Posted by: adventuressetravels | January 6, 2012

Strange Bedfellows

Mice are holy in India.  Well, more specifically rats.  After all, one is Lord Ganesha’s mount.

Don’t ask me how a rotund guy with the head of an elephant fits on the back of a rat, but hey, he’s a god.  I guess if you’re a god normal rules don’t apply.  Either way, rats have a temple near Bikaner, Rajasthan where they are held sacred and given special protection.   India is a very special place.  I didn’t think it had rubbed off on me but one night I startled myself

Lying in my opulent bed in Jodhpur, Rajasthan watching a movie, I noticed that I had a visitor.  A small mouse had crept up to me and regarded me with whiskers quivering.  When he felt my eyes on him he scurried off the side of the bed, but a few minutes later he was back.  We went back and forth with, each time I made the slightest movement my furry friend dove over the side of the bed.

If he had been a sleek cocky mouse, or one of Bikaner’s rats I wouldn’t have felt the same, but the tiny little creature seemed unsure of himself.  A curious youngster just finding his feet who seemed fascinated with the person who was in his bed.  His forays onto my space while the lights were on seemed more like overtures of friendship and they had endeared him to me.

Still, I wasn’t particularly a fan of sharing a bed with a mouse, so when I was ready to go to sleep, I ostentatiously shooed him off of the bed.  Just in case I put my electronics on a high shelf to decrease the possibility of any wires getting chewed.  He didn’t return for good 45-minutes.

Laying in the dark I couldn’t get to sleep.  What if came on the bed and chewed my hair?!  Just as I was thinking this I felt a faint tug on the tip of my index finger.  The rodent was sampling my fingernail!  I yanked my hand back.  Now sleep was all but impossible.  Several minutes later there was a pressure on my forearm.

I sat bolt upright in bed.  A cat or dog nuzzling my arm might be cute but the mouse weren’t on terms that close yet.  I pulled out my sleeping bag, and cowered inside for the rest of the night.

The next morning I told the hotel owner about my unwelcome guest and he groaned.  Mice had come in because of the cold weather and he had already killed 3.  He thought that he had gotten the last of them.

Thinking about it I started to feel pangs of guilt.  I didn’t want to kill the mouse; I just didn’t want to share my bed with him.  Probably other guests wouldn’t quite so understand though and the hotel staff would certainly bring about my mouse friend’s untimely end.  I had to do something.

Now I had several other mouse-trapping incidents under my belt.  Some people go in for poison, others for live traps.  I go for the hand is quicker than the mouse strategy.  In my apartment at university I had evicted several unwelcome houseguests slamming cups over them and turning them out into the cold winter night blocks away from my apartment.

The word must have gotten out in the mousy community because rodents never plagued my living areas again.  Until now.

I lay on my bed writing for almost half an hour before my roommate made his first appearance.  Once again, the moment I moved he scurried away.  I repositioned my arms and went back to work, in no time the mouse was back, coming closer this time.  Slowly I moved my arm, this time it didn’t seem to bother him.  I sat up, and still he remained on the bed.

Slowly, carefully, I put my hand gently over the tiny little mouse and picked him up.  He didn’t panic, struggle, or try to escape.  Quite the contrary, he seemed more than happy to just ride along in the loose fist I made.  Still, I wasn’t going to open my fist and give him the option to escape.

When I thought about it I wasn’t quite sure what to do with him.  He couldn’t stay in the hostel, but I didn’t really just want to turn him out on the street.  Still, the street was safer than a hotel where the owners wanted you dead, I supposed so I took my mouse friend outside.

I opened my hand to reveal a ball of fluff, hardly bigger than a quarter.  He sat in my palm blinking with bemused ink-drop eyes and a terrible case of mouse bed-head.  Not in a hurry to go anywhere, I asked one of the hotel employees to take a picture of me and the mouse.

the He would clearly make a wonderful pet but I couldn’t travel with him, and if my Jack Russell ever found out that I’d been moonlighting with a mouse I don’t think he’d ever forgive me.  But still, the dark alley I’d originally wanted to put him in just seemed like the mean streets.

Ideally I’d leave him in one of the fabric sellers’ stores where he could have a soft warm nest to snuggle in, but with everything closed and the gates shut I didn’t know what was what.  Instead I put my hand up to a hole in a nearby door.  Hopefully the residents were Jain and wouldn’t hurt any life.

Much to my surprise instead of scurry off into the dark hole, the mouse crawled further up my arm.  The hotel employee started laughing – “he wants to go with you!”

As cute as the mouse might be I wasn’t looking for a four-legged travel buddy and gently shooed him off my arm into his new home.

As small as he was, the mouse had made quite an impression.  In this land of reincarnation and spirituality it made me wonder.  Was my tiny friend really who and what he seemed?

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