Wednesday, 11 September 2013

ratty today

It's one of those days - YOU know - feeling out of sorts and generally ratty. Started off with K getting a booger in her nose and me trying to inveigle it out with nose drops, when I heard the dadi call it a chooha (which is admittedly much cuter - you have to say that 'mousie' sounds adorable when compared to 'booger')

And that sent me off down one of those little alleys off Memory Lane. [In case you were thinking 'Hey, isn't this is a blog about mums and babies?' Yeah, I'm a mum and I too have some growing to do, and anyway, it's MY blog, so there] So where was I? Ah yes, Memory Lane.

Those were the days my friend, when living in a barsaati (almost attic-y kind of tiny studio apartment) was almost a rite of passage when you started out earning your way in Delhi. The number of friends I know who have been in barsaatis (the word also means raincoat, by the by - so I suppose it was a space to metaphorically keep the rain off you, though in a more literal sense, barsaatis weren't above the occasional leak) are practically all my Dilli friends.

So there I was, having graduated from my Bharatiya Gramin Mahila Sangh (Indian Rural Women's Association) Working Women's Hostel to my barsaati in Defence Colony. Being an army brat, I had assiduously done the rounds trying to figure out a landlord who (and this is important) would NOT know my Dad. This was Defence Colony, after all. I fully intended to raise at least nine kinds of hell and had no intention of word getting back to the parental home. It was more difficult than you would think. The Indian army can, despite being one of the largest standing armies in the world - some say the second largest - be incredibly tiny in some ways.

Anyway, having settled on a landlord who looked like the caricature of an army officer (handlebar moustache, would offer me pink gins when I popped in to pay the rent) and was a rather sweet old bird who declared that I could do what I liked as long as I did not wreck the place, I proceeded to move in with my black trunk (any fauji brat will know what I speak of) labelled with Dad's name.

Life was blissful for a bit: shopping at the Friday bazaar for  heap but cheerful furnishings; declaring to all my friends that I had my own place and all the other things that are so exciting when you are 22 years old.

Till I realised that I had unwittingly sublet the place to a non-paying resident. Moreover, one who, not to put too fine a point on it, was of the rodent persuasion. Oh well, I am all in favour of animal welfare, but I draw the line at having rat droppings in my clothes and having them chewed. So I trotted off for some rat poison and applied it liberally over a slice of bread.

It didn't work.

The damn rat even chewed up the poison packet.

And then declared war.

It was when I actually caught a glimpse of it that I got really worried. It was HUGE. It had obviously come in from the infamous Defence Colony nala. The fact that it chewed through my front door should give you some inkling of its ferocity.

Since poison didn't work, I tried tossing lighted matches at it when it was trapped behind the wardrobe. Ok - it was dumb but I was desperate. No go.

I got a friend of mine over with her dog in the hope that she (the dog, not the friend) might display rat catching abilities. They both stood on my bed and screamed when they saw the rat.

Finally a brainwave hit me. Like all retired army officers, I was sure my landlord had an airgun tucked away somewhere. I went off to borrow it. The colonel's face purpled and then turned a rather becoming red. "You want to shoot at rats in my house? Nothing doing." Then he took pity on my desperate case and came out himself.

I will never forget the sight of Col Puri chasing the rat while my friend and her dog stood on the bed in my tiny barsaati.

And bam bam!

It's true - chivalry is not dead, but he did leave it to us to dispose of the corpse, which I did very tidily in a shopping bag bearing a designer's logo...

No comments:

Post a Comment

Yes, I would love to hear from you :)