BY HEIGRUJAM PREMKUMAR
The mouse was quite active and courageous. I say it because I vividly remember the experiences I encountered with during the days that I spent with the mouse. I cannot remember when it did enter my room. Yet, the first meeting between the two of us is still fresh in my memory. It was on top of my rice box when I entered my small yet clean and lovely kitchen. When it saw me it did not move nor run. It was still there.
I said ‘hey’ and its tail was waiving at me!
Feeling strange, I moved closer and tried to scare it with a spoon. WOW! It jumped up to the rack and I jumped behind. It was a near escape for me from my head hitting the wall behind. “What the hell!” I felt like shouting.
I felt some sweat in my body. Picked up a hammer that I bought long time back and wanted to scare the mouse like hell.
“But it would ruin my time.” It suddenly came to my sense that hunting the mouse would be futile. An experience from the “Mouse Hunt”!
Then I researched in the internet about driving the mouse out of house- a lesson learnt from a close friend who browsed internet every time a bee bites him! But there were too many confusing prescriptions. Then, I landed on a blog discussing about the behaviour of mouse during winter. They need warmth and food.
Well, warmth and food! Warmth and food.
“How much is that for me to provide warmth and food to another soul when it needs the most?”
“But again, would I risk my belongings for a soul that would never understand my service to it, that would never say a thank you word for my generosity towards it when it needs my help the most.”
“And, again, do I need recognition of my generosity or kindness to offer my help? Do I need to ask for something in return for my service to the one who needs my service desperately? If someone or some soul does not smile back or say thank you for my help, should I feel or show regret for helping him or her or it? Is that smile, the thank you or a return favour a condition to extend my help to one in need? Am I really generous or kind if my help is not free from the string of these conditions? Am I really honest while extending my help?”
The dilemma of “what is the right thing to do” in such a situation is something that we encounter in our daily life yet we leave it unattended and go ahead with whatever we think right without pondering over the question. We, most of the time, judge ourselves, our actions and deeds as the right thing to do, even justify them saying that the circumstances demanded it.
Oh! The mouse.
I decided to give it food and shelter as long as it needs them. I always kept some food aside for it from my breakfast preparation. It continued to enjoy my hospitality.
In the meantime, I used to talk to it when I cook food and prepare breakfast. You may not believe it but that is not my concern. I used to talk to it about my classes, friends I met, the books I am reading, what I like and dislike, what I want to do in my life and sometimes the difficulties that I faced in my life.
I felt really good to have some soul near me in whom I can share almost everything of my life without any judgement. I felt really good to have someone to talk to when I am all alone in the room. You share everything and you are not judged for whatever you do and above all you are listened to.
It was very very good days that I spent with the little mouse.
But it has gone. The mouse has gone. I came to know about its departure only when it was gone.
The day we met for the first time, I decided, after thinking for some time, that I should give the mouse shelter and extend my hospitality. At the same time, I wanted to ensure that the mouse respects my wishes of not touching or tearing some of my things that I think are very important to me. I also feared if there would be any hygienic issues created by its movement all around my room.
Therefore, I politely told the mouse to fulfil few wishes of mine. That is, not to tear my books, not to eat the food I keep separately from the food that I provide for it because both are of same quality, not to climb up my bed, and not to tear my cloths.
Not being able to be free from human selfishness and the ego of being the master of all animals, I also warned- if it does not fulfil my wishes, I would capture it by any means and exile in a far off place. I said these words in such a manner that it should hear properly. I said again and again.
It continued to fulfil the conditions but after around a week it ate my apple and climb on my bed. It tore some of my newspapers as well. Angry, I denounced it with harsh words and committed to search it every nook and corner of my room.
“Why was I so angry, unable to recall my kindness that I was determined to show towards my little guest? Why was I so forgetful of my helping hands that I eagerly extended towards my little companion? Why was I so blinded by one mistake of It?”
I could not find the mouse anywhere. I say ANYWHERE in the room. It left. The mouse left the moment it did not fulfil my wishes.
Whenever I walk on the road and see a dead mouse, I wonder would it be the mouse that used to stay in my room. I don’t want to see the mouse dead. I want the mouse to be alive and live happily throughout its life span given by Nature.
Later, after few days, I came to know that the day the mouse did not fulfil my wishes was the day I forgot to fulfil my commitment towards it. In my hurry for class, I forgot to keep its food to the place I normally do.
But, I was in hurry. I myself did not have breakfast that morning.
Oh, I am still justifying my actions. My selfishness has not left me. I am still a human.