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Can we get some privacy here?

Last time I saw it scurry past from behind the TV stand to behind the computer desk, I thought I was hallucinating. The second time I saw it moving across the hallway while I was propped on the toilet seat. I couldnít abandon my job to see if it was flesh and bones for obvious reasons. So I just let it pass. It got confirmed when I noticed half eaten muruku (oily south Indian snack). Pi is known to eat things fully.

My neighbor and I exchanged notes. She saw many more than I did. Since her mother-in-law was in town, the rats seemed to have taken fancy to her cooking and completely ignored my house. HmmÖ sorta insulting.

I tried to complain to the land lady.

ĎNo, ofcourse not! There are no rats in our building, Miss! You are surely going nuts.í

ĎI saw them/it with my own eyes,í I stressed pointing to my eyes.

"Of course you are mistaken. They are not rats! They are mice, my dear," she said with utter thrill. "Rats are yaay big," she offered dimensions of a cat with her hands.

Shocked at this blatant lack of concern for rodent-hygiene, and not knowing how living with mice is better than having rats eat your ration, I was confused. Then the freaky landlady had the audacity to say that I might have imported them from India.

That did it! In India we pay much less for rent, you you...! I filed a petition along with many others in the building who not only saw rats, but even provided them with maternity wards involuntarily.

The landlady came home with rat traps which were placed strategically in every corner that we humans had to be really careful not run into any.

Donít know if it was the traps or the chemicals that were sprayed or my body odour; the gourmet rats were finally eliminated. Friends started coming home; carpets, furniture and murukus were saved. Phew! Can postpone our moving-out plans tillÖrecently...

I wanted to exchange a set of wine-glasses that I got for my birthday. The sales girl opened the box in front of other customers to see if the glasses were all there. Out ran a few unexpected guests. Cockroaches!!! I almost fainted in embarrassment, "Iím sorry. If they donít belong to your store, Iíll take them back. Someone gifted them to me. But the wineglasses are surely from here."

Reaching home, I trained my eyes to notice any more Periplaneta Americana (biological name that stayed in my head from 11th grade). Little tiny ones moving with gleeful abandon on my kitchen and bathroom floor. They started multiplying everyday. Pi and I would exchange gory reports on the kill for the day and revel on the cold-bloodedness of it all. We usually keep our house very clean and donít live in a ghetto as you might have concluded by now. I was getting nighmares of waking up covered from head to toe with yucky roaches taking me to their chief.

"Wicked lady who stays in our house killed our kith and kin with tissue paper."

"Bring out Rowdy Tanrantula, our hired hitman. He haw haw", roared the Cockroach chief.

So landlady was pressured to call the exterminator before she got sued.  The exterminator guy had an interesting way to do his job.

"Take off that table cloth. Roaches love to hide behind that. Remove all cereal from boxes and put them in airtight containers. Get rid of wicker baskets and make sure you eat out more. Try not to use oil and wash your vessels every 2 minutes. Donít keep food in the kitchen."

"Sure sir, how about we seal this kitchen and come to your house for food. Cut the sermon and do something." He immediately started spraying so much toxic vapors that it gave me a nice J-Lo like glow. One insect came out of its hiding to take a stroll, enjoying the fog and mist from the spray. While it stopped to smell the dew, our exterminator reached for my chappal and gave it one big blow and knocked the poor thing out of its intestines. I didn't have too much trouble falling asleep after that, thanks to the chemicals.

If you are lucky enough to hit my page at the right sequence, you will notice cockroaches running amok in an ad at the top. Thatís quite disturbing, which really makes me want to change my domain just like I want to move into another apartment that will not have any more tenants than required.

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