Saturday, July 20, 2013

The Rat

Once upon a time, there was a rat. It lived in my house. I had never seen it, but I was almost sure that it was there. I was also almost sure that it might not be only one rat. Maybe there was a whole family of them—mother, father and baby rats!

I did not know whether it was as big as a shoe or as small as a large cockroach.

There was a rat trap behind the fridge. There was another one on top of the cabinet. There were two under the sink.

I had never seen this rat. The only evidence I had that it actually existed was the fact that the bread I kept putting on the rat traps as bait disappeared every night.

Then one day I decided that I was going to catch this rat. I borrowed webcams from my colleagues at work. In total, I had three webcams, one for each rat trap. And my iPhone’s camera was for the fourth rat trap, the one on top of the fridge. Today I wasn’t going to sleep.

I sat in front of my laptop in my living room watching the live feeds from all four cameras. Thirty minutes into my surveillance, I started dosing. I went to the kitchen and made myself some coffee and a sandwich. I chastised myself for going to the kitchen. I could have scared away the rat! I checked the traps again. The bread was still there. I got some more bread from the bread bin, broke it and distributed it to the traps. Some more bread for this crafty rat wouldn’t hurt. Today was the last day it would steal from me.

I went back to my couch and my laptop and watched the rat traps.

I thought I should play music. It was eerily quiet. But what if the music scared away the rat? I remained in the quietness.

Maybe I should switch off the lights. Rats love darkness. But then how would I see the rat on my live feed? I would have to try my luck today. I sat back in my couch. I watched.

I looked at the time. It was ten-thirty. I had been watching for only twenty minutes so far. It felt like an hour.

What if the rat came out at four in the morning? Well, then I guess I should have a full flask of coffee. Maybe even get a book to read. Have one eye on the book and another on the screen of my laptop. I surely wouldn’t miss a movement near the rat traps.

The couch was very comfortable. I felt too lazy to get up and make myself more coffee and pick a book. So I stayed and watched the rat traps.

I woke up to the glare of sunlight coming through the window. My laptop’s screen had blacked out. I didn’t bother to put it on but rushed to the kitchen to check the rat traps. The two rat traps under the sink were devoid of bread.

And I was sure the other rat traps also didn’t have bread on them. I gathered my surveillance gadgets. I’d need my iPhone for Facebook, Twitter and WatsApp. And my colleagues would need their webcams.

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