This is one of those entertaining posts for which I have made a dashing name, you will now smile and shudder alternately. You will wonder whether I am grotesque or charming or both. You will like me a little bit and hate me a little bit more. But you have to agree that things happen to me- I am an adventurous li'l hobgoblin with lucky friends. Yippee. Jack went Rippee!
Now listen. Yesterday was one of those days when everything was a little rainy and odd. It was a damp Saturday evening when three people had nuffin to do, no muffins to eat. They took a bus ride to 8B to eat a chocolate tart, only to discover a dead fly in it. And there the story just began. I wonder whether any of you unlucky souls have drunk tea at the shabbier shanty in 8B? There are two; one proudly claims that he makes a fine blend of Assamese and Darjeeling- and by Jupiter! He is right! But this is not he. This is the other one. The one who looks slightly smug and well-contented. But beware, he is lean. And he is mean.
Why? We were sitting in his shanty (since the other better option was closed.) And the story does not end here either. It hasn't even begun. For then...then the thing fell on Nilanjan. From the ceiling. He jumped up and a squeaky squeal emanated from his throat.
Dibbo: Eeeeeks! It's a lizard!
Ahona: OK!I want to see it!
Nilanjan: Let me brush it off.
Ahona: *Looks at ceiling. Sees a tail. Through a hole.*
Erm. Let us look at this closely.
Ahona, Dibbo, Nilanjan (in unison): Aaaaaargh! It's a baby-rat!
Nilanjan(horrified): What if BabyRat had fallen into cauldron of tea, now merrily boiling? What then?
Dibbo(loud and sarcastic): Rat-flavoured tea. Rats should fall in tea. Makes it infinitely better. Zing, zest. Where else should rats fall? On heads? No! On feet?No! On floor? No way! From the ceiling into tea! Perfectly normal. Perfectly proteinaceous.
TeaMan: No. Lizards should fall into tea, makes the whole thing better for you!
Of course we think he's joking, dear reader. Lizards are poisonous. Heaven forbid we take him seriously. We have drunk that tea on quite a few occasions and we grin with slight hesitation until.....
Suddenly we find that the TeaMan had assiduously found the Rat Baby which was now in its death throes. And he was grinding it with his foot to a pulp. Grind, grind, grind; he went. With that same smug and smooth expression on his face.
My heart lurched unpleasantly. I saw Nilanjan flying out like a ballerina from the shack. One moment he was there, the next moment he was neatly outside with nausea written all over his face. And Dibbo I heard pleading with the man.
Dibbo: Can't you do this later? Can't you do this later? Can't you...
And out he stumbled too. But what I kept noticing was the man's face. And the MotherRat squeaking somewhere. And the BabyRat emitting its final and fatal cheeee. Shit. The entire thing was most Roald-Dahlish, only far more unpleasant. And real.
One last observation. 8B is not for the squeamish. Also I hope that that TeaMan has not had family planning problems with his wife. He gives infanticide a whole new dimension; sinister, smug and self-effacing.
P.S. : I am glad I was not born a rat. I am also glad that my mother didn't build her nest on top of a tea-shanty the owner of which was a raving lunatic with distinct homicidal and infanticidal instincts. I am glad I am Ahona Panda. Or maybe not? *sigh*