Back in December when I was out exploring the new world, I had no idea what I had signed up for.
The girl’s dormitory I was living in was held in fear by those who knew. It was to approached with caution, dreaded by men and women alike. Among its many residents, was one so feared that a mere mention of its name was enough to shake the girls in their boots. A mere glimpse of its glowing red eyes in the dark would send shivers down our spines. It was a rat.
Now, as with all things in life that are miserable and cannot be changed, we just learned to live with it. So we did what any sane group of girls would do when they have a rat in their dormitory, a rat which was not only fearless but rather intent on expanding its family in the safe abyss of the airy well-lit room, we gave it a name. From that day forth, the rat was named Ganesha.
In the beginning things went well and the girls quietly coexisted with Ganesha and its ever growing family. Apparently, the idea of family planning was lost on him. But then the honeymoon period ended and the actual trouble of an ill-formed alliance began. Every night I would be awakened by the annoying nibbling noises made by Ganesha as he helped himself to the goodies in my cupboard. After the initial shock and annoyance wore off, I accepted it as it is. In fact, after a while it became a ritual between us. Every night around 2-3 AM, I would hear a blood-curling crackling sound of tiny feet stomping over the polythene bags in the closed cupboard. I would wake groggily, rub my eyes and in the dark feel around for my antique sad little Nokia x1 phone which was to be my only accomplice in all this family drama. Half asleep, I would climb out of the bed, pull a broken chair from the corner ensuring I do not wake the other girls in the room, climb on it gingerly holding on to the wooden frame of the bed designed quite oddly to support an equally odd mosquito net. And then in one swift motion, I would open the cupboard and like a ninja or a homicidal cop, flash my dim melancholic flashlight, a perk of having antique phone, inside. Tada! I would find Ganesha there or maybe it is one of his kids, I am not really sure. You see it is hard to keep up; they do all have the same nose. For the purpose of our narration, let us just assume it was Ganesha. Anyways, I would find Ganesha lurking inside. We would look at each other intensely, each trying in their own unique way to get the message across.
“Would you please keep it down Ganesha! Some people need their beauty sleep” I hiss through my red-eyed stare.
“Would you stop flashing the light in my eyes you stupid girl on a rickety chair” replies the cold stare of Ganesha.
After what would seem like an eternity, punctuated only by cold quietness of the December night and a distant snore sweeping in from the adjacent men’s dorm, Ganesha would lazily climb on the cupboard door, very immaculately lick and clean its paws, after all he was rather serious about rat hygiene, and then bravely fly across the air onto the floor and then vanish into thin air, like a shadow.
I would then take a deep intentional breath, suspiciously flash my tiny light on the floor to ensure Ganesha wasn’t planning a surprise for me or getting squished by my big fat foot, then clumsily get down from the chair, walk back and tuck myself into the bed.
Few days later, after losing quite a good amount of sleep and at least three packets of perfectly delicious mouth watering cookies to Ganesha, I decided it was time to end our little rendezvous. This was to be the end of our relationship. So I did what any estranged relationship crusher would do. I moved my stuff from Ganesha’s cupboard, across the hall, to another one. I knew it would be hard on him but harsh times called for harsh measures.
“Chip… Chip… Chip…” a sharp sound of wood cracling pierced the silence of the night.
It was coming from my old cupboard.
I wake up groggily, rub my eyes and in the dark look around for my little red phone. I sleepily get out of my bed, pull the broken chair form the corner and gingerly climb on it holding on the poster on my bed, then open the cupboard door and flash my torch light inside with a swiftness which would put Jackie Chan to shame. I find Ganesha there looking confused and rather alarmed at the empty shelves and absence of cookies. He looked flabbergasted.
I look Ganesha in the eyes and go “ha! In your face!”.
I thought it was all over. I had finally earned my sleep. And then, from across the hall, another noise draws my attention.
“chip— chip— chip”
It was coming from my new cupboard.
Ganesha looks me the eyes. He smirks. “Gotcha!”.