Rats

So far I believe I have killed 5 rats. Rats have always posed big threat to me, primarily they cause lot of damage even to things of no use to them, like books, paper and cloth and also, in case of those big mice, they are a compromise with hygiene thus a risk of diseases. When I arrived in Ashram, one thing that gave me sleepless nights were chaos of mice in night. I was so disturbing that even thoughts of quitting internship cross my mind. I did not expect luxury in the village, but then I will be happy even if I get a small but clean hut.

I had no clue what to do. I did not have that box in which rats can be caught. In the village, I asked one gentle man, Bangari Ji, who had expertise in kitchen garden, although sometimes sold some unique sized product of his farm for handsome prize. He did well in treating disease of vegetables, so I thought he might as well suggest something for rats. He told me to make small rolls wet flour along with broken pieces of glass. Rat will instantly die as glass pieces will be too big to get down his tiny intestines. When I shared that novel idea with Claudia, she found it gross and evil. Next he suggested complicated methods of using leaves and oils of certain plants. On the way back I saw a simpler solution of Mortien Rat Kill. I found out that a couple of those were available with Ashram also. So I used those cakes. Although cake was not found next morning, but the rat had his night thereafter too. It turned out that those cakes had expired and hence were ineffective. I got 6 sachets of brand new cakes next day. And it worked. I had peaceful nights. But one day, we opened one room in Ashram, and it smelled gross. We found the victim of my rat kill cakes there, and from the malodor it felt that expiry date of the rat was at least a week old. He was a big fat horrible carcass.

I had relief for a month until I was moved to another room. New rats found their way here. They punched holes in plastic containers, leaked a mustard oil bottle and nibbled on bathing soap. What did they achieve in doing this? I suppose they don’t eat plastic or soap or drink mustard oil. I was forced to another Rat Kill cake. I found that their main source was bath room, so I placed on there and on in front on room. Every time I would keep rat cakes in night, first thing I will do to look for no signs of the cake. The one in front of my room was gone. I was happy. The one in the bath room was still there. I noticed that in the night I also left the instruction paper that came with cake, next to the cake itself. I wonder if the mice read the instruction when he arrived at the cake and thus comprehend my intention and left the cake unattended.

Yeh Delhi hai meri jaan

People in hills in general and at the NGO in particular are very respectful. First of all, I never hear ‘Tu’. It’s mostly ‘Aaap’ and sometimes ‘Tum’. Okay I do not mean to say that respect is reflected only through the pronouns we use to address others. But at places where it is, like this one, then being addressed as ‘Aap’ makes me feel respected. Even those, who have more experience than my age! , they call me ‘rajeevg’ and ‘aap’. Surprisingly, this ‘rajeevg’ does not sound as Bihari ‘rajeevg’.

Recently when I went to medical hospital, the doctor was quite ill mannered. The generalization that government doctors will any way talk like they are obliging the patients will not be valid here. The other doctors Dr. Rana and his daughter were quite charming. Fuming at the outrageous attitude of that medical superintendent I filed an RTI for the information I attempted to request for, politely. Back at NGO, I explained what triggered me filing the RTI. I told that I was deeply offended by the way she talked to me. Everybody in the village talks with so much respect, so I wasn’t used to this kind of behavior. Dimri Ji told that she was from Delhi. I felt so small in this one piece of information. Why do Delhi guys have to be so high headed? When I wrote ‘Yeh Delhi hai meri jaan’ entry in my blog earlier, people were all offended about my opinion on Delhites, but that observation of mine is quite clear and correct and one does not need to wear microscope to see this.

Today, while I was going to bazaar, as usual in hills, I forgot the way and took wrong turn. But I realized that and turned back. Finding me confused, one lady from a group sitting near Swajal tap asked, ‘Kahan se aa raha hai, rasta pooch nahi sakta, kahan se hai’.
I was shocked. I was at least expecting, ‘kahan jaa rahe ho’ if not ‘Ko jaani, kakh batan aani’ . All the way to the market, I thought about this. I intentionally took the same route while coming back to encounter the lady again. Before I reached the tap again, I met some women of that group. I was ready to let my anger out by asking them if that’s how they too usually talked.
Before I could say a word, I saw the familiar Garhwali smile and the first woman asked,

‘Bhaiyya, rasta mil gaya?’

‘haan’

I got some encouragement and noticed that they were dressed in Garhwali form. I was too disturbed earlier to see what they were wearing. I asked the girl behind, ‘Didi, gobar khad gaddhe se le jaa rahe hoya seedha’
‘Khaad gadhe se , bhaiyya’
‘Kisne banwayaa, Swajal ne?’
‘haan, isi saal’
‘accha, kaunsa? Keede waala? Vermi to mil gaye the na’
‘haan haan, bhaiya bhaat khao’
‘nahi, bas dhanyavad’

As I moved happily little ahead, I met another woman.

‘bhaiyya, mila gaya tha rasta bazaar?’

‘haan’
‘badi jaldi waapas aainch tum’
‘didi, aap yahin rehte ho’
‘nahi bhai, me dehradun rehen, yeh to inka gobar le jaa rahi hun’

I was joyous to know that even though she was from town, she knew Garhwali and spoke Hindi with Garhwali accent and respected people like anyone here in Garhwal. But I was yet to see the other that rude lady. So I asked this one, ‘didi, who jo behenji udhar baithi thi, unka ghar kaunsa hua?’
‘Bhaiyya, who to delhi ki hai, bhai ke ghar aa rakhi’
‘Well, that explains it!’

On my way up, when I arrived at the tap, I saw the uptown woman still washing clothes under the tap. I noticed her hair and dressing style. She was alien. Without saying a word, I moved on.

I guess to respect someone, one doesn’t need to be a villager or city dweller or illiterate or educated. It’s a common sense. The woman from Delhi immediately assumed a higher position for her in the group because she was Delhi. One might argue that the lingo and style that I despise might actually be the culture of Delhi. Well then, Delhi must be culturally very poor and this culture thing is as much clichéd and futile as the undying spirit of Bombay. I wonder even in Haryana, which is supposedly famous for its raw language and habits, people speak this way with strangers.

Yeh dilli nahi ban sakti meri jaan unless it raises it culture quotient.