Karthik took a deep breath, counted to five and then opened his eyes again only to stare at his tail. At his tail, his dark fur and grubby little hands that had pudgy paws instead of fingers. He touched his face with his paws, he had a snout with a large wet nose, small pointy ears that he could move each on their own. He turned his round beady eyes onto the rest of his body. All he saw was a big brown ball of fur sitting on its hind legs. His mother’s curse had come true! He was reborn as a mouse. He took his thick rope like tail into his front paws and screeched.
He was in a darkened area that was damp and musty. He looked back to see he was at the mouth of a small tunnel.The tunnel looked safe. On the other side he could see a large bright area that seemed to go on for ever. He turned to the tunnel and began to scurry into its safe darkness, No no no no no, what was he doing? He was not really a mouse. He had to find a way to get things back to normal.
He crawled closer to the light slowly, twitching his whiskers, ready to bolt at the first sign of trouble. Slowly, he emerged into the the light. He blinked. He was under the sink in the kitchen. The kitchen felt like an enormous field. The light in the kitchen was switched on and for him it glowed with the intensity of the midday sun. He could hear the morning prayers playing from the Pooja room. It must be early in the morning.
Just then his mother walked into the kitchen. She was gigantic, a leviathan. With her face covered in turmeric paste and large vermilion bindi on her forehead she looked like an ancient goddess. She muttered chants under her breath. She lit the stove and began to make her first cup of coffee for the day.
What was Karthik supposed to do now? He was a mouse hiding beneath his mom’s kitchen.“This is all your fault!” he squeaked at the giant that was his mother, “You cursed me yesterday when you said I would turn into a mouse and now look what has happened!”
He ran around in circles under the sink twitching his whiskers in rage. He stopped at the edge of the sink stood up on his hind legs and continued to screech, “ What kind of a mother wishes for her child to turn into a mouse? Look at Sahil’s mother! He has failed in five subjects in the last exam and his mom still believes that he is going to be the next Albert Einstein. He even gets a monthly allowance. And what do I get for being a topper in my class? I get cursed to become a mouse! Now what am I supposed to do mom? Run down into the sewers and scavenge for my food?”
“I will have the last laugh I am telling you. I will find myself a nice white swiss mouse and marry her! Yeah, I will bring you a foreigner for a daughter-in-law. What will happen to your pure ass Dravidian lineage then? Ruined is what it will be! I will have my honeymoon right here under your sink. I will be screwing your white daughter-in-law while you sing your Sai-baba bhajans in the next room. Yeah, that is what I will do because that is what you deserve for being a bad mother!”
His mom stopped muttering her shlokas and looked around as if she had heard something. Karthik sank back into the darkness of the sink.
His mother started muttering again. She went back to the stove. Karthik noticed she was making his favorite dessert, payasam ,just because he had asked for it. It was a complicated recipe and she would have to slog for hours to make it. But she did it because she loved him. Whom was he kidding, she was a loving mother. He remembered how she had convinced his father to buy him a laptop when no one else in his class had one.The same laptop that he used to watch porn now. And last year when he thought he had unfairly received less marks in history, she had fought a war with his history teacher to get his marks reevaluated. And she always made the best payasam ever! She loved him alright.
His mom was not the problem, actually it was this newfound vigor for her gods. All thanks to that 24/7 religious channel of the Bramhakumari religious sect. The channel was called Peace, ironically! But no one in the house had had any peace since mom had started watching the channel. Now everything was so much more religious and stricter because of the god damned sermons on that god damned channel. Yes, that was the problem, all the several different Gods!If only he could live without all the various God’s, life would be so much easier.
Karthik found himself crawling out of the darkness again, he stood on his hind legs and screeched again, “God damn your gods mom! What kind of a God turns people into mice just because they do not do as they are told? What is he, the teacher of a kindergarten where kids are made to sit in the chicken position as punishment if they do not obey? How does your God get to decide how good a person I am? So what if I do not pray anymore? I do not go around hurting anyone. Just yesterday I helped an old lady cross the street. How is that not a good deed? And what about all the times I did pray as a child? Did that not count for anything? Am I supposed to pray all my life? Even dad gets some holidays from his office time to time. Why can’t your God take a break once in awhile? Attention seeking narcissistic bully!”
“And how is a mouse supposed to redeem itself? What counts as good karma for a mouse? What am I supposed to do, act as a traffic inspector for ants? Or am I supposed to teach a cockroach about safe sex and population control? If I get all cockroaches to follow a one child policy, will I be redeemed then? Will I then get Nirvana?”
“There is only one way to deal with a bully and that is to be a bully. And that is what I am going to do. I am going to bully your God to turn me back into a human.Every time you make prasadam for him, I am going to shit in it. Let’s see how he likes mouse poop for breakfast. And every night I am going to piss on all of his idols. He is going to have warm piss for abhishekam. Let’s see how he likes that!”
Karthik stopped screeching. His mom had noticed him. She screamed, then she took a rolling pin and slammed it hard just inches away from him. Karthik ran for his life. His mom followed scowling at him and banging her rolling pin.
“Mom! It’s me! Don’t kill me!” he screeched and ran. His mom ran behind him.
“Peace! Parley!….truce…woman…truce!” he shouted.
His mom continued to wave her rolling pin.
“Truce…woman….truuuuuceeee….” Karthik shouted.
Karthik woke with a start and a small scream. His mom who had been trying to wake him up also gave a scream.
“Truce!” he said, “I will come to your Pooja!” he said glad to see his hands and face were back to normal.
“Oh! The God’s have given you some sense finally! Good! Hurry up, I have made your favorite payasam!” his mom said as she left his room.
(Image credits: http://i.huffpost.com/gen/820732/images/o-MICE-IN-APARTMENT-facebook.jpg)