Ri and I got home last night after a family dinner. SSM was not in town. Mother in law was away. It was one of those days when it was just Ri and I alone in the house. It was way past Ri’s sleep time; nearing my sleep time. Which means it was really late. Hence we both were tired.
I asked Ri to get his shoes off while I go freshen up in the bedroom. Now, in the bedroom after freshening up as I was staring at myself in the mirror, (I like doing that at the end of the day to see how awesome I am. I rarely do that when the day begins) I thought I saw a slight movement behind me. I turned around sharply just to notice to my horror a BIG, HUGE, FAT, UGLY, ENORMOUS cockroach creeping out of the bedroom towards the living room.
With great difficulty I stifled a scream so that I do not startle Ri. (NOTHING in the universe frightens me the way cockroaches do. Nothing. Not even clowns with pink hair wig – they are a close second though.) But just then Ri started walking towards the bedroom AND he too noticed the cockroach creeping out.
Rihu screamed, “Mama, arshola (cockroach in Bengali)!” And he screamed again and again and started crying loudly. I panicked in the bedroom and started screaming as well. Amidst all the confusion, the cockroach panicked as well and turned around and got into the bedroom, towards me. So I jumped on the bed; got off from the other side and rushed out to where Ri was.
I hugged him tight and we both started shouting. We did that for what seemed like eternity and then we both then got on to the couch calming each other. We waited for a while till I realised that I needed to put up a brave front in front of Ri. I told him, “don’t worry Ri, Mama is here, I will shoo the cockroach away. You stay here; on the couch, don’t move, alright. And do not be scared if Mama screams. Mama is screaming only to scare the cockroach away, alright? He nodded his head in affirmation.
I then tiptoed towards the bedroom and peeped inside. The damned creature was right there; near the mirror; staring at me; wickedly - that look just before the attack. And... then what happened... was the mother of all horrors. THE. COCKROACH. FLEW. IT ACTUALLY FLEW. We all know that even the creepiest of horror films cannot beat a flying cockroach. I screamed for my life and ran back on to the couch dripping in perspiration.
I was glad I had prepared Ri for the screaming. He seemed very calm and asked me if I had managed to scare it away. “No,” I replied, “but we will do something about it, Ri. Don’t you worry. For tonight, though, I think we should just sleep in the other room. Let us keep the bedroom closed tonight.”
“No,” said Ri as he stared at me. “Get rid of the cockroach. We sleep in the bedroom.”
By now, Ri was pretty composed and I was freaking. I said with faked confidence, “okay, I will. don't worry, we are fine, mama is brave, mama will kill it. You stay right here.”
I picked up a can of Hit spray (Godrej has not paid me anything for this post and yet I shall say that Hit is the second best invention made by man ever, first being the seam ripper.) and walked with great stealth towards the bedroom. I could have done with some Pink Panther music in the background. I looked around in the bedroom but the beast was not in sight. A flying cockroach not in sight can be the most petrifying thing ever. You know that it is watching you from somewhere in a crude and offensive way, ready to charge when you are least expecting it. AND you can’t see it. Spine-chilling!
I closed my eyes tight; aimed the nozzle towards the mirror where I had last seen it and sprayed with all my might. I then ran out of the bedroom and waited for a while. Ri gave me a questioning look. I shook my head. He seemed dejected. I walked into the room again; shut my eyes; sprayed at another nook and ran out again. I repeated this action numerous times. The cockroach was yet not in sight.
Exhausted, I sat next to Ri on the couch. Ri asked, “what do we do now, Mama?” The kid really asks intriguing questions at times. What do we do now? WHAT THE HELL DO WE DO NOW? I was freaking out again. I took a deep breath and thought.
“I have an idea, Ri,” I said. “Let me get the moshari (mosquito net in Bengali) out. We will sleep in the moshari. That way the cockroach cannot get in”
Ri nodded his head and said, “bhaalo, bhaalo. Good idea.” (Moments like this always make me give him that quizzical look as I wonder if he is my great grandfather reincarnated.)
Again I asked him to stay put again (I have no idea why I kept doing that) and I went in to the bedroom. No sight of the cockroach. I almost jumped from the door on to the bed. (The floor was slippery from all the spray.) I poked around the bed and the pillows to ensure that it wasn't anywhere on the bed. I then got the moshari out from the box and fastened it up. I tucked it in tightly to make it totally cockroach proof. Then I got off the bed and rushed out to Ri. Kudos to the kid for having patiently sat there on the couch all this while as he amusingly observed my movement and panic.
He refused to walk back to the bedroom so I carried him and plonked him on the bed in the moshari. Running around the house I collected his night clothes (Ri's, not the cockroach's), wet towel, bottle of water, and rushed into the bed. After sponging and changing him in there I told him that I will go switch off all the lights and get back. As I was about to leave the bed, Ri pointed towards the door and shouted, “Mama, arshola”. I turned, slowly, with blood shot scared eyes and there it was near the door dragging itself out.
The creature was heavily drugged with all the spray on the floor. It tried to fly but it couldn't. My mind said, let it be, it will die any moment now. But my heart, my heart refused to believe it. Creatures as monstrous as this could be very tough and not die easily. What if it revived itself once out of the bedroom and attacked again? No, I couldn't let it go. It’s almost dead self had made me brave as well. This was also my chance to show Ri what a heroic mama he had.
I got out, picked up the spray that was lying by the bedside and I sprayed with all my might on the cockroach. It managed to crawl all the way into the living room under a chair and I followed it with the spray, spraying continuously. Finally it died. It upturned struggled with its legs for a while and and then became still. It stayed there under the chair. Stone dead.
I turned around, took a step towards the bedroom and then I turned back I looked at the dead cockroach with disgust, and like they do in films where the victorious hero turns around and shoots the remaining bullets at the dead villain, I pointed the can at the dead cockroach and sprayed till I emptied the can.
I walked with the Rajinikanth stride back into the bedroom, smiled at Ri, gave him a high five and said with great attitude, “Mar gaya, saala.”