Tuesday, September 14, 2010


When our cat died these fiends swooped upon our premises in hordes. We had almost begun to believe mice were eradicated from the world like small pox and could only be found in a lab in the US (and maybe one in Russia, just in case), but there they were, coming along, laughing in our faces, and settling down to make themselves comfortable.

     Every morning when I went bleary-eyed into the kitchen, I'd hear one behind an unopened box of wine glasses on the top shelf, crunching away at something. Appeals to the only brave man in the house would be met by a sleepy "Let me sleep, for God's sake!" when all the while God's creatures would be eating only-He-knows-what (in my wine glasses!). And then one morning most of the back of the box was pushed to the edge of the shelf in tiny pieces and I could have sworn a small face peeped out and rebuked me about the quality of the box, but I'm told I must have still been asleep.

     Enough was enough! All the plastic boxes in the kitchen with anything to eat in them were nibbled at the edges and every little packet that came into the house was opened and checked by these miniature "Customs officials" (needless to say, a lot of stuff was confiscated). The worst part was that one kept running into them everywhere, night or day there was always one fellow on beat duty.

     "Do something!" I begged of Brave Man, "Before they get an army together and drive us out of the house!"

     "Relax!" he said "And anyway there's only one mouse."

     "Nonsense! There's a dark one that lives in the kitchen on the top shelf, the one with the beard lives behind the fridge, and the one with blue eyes lives behind these books in the bedroom. And that's not counting visiting relatives and friends."

     I got a strange look and BM muttered "You're right, I'd better do something." (Although he looked like he wanted to do something about me rather than the vermin).

     The first mouse trap was a disaster. Within an hour of laying the bait, one little demon had skipped in, eaten the nice fresh piece of bread, scribbled us a "Thank you" note and danced out, without the darn trap ever having suspected a thing. The next trap was bought with much care and we spent a good forty minutes checking very scientifically the weight of the mouse that would cause each trap to close. At the end of it the shopkeeper was lying on the floor and wailing "But its only Ten rupees!" over & over again. Silly fellow, no one said we wouldn't pay him.

     Well, we caught the dark fellow and various assorted relatives, but they're still coming in thick and fast. Anyway, Beard & Blue-Eyes are still at large (although every time I mention them I get a stern "Get a hold of yourself! Dont get hysterical.")

     Short of hauling them out physically or advertising for the Pied Piper of Hamelin, we've tried everything. Now I'm back looking for one of the species which is "man's best friend". Yes, of course, a cat.

I wrote this piece 14 years ago. Subsequently we built our house and used a very simple & effective detail for keeping mice out. I haven't seen a single one since then, in fact I've forgotten what they look like.  (I still want the cat, though, but cannot keep one for various reasons). 
Will share this detail with you all some day.


  1. Good one!We are mice-free, but I live in daily fear that they'll not only get into the lift, but also learn to operate the buttons!

  2. Its not secret, it may be widely used in some variation or the other in many parts of the world. I shall put it up on the blog later, for anyone who would like to use it.

  3. lol i love it! you should do a short stories collection aunty! i reckon you'd be super awesome at it! :D

  4. Thanks, Shukti. Lak, I guess they're working on that or maybe they have but your neighbour downstairs is laying out a treat for them everyday. Keep her happy & dont let her move house.