Ili – The Rat

           “Le eddelo, wake up, there’s a rat in the kitchen”, she shook me hard and was terrified. “Ili-na? Are you sure?” I wanted to get some more sleep and in autumn it’s difficult to wake up at first call. “Will you get up? It climbed the wire and went inside the AC. How do we get it out? I’m scared, you idiot. Wake up.” She rushed to the kitchen, stood outside and peeked in to see. 

“Ili, where the fuck it did come from? Bevarsi Ili, amongst all shit we are going through, now this.” I had no idea how to get that squeaking shit out of the AC. I got the blow dryer and took the ladder and a wide-mouth plastic jar to catch it when it comes out. “The dryer wire is short, and even otherwise this is a stupid idea”, she stood outside the closed kitchen door, peeking from the mesh and wouldn’t stop telling me every idea I came up with was stupid. “What should I do? Should I pray or plead or bring the speaker close to the hole and play a death metal song in full volume? Tell me if you got any better idea?” Her eyes were glued to the hole and she said, “Let’s gas that Ili.” 

Her meticulous instructions were, “Take three Dhoop kept near Ganesha’s idol, heat a couple of Koyla and put the Dhoop on it. Keep it close to the hole, don’t fully cover it, and leave some space for it to come out.” I followed her instructions. When I was about to climb the ladder, she yelled, “Stop, I’ll get the Mosquito killer Racket.”. I kept asking “yaake, why?”. She opened the kitchen door, threw the Racket on the floor and closed the door. “Take it. When it comes out, use your backhand and hit it hard to send it out of the kitchen through the window.” I picked up the Racket and was about to climb the ladder when she yelled again “Open the window, you genius.” 

In 10 minutes, the kitchen had become the gas chamber. The open window didn’t help. I tried to open the kitchen door. “Did you get it?” she sounded thrilled. “No, I’m suffocating, please open the door.” She slid the N95 mask and said softly “wear it, wait till it comes out. I can’t let it escape the kitchen and come inside the room, have patience.” 

“Don’t do this to me, please. My eyes are burning from the smoke, I can’t see anything. How will I be able to chase it out if I can’t see?” I pleaded with her. “Please wait for 5 minutes. I don’t want Ili in my house. Bear with the smoke, as the outside weather is equally bad. We are living in a gas chamber anyway.” She stood to her priorities. “What the fuck”, I yelled, cursed and even threatened to jump out of the window; she didn’t budge. 

“Fucking Ili. I’ll eat it today.” I raged, poured water on the Dhoop, switched on the wall fan for a minute and looked for my Butane Gas Canister with a flame torch. “I’ll burn you little shit,” was my war cry. I lit the flame torch, took a deep breath and looked at the hole. “That’s it”, I climbed the first step of the ladder, and the Ili swiftly comes out and sprints on the wire and makes its way out of the small hole in the window.

“Bloody hell, that’s where it came from”, I was startled to see it make it through a small hole in the window of the house on the seventh floor. 

– 2 –

“Please call the guy and get that window fixed before you leave for work. That stupid brown tape Jugaad won’t work.” I could say nothing to her but, “I know how I’ll die.” 

“Sir, which Chutia made this hole in the glass window? Why do you call such a person to install the AC who doesn’t know how to make a hole in the window?” his laments needed no response from me. “Can you fix it?” was all I wanted to know. “Ji Bilkul, I’ll put a new glass or I’ll get a plyboard and paste it”, to the choices he gave I preferred a new glass and insisted to fix it immediately. “What happened, Sir? Did rat come inside the house?” I just nodded.

“Yes Sir, new glass will solve the rat problem. Rats are like a thief; till they are seen they believe they are unseen.” He laughed and collected advance money to do the work. While leaving he quipped, “Har cheez ka anth hota hai, Sir.”