Bats? Rats!

August 9, 2007

Apparently, they don’t like the rain either. One got into our apartment the other day and was running around between the bedroom and the dining room as though it owned the place. Errrrrrrrrrrgh! It was up to Amit to deal with it, of course, which he did by pointing it to the balcony door, which was open. It obligingly ran over his foot on its way out.

I usually leave it to Amit to deal with all the creepy-crawlies, but sometimes that strategy backfires. On the rare occasions that I must deal with cockroaches, I grab the nearest footwear and swat them. True, it leaves goo on the floor, but at least it is transparent goo. Amit runs for the insecticide spray, and then chases the critter all over the floor, usually drowning it rather than poisoning it to death. Sometimes, the little bugger gets away from him and either lives or dies in peace beneath some heavy bookshelf or chest of drawers. Sometimes, it emerges a while later, to die in plain view.

The other day, I came home to find a cockroach lying on its back, spindly legs all up in the air. So I fetched the broom and dustpan and started to sweep it up. In doing so, I inadvertently turned it right side up, and hey presto, the friggin’ thing got right up and scurried away! That’s why I never trust those insecticides. With footwear, the end is decisive, effective, and all-too-evident.

I don’t bother with lizards and spiders too much. Things that eat insects can’t be all bad. Not that I’ve seen any evidence of them eating insects – at least the mosquito population seems to thrive, despite their efforts; but I suppose they must eat something, and insects are rumoured to be their preferred diet.

Bats, now, rate second only to rats. I remember reading a highly impassioned article about bats saying how intelligent they are and that they are really quite sweet and not half as repulsive as we’d like to think, and that they don’t carry rabies anyway. I can’t say that they are my best friends even now, but at least that article half-convinced me that I shouldn’t hate them.

Despite that, I draw the line at having bats flying around my bedroom. It is really quite disconcerting, because when these things get into a house, they go round and round and round and round in the same loop – not always a circle, mind you, it could also be a figure of eight – round and round without the tiniest variation in their flight path. Why the idiotic creature thinks that it will find a way out on its nth fly-past when none existed in the one million rounds preceding that, I can’t fathom. And why does it go right up to the open window or door, but not through it, if its radar system is smart enough to tell it where metal/wood/glass ends and open air begins???

Bats even Amit can’t battle alone. Usually two of us and a large bedsheet get involved and quite a sight it is, too, what with the bat’s ridiculously determined adherence to its chosen flight path and my ridiculously hysterical paranoia of getting in its way.

But rats are definitely the worst. Growing up in Panchkula, which, at the time, had more rats than houses, I sort of got used to them. At one stage, we had an entire family nesting in some of our old packing cases. We routinely used to put some cheese into those wood-n-wire rat traps at night, and then the next morning my father would carry the loaded and closed trap out to some field as far as possible from our house. More often than not, the unfortunate rat’s tail would be hanging out of the trap, giving us all the shivers.

I remember one particularly memorable occasion when three of us – my mother, sister and I – shrieked and jumped up onto the sofa and stood there clutching each other while the dogs tried to chase down the offending creature. We had three dogs back then, but only the youngest (she was a mongrel, which probably explains it) was any good at ratting. She improved at it, as she grew older and smarter and the rats – strangely enough – grew slower and fatter. After a while, we didn’t need the rat trap any more. And when there weren’t any rats to keep her entertained, we’d set her after the lizards – though she never had any success with them.

For the time being, Amit seems to have successfully banished our only ratty visitor till date in this house. I hope he jolly well stays away. (The rat, I mean, not Amit…)

Did you know: There’s a rat temple in Rajasthan! They feed them milk and let them run over their feet!! I’ve been there, years ago, and yes, it was gross and yes, they did run over my feet. The temple is beautiful, though.

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