Sunday, February 23, 2014

The Late Mid-Night Fiasco

‘Aarghh!!! What was that??’ Jiten screeched in the dead of the night, flicking on the lights at the same time.

He lay on his cot just near the door, a half tattered blanket barely covering him. He scrambled for his spectacles which lay somewhere near his pillow and adjusted them furiously on his now-wide open eyes! In the meantime, Amish who slept on the ground besides Jiten’s cot and myself were also half-sitting, half-slouching on our bedding’s, shooting curious glances at each other.

‘It was surely a crab’ Jiten spoke again, his eyes shuttling between the toe of his leg and all around his cot, under the blanket as also under his flimsy pillow.

‘It can’t be a crab!! It must be a frog! There are so many out here!’ I said, to which Amish just nodded halfheartedly, letting out a disgusting yawn at the same time. ‘Does a frog bite so hard? See my toe; the skin has been peeled off!! There is a small puncture too!’ Jiten retorted.

‘Whatever it was, let us sleep now! We can search for it tomorrow morning!’ Ajit bellowed, the frustration quite palpable in his quivering voice. Ajit was a giant, who got angry easily and someone who was very serious most of the times. Even we, his room-mates, rarely messed with him! He laid at an angle of 90 degrees, in the space between the cupboard and us, his head starting at my bedding and his legs splaying near Amish’s head!!

But Jiten had already decided that he was not going to let whatever it was, to stay in our room any longer. He had already launched the search operation in the room and as if on cue, I and Amish too looked under our sheets and shot glances here and there trying to spot the mischief monger. Ajit had already resumed his snoring after giving his verdict which he must have considered was set in stone!! After a futile search lasting few minutes, Jiten mustered some courage and began to ruffle around Ajit but was given such a terrorizing look that he immediately abandoned any further search in his perimeter!

Finding nothing, we all went to sleep again as Jiten finally switched the lights off.

10-15 minutes later

A shrill cry broke the momentary calm and Jiten put the lights on again.

Jiten looked surprised by what he saw, but at the same time had an I-told-you-so look writ large on his face. I and Amish were almost on the verge of having peals of laughter but we somehow managed to rein ourselves in. We saw a bewildered Ajit crouching on the arm-rest of the solitary plastic chair which lay next to the computer table and near the cupboard. I saw fear in his blood shot eyes. His bald head shone with thick beads of sweat giving him the look of a treacherous fugitive. Never before had I seen Ajit like that, he looked meek and petrified.

I, for a fleeting moment, imagined what would happen if the fragile arm-rest (it had already bent dangerously) gave in under his weight, a slight smile beginning to form around my mouth at the thought! Amish gave me a questioning look as he must have caught my smile and he whispered in my ears, ‘Ajit will bury you alive if you have any hand in this!!’ I sobered up quickly, put on a straight face and replied, ‘No yaar, I am not that mad to put my hand in a lion's lair!’ Amish did not seem entirely satisfied by my answer and stated in no uncertain words, ‘That if I had anything to do with this, then that was certain to cause further mayhem and certainly elongate the late mid night drama that was playing out at 2.45 am in our hostel room!!’

‘S… S… Some... Something just crawled right over my legs. I… I think it’s a snake!’ Ajit managed to croak, looking more and more like a hapless frog that might have sensed the presence of a dangerous black cobra in its vicinity.

At the very mention of a snake, both I and Amish got up with a start and jumped on Jiten’s cot as that was the only high ground available in our room, apart from the chair which was already occupied!!

‘I told you there is something in this room but you would have none of it’ Jiten almost shouted at Ajit, even as he came down from his cot and walked over towards Ajit’s bedding. Jiten was quite a fearless character and he had obviously decided to put an end to this nonsense as early as possible.

On higher ground and feeling relatively safe, I and Amish were almost choking on our laughter looking at how Ajit was perched up precariously on the arm rest of the chair!! I told him, perhaps a bit too loudly, ‘Ever seen a lion scared by a snake?’ ‘Witnessing it live, right now’ pat came the reply from Amish! If Ajit heard the comment, he ignored it.

Suddenly, Ajit shouted, ‘There is something under the cupboard!! I think I saw a shadow move!’ 

All the eight eyes were now transfixed under the cupboard. But it was so dark underneath that we failed to spot anything there. The solitary tube-light in our room flickered for a moment, adding to the tension and perhaps enjoying the bird’s eye view it commanded from the high ceiling.

Jiten picked up Ajit’s pillow which was lying nearby and swept the space under the cupboard. On any other day Ajit would have eaten him raw for such a horrific crime but today he was silent, watching intently!!

We heard a squeak and a small rat bolt out from under the cupboard and before we could make head or tail of it, scuttled out of our room from the narrow opening near the base of our wooden door.

Jiten tried giving a chase and locate its hideout but by the time we opened the door, it had already disappeared into the darkness of our hostel corridor. We immediately sealed the slit in the door with thick cardboard and reinforced it with cello-tape.

Discussing the event, we all had a nice laugh about it. Even Ajit, the Mr Serious, managed a wry grin and laughed at his own behavior!! Even though Ajit always accuses us of exaggeration, but to this day he drops his guard, loses his seriousness, and laughs unconditionally whenever we reminisce that night again, knowing fully well that what we say is the truth!!

PS – This is a true story which happened during my engineering days and all the characters are real. The names have been changed.

PPS – If you like the post and are on Indiblogger, then vote for it on Indivine here -


T F Carthick said...

Ha! Nice one. But actually getting bitten by a rat is a bit of a serious condition only.

disha said...

You had my imagination running crazy ,
Rat ,
Thank god it was not a girls hostel.
All the best !

Chirag Joshi said...

nice post....
i hope you will win

DS said...

@ The Fool

Yeah its a serious condition but whenever I imagine Ajit on that chair arm rest I still suffer from fits of laughter!!

DS said...

@ Disha Kotak

I too think a rat would have caused greater havoc in the girls hostel!! Thanks for the wishes :)

DS said...

@ Chirag Joshi

Thanks Chirag.

Maniparna said...

Oho..poor Ajit :-P...all of you're making fun of him ..and just a rat !!! A rattling and hilarious story...all the best :-)

C Suresh said...

Excellently narrated DS

Unknown said...

LOL..this was funny! I imagine it's also funny AFTER the event but not DURING the event :D

CyberKID said...

That rat would have been quite hungry:))