A Snake that Ratted out on me.

Day after tomorrow is Vinayaka Chaturthi a day when we worship with Gratitude the God that destroys obstacles,Lord Ganesha. He is always portrayed with a snake wrapped around His big belly  riding on a rodent.

It is rather intriguing that both these favourite creatures of Lord Ganesha visited my house during a span of a few weeks for reasons only the Lord Himself would know.

It was 10:30 in the morning on a beautiful summer day a couple of months ago this year. I was going over my family’s endowment policies sitting at my office. My Smartphone started vibrating, and I picked it up, still staring at the screen. “Mohan, there is a snake in the house” my wife Mamatha said with both fear and excitement in her voice.

“What? Where?” I asked her slightly shaken up. “It is a baby Cobra, and it has coiled itself under Rahul’s car. I called Raju, and he is bringing Snake Shyam “she said. Raju has been my newfound man Friday since a year.

A snake enthusiast in my home town of Mysore, Snake Shyam has been featured by National Geographic. I have known Shyam for twenty years. With his large sun hat, multiple rings and beads, he is the most easily identifiable person in Mysore.

“I am coming home right away,” I said, pulling back my chair and picking up my car keys. I drove home wondering about the baby reptile choosing my garage over its mom’s abode. It must have found out that I was a parent who did not believe in discipline and had spoiled his children to no end and changed its mind and ran away from its mother and chose to slide down and hide under my son’s car hoping for my adoption.

Snake Shaym’s arrival coincided with mine as I parked my car outside the house. I shook his hand covered with many large rings as we walked towards the garage. He bent down and peeped underneath the chassis and said “Poor thing is a tiny newborn that has somehow lost the trail of its family and ended up here” he said. He asked for a small stick, and my Gardener gave him the steel rod that we use to pull down the Garage shutter.He craftily pulled the snake and lifted it with his hands. The snake was a tiny Cobra and looked like a newborn that had lost its way. As soon as Shyam pulled it out, it raised its head and opened its little hood. 

“Can I hold it?” I asked Shyam.   “Even a newborn Cobra is as aggressive and poisonous as an adult one,” he said. “I don’t mind,” Shyam said and turned towards Mamatha. “ Amma, Can I give the snake to Anna?” he asked without any mockery. “ NO” yelled Mamatha. “Mona, get back. No Mohan No” she shouted at the top of her lungs. Shyam smiled and let the snake into a small cotton bag and took it away.

Snakes are usually harmless but can be most dangerous if you inadvertently step on them. They can inflict severe physical damage by biting you and their poisonous fangs are capable of doing fatal damage to you. It is best if you consider hiring a professional pest control company to take care of snake menace at your Garden or backyard. They will make sure that these creatures are out from your sight and such that they do not return anytime soon. I went to a legendary snake expert since he happened to be an acquaintance of mine.

 A few weeks passed and Monsoon set in. On a gloomy and cloudy morning as I was driving towards my office a sudden display on my Car display panel flashed that read ”Switch off ignition and check Coolant” along with a blinking red symbol of the coolant level. Since my office was barely a mile away, I drove on, parked my car. I called Raju and asked him to bring a mechanic and a litre of Coolant liquid. 

I sat in front of my desk looking at the sinking Indian stock market numbers as Raju came rushing into my office and said ”saar, go and see what has happened” with a grin on his face so broad that it formed a crease on his forehead hiding his red Tilak. He was talking about the cause of leakage of coolant of my Audi.

 ” What is it?” I asked him, shutting my table drawer and getting up from my seat in my office.

 ”Rats have chewed off the insides of your engine saar” he said softly trying his best not to laugh.At once, the sight of Nagaraj, our Gardner holding the dead 2 feet Bandicoot a month ago at home flashed my mind. I had parked the car on the open porch the previous night and not inside the garage as usual, out of laziness.

I went down with Raju to the parking place at our office and looked at Rat’s own creation with both amusement and wonder. The kind of intricate carving and the geometrical precision of the chewing on the synthetic rubber cladding made me wonder if there were any undiscovered archaeological rodent architectures.

After having charged me 4.5 million rupees for my car the least that the manufacturer could have done was to install a rodent alarm, particularly in India.I called Audi plus in Bangalore only to be told to get my vehicle towed all the way to Bangalore since the coolant was emptying just within a couple of kilometres of driving. ”If the coolant is leaking so much, please get your vehicle towed to our service centre,” said the engineer at Audi. The distance is 160 kilometres, and I can buy two single malts the same amount.

 I left homeward sitting behind Raju on his Motorbike with my mind trying hopelessly to think of a swear word to curse the rodent. The sight of so many parked vehicles on the road made me wonder as to what attracted a snake and now a rodent to choose my humble abode for their unmet needs. The only possible explanation could be that both the creatures had somehow found out my gullibility and affection for those living with me and chose my humble abode.

 Mamatha was waiting eagerly at the gate as if waiting for a tremendous astronomical event, and before I parked the car and got out, she reached out inside and opened the bonnet.

 ”Look what it has done” she said and quipped “expect a bomb of a bill Mona”.

It was a small bomb indeed since it cost Rs. 25,000/- to fix the leakage and the wiring.

India is a warm country with an unfortunate abundance of garbage on the streets of big cities and towns resulting in the rat menace. Even some spotless parts of India face the havoc of the rat wreck that hide inside cars and destroy the essential electrical components and also the interiors. Rats usually chew up wires, hoses, belts, bulb holders, rubber inserts, etc. Chewed through cables can also be dangerous as these can cause short-circuits.

Here are a few simple tips:

A natural home remedy to deter rats is naphthalene balls. Buy a big pack of naphthalene balls and distribute them in your car’s engine bay as well as in the boot area to keep the rats away. 

Alternatively, you can also spray undiluted phenyl in your engine bay which too repels rats.

Another excellent remedy is raw tobacco. First, at a service centre, get the engine bay thoroughly cleaned, then get a generous amount of worst quality, coarse chewing tobacco and sprinkle it in your engine bay.

Keep your parking lot thoroughly free of garbage and disinfect it once every two weeks to keep rats and mice away.

As I prostrate before the Lord, it will take a monumental effort for me ignore the snake and the Rat around the Lord.

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