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A pet by accident

White Pet Mice  

I enjoy watching Tom and Jerry cartoons and cheer Jerry, every time he scores. I have watched the adventures of Stuart Little, quite forgetting that Stuart was but a pint-sized anthropomorphic mouse. But a mouse, in flesh and blood, inside the house petrified me disproportionately.

The small hole in one of the tomatoes in the basket set the alarm bells ringing. It was clear evidence of a rodent bite.

The mousetrap borrowed from the neighbour was dangerously rusty but I managed to pin the coconut bit to the hook and set it up by the kitchen sink. The next morning as I tiptoed in, I saw the trapdoor of the box held up, as I had left, but not the coconut. After three more nights of losing the bait and the battle, I returned the trap. “We too didn’t have any success with this,” the neighbour admitted. “Finally, we got a sticky mat from the medical shop and the mouse got caught within a day. When the rat steps on it, it gets stuck.”

My stomach churned thinking about the trauma the stuck creature would undergo. And my revulsion for the rodent turned to compassion. From then on, my last job for the day in the kitchen was to leave the extra roti I had made, by the sink. With unfailing regularity, it disappeared and I started the day with a smile. It was now my mouse. I named him Templeton, after the gluttonous rat in Charlotte’s Web.

“How do you know it is a he,” my son asked. “One of these days she might find a cosy spot in your friendly kitchen for her nursery!” Musophobia took hold once again and I had the opening at the exhaust fan sealed.

But I continue to leave some food out, every night, for Templeton.

No one in our family ever had a pet at home, let alone cuddled one. As such, we won’t make it to the animal lovers’ list. But we affirm the right of all animals to live in their spaces, as nature ordained. And that, as the Ancient Mariner said, is prayer at best.

kamalabalachandran199@gmail.com


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Printable version | Jul 25, 2021 9:45:45 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/opinion/open-page/a-pet-by-accident/article34857258.ece

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