Subsequent summers, monsoons and winters robbed the paints of the walls of our society complex of its original colour and had put in their place patches of dull shades of their own. Walls thus losing their original splendour. Now the society was gearing up for a makeover. The year was 2014. Instructions to the residents came in the form of circulars.
The hustle and bustle of work commenced in full swing. The bamboo poles were straightened up, tied and tightly knotted. Days followed with the scrapping of the wall paint outside. we were elated at first, but only to know about the repercussions later. The scrubbing of the walls, quivering us, off of our afternoon nap which was not a bother, but the slight squeaking at night seemed a ghastly affair.
Till this moment the creatures were practically invisible, only its movements disturbed us at night due to which our sleep was caught up in snatches.we were completely out of sorts and our instincts were right. Now the culprits were confirmed. They were the burglars from the rodent clan who created riots at dark. The little masters entered through the holes in the bamboo poles, contrary to what the building was, with its premises spick and span.
The crises of the first order developed when our son complained about his T-shirt being punctured in 2 places, which was put out to dry in the balcony. Son, who was a teenager then, was distraught, as it turned out to be his favourite T-shirt. One could understand its voraciousness for food, but why bite the fabric. Sheer devilry! The next level it took us was when our daughter, found her textbook kept in the balcony trimmed at the edges. The school-going girl wept for hours, until her father, who’s very fond of her promised her a new one. The ravages in the balcony continued undaunted. when it came to contact with any object, the noise would wake us up.
As the grand visitor had no intention of moving out, a strategy had to be worked out and since the charges were of a serious nature the ” pied piper” was summoned. He was the security guard of our society, but a man with profound rodent knowledge and he suggested a rat trap. His advice was received with a whoop of approval. He brought in a rat cage, with the demo lasting a while, and we listened agape when he instructed us.
Unsure of its dietary preference, I tried to lure it with a chunk of idli inside the trap as bait. we waited anxiously the following night. Our tiny-tots entered as usual and sneaked out unnoticed. The piece of idli was untouched. The rat seemed too sophisticated to forego my “signature ” dish. We were certain that it would re-appear in our zone again.
So the next night, a piece of chapathi was placed inside the trap and we drifted into deep slumber. Post-mid-night a loud squeak was heard. The trap was shut. The scheme worked. Our ” guest of honour” was fidgeting impatiently inside the cage.
Cloth and other things cut into pieces by our Stewart little, was now crouching there pleading innocence. The prisoner was incapable of doing anything. The security guard was given a call. Since it was a midnight call, he rushed up with a cane (cane-considering the series of thefts and burglary in the neighbourhood.) The cage with its in-mate was handed over to him. Now gazing at its sad plight, all its other crimes appeared insignificant. The security guard strode off with the cage, although it was a sad spectacle.
Since similar incidents were doing the rounds in the building, our’s was no exception. The distinguished guest finally went away with the trap. The ordeal lasted only for a while and matters came back to normalcy, once the bamboo poles were knotted off and when the building stood up with a newer coating, back to its resplendence, the hide and seek game also came to a standstill and the rats too vanished afar ……