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Tiny Roommate(s)

First Blood
It started with a squeak and the sound of moving polyethylene. I moved towards the source of the sound to investigate. The result was mutually startling. Both of us did not like each other. The mouse leapt out from the sill and disappeared into the neighbour’s room through a crack under the door.
Now, my room in Delhi shares a common door with the neighbouring room. I immediately began constructing a newspaper fortress under the door. It consumed a lot of paper but by the end of it, I was confident of thwarting this new challenger.The fortress served its purpose for some time. At least I thought so.  How wrong I was, was proved one night a month later, when I saw the creature poking its head in some utensils. I ran to scare it away and it took the now familiar route under the refrigerator and out of the door.Sure enough, the paper fortress had gaps. I began plugging these with the determination of an engineer doing urgent repair work. The enthusiasm wore off soon enough. It became apparent that this mouse was so tiny that it only needed the tiniest of gaps. Besides this, it knew how to cut through paper. At 1 a.m., here I was, having digested my first defeat at the hands of a mouse.
Cat and Mouse

I decided to take a hands on approach to the menace. So on its next intrusion, I began attacking it with a long ladle. The cunning mouse kept out of harm’s way behind the gas and I gave up after  some time. It was jumping up the gas pipe to climb up and reach the otherwise unattainable sill. I have to concede, the mouse is really gifted at the art of jumping.

Another time, the mouse hid so smartly behind some utensils that I began doubting my eys at having seen it at all. Even drum beats on the utensils did not make it reveal its presence. The moment I moved back to the computer, voilà, swishing sounds.

The next night, there were some grains of rice that had been spilt near the burner. Sure enough, the mouse began to nibble the savoury snacks. This time, I did not do anything but just observed its movements. I couldn’t have done anything either because by the time I would have grabbed anything, the thing would have fled.

The entry of the tiny roommate made me change my habit of keeping half eaten snacks around the room. Now everything was kept secure. When I left for my home in Bhopal, I made sure I had kept everything in the fridge or the almirah.

On my return, I found things as I had left them and began self congratulating myself on this victory. Little did I know that I had stupidly kept one cardboard box with packets of noodles and other crunchy snacks at the mercy of the mouse. I was scared to open the box, knowing not what to expect. It turned out to be nothing more than empty wrappers of Maggi and Haldirams. The mouse had determined me to have a healthy diet and had thus had nobly sacrificed its six packs by eating all of the junk stuff.

Discretionary tastes

The mouse, who is growing fast, now has a tiny brother whom it chases whenever it is bored. The two of them spend sleepless nights looking for food and education. They have been ingenious enough to climb to the almirah top and access their favourite food: annual reports of infrastructure and realty companies. It also digests Business Standard in full beating MBA students to the task. This chewing gum I have placed at various locations as I do not approve of computer wires serving the same purpose. I now wash every unused utensil every day and keep no important books lying around.

I have allowed a cat to transgress into the room a couple of times so that it can scare away the mice or better but it has not worked. I have been tempted by ads of Mortein Rat kill and have even kept some in the room but somehow have not been able to bring myself to using it. I blame Warner Bros, Hollywood and National Geographic. By making ‘Mickey Mouse’, ‘Ratatouille’, ‘Tom and Jerry’ and countless documentaries on the lives of smaller creatures, they have forestalled my offense.The sound of moving polyethylene and a obscure scratching sound confirms that it approves.


Comments on: "Tiny Roommate(s)" (3)

  1. Cute stuff with a lot of feeling.Confirms that you dislike violence that is avoidable.

  2. A nice read…
    Only yesterday we were coming back to delhi in Shalimar Express when we found ourselves surrounded by at least three mice who would leap out of nowhere trying to get on the berth where we had left some eatables. We did try to remove the half eaten sandwiches and scatter its pieces along the berths of fellow travelers trying to move the creatures away from our berths but the persistent little fellas ensured that we had to leave both our lower berths unoccupied and perch higher up in the unoccupied berths of the train.
    You’re not alone in conceding defeat to the mice 🙂

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