb upon this fallen tree by the bank. The tree was actually horizontally hanging over the river. They all lined up on it while I prepared to click their photograph. I had to climb down the slippery bank to get close enough for a good shot. All our bags and hats were piled up on the ground high up behind me. Then I see all of them stretching their arms out. I thought it was a pose. But that was followed by shouts. I turn around to see a monkey trying to steal a bag. Things happened really quick. I made a meek attempt to shoo it. But it responded with a nasty growl and moved to jump at me. I almost crapped in my pants. Fear was thudding in my ears. I knew it was either him or me cos I was literally caught between the devil and the deep blue sea. Rather a deep green river. And as the monkey moved to jump at me, the nastiest, most guttural growl escaped my throat. The animal inside me had been awoken. By a monkey.  It was like I was a cavewoman personified. Some gene inside me screamed "I am better than you monkey cos I EVOLVED!". What happened next was quite comical. The monkey just froze in its act of jumping upon me, dropped the bag and simply ran for its life. I stood there, amazed. Dazed. I had scared a monkey away. WOWIEEE. I had terrorized a monkey away and so nastily that no monkey troubled us after that!!! I had never felt more proud of being a human being. So superior. I was female of the man. On top of the ape gene stack.

But karma has a nice sense of humour. That monkey died, merged with lizzie baby, and came back in the form of a rat. That rat has the most evil red eyes. And a body that shakes as though its possessed.

It’s out to get me. I just know it.

Drat.


2 comments:

Nikhil said...

Ha ha ha... I was literally ROFL when your dad entered the scene! I simply enjoyed this article, though personally, I would prefer smaller paragraphs.
[And if you are into the damn pedantry - 'the three year old *mocked* me and continued to ...']
Anyway, can't wait for your next blog entry! *Restless*

Rabia Fathima said...

Just saw your comment Nikhil! Smaller paras it is :) ...... next one is here .... and hopefully it lives up!