Of Mice and Monsoons

So for the last week the monsoon has really picked up. Because of that, a lot of new friends have been moving up onto the property from the back field. The snake catcher has been coming almost every other day to come and take away snakes. He came today to search the property for a larger snake since he keeps coming and catching the babies. It wouldn’t be a very big deal but the snakes that we have been finding are poisonous. We also have been catching mice upstairs. We named one of the mice Houdini since he was a great escape artist. I was up late one night. I had gone into the lounge before I took my shower to get some water. I checked the trap, no mouse. I took my shower, got dressed for bed, then went back into the lounge to get a movie. I looked in the trap and low and behold, we caught the mouse. I turned around to grab the movie off the shelf, turned right back around, and the mouse was gone! I stood there for a few minutes wondering if I had in fact actually saw a mouse or if I had imagined it because it disappeared in a second. The next night, the men set the trap again. The food was in it, ready to go. All of us girls went down the CL’s apartment to watch a movie and during those 2 hours, the mouse struck again. This cleaver mouse had somehow managed to eat the food out of the trap but not be caught! By this time, it had become a joke to all of us. So the next day Aruna, who is the house manager and keeps us all very well feed, decided to go and buy a new trap. The new trap was set the next night and in the morning we had a mouse! But the mouse we caught was not the black mouse that I had seen in the cage 2 nights before, so the trap was reset yet again and we caught another mouse! Unfortunately I was not the one to find the mice in the traps so I have no pictures as proof of the mouse in the trap. (None of the other girls think that it is exciting/funny to have a mouse living amongst us!!!) Since it has been wet the frogs have come out in full glory. They are so loud that it drives me nuts while I’m trying to go to sleep, and I live on the second floor! I’ve resorted to putting my headphones in and going to sleep to music instead of frogs.

Besides all of the animal run-ins, I have compiled some inevitabilities of life during the monsoon.

  1. You will get wet. No matter how hard you try to avoid it, no matter how many umbrellas you have, you will get wet.

  2. Rickshaws will try to charge you ridiculous amounts of money to take you anywhere. And once you get to a certain point, you have to just pay it, there is nothing you can really do about it.

  3. Rickshaws will break down. Case in point, today. Today I went down to the bus station to pick up our last group of Americans for the event. (They were supposed to arrive 2 nights ago but didn’t because they missed a connecting flight in London. That meant that they had to rebook their flight to Mumbai. After all of that, when their plane got to Mumbai, it couldn’t land because the runway was flooded. [4. Roads and bridges will become flooded and you will have to drive extra a long way to get anywhere.] Their flight was diverted to New Delhi. They got to New Delhi at 8 at night, got put up in a hotel for the night, had to be back at the airport by 4 in the morning, then got put on another flight into Mumbai. When they finally arrived in Mumbai, we arranged for them to ride the public bus back into Pune. (Their original private bus that was going to pick them up had already come back with the other American group that flew into Mumbai yesterday.) They finally made it to Pune, sans luggage, but they made it! You have to know the back story before I tell you the next part.) So we get rickshaws to take us to Sangam from the bus station. I hop in the first rickshaw to leave with 2 other girls. The guy knows where we need to go, we were good. Well it rained all afternoon today so the roads were not in the best condition. We came to a underpass that goes under the railroad tracks which is visibly flooded. The rickshaw driver stops, contemplates having a go at it, talks to a guy standing next to the water, and goes for it. We get to the bottom, the rickshaw stalls, water comes flooding in, and all 3 of us immediately lift up our feet. Under the bridge were a bunch of kids having a great time watching rickshaws and cars stalling in the water. Our rickshaw driver gets 2 of the kids to help him push us out of the water. We get to the other side. Then we have to wait for all of the water to rush out of the rickshaw. He waits for a little while and tries to start the rickshaw. Nothing. He tells us just a minute (and he keeps calling me Sister, assuming that since he is taking us to Sangam, I must be a nun (it’s a common misconception among rickshaw drivers, that Sangam is a church, but I don’t correct him since it can’t hurt anything by old rickshaw drivers thinking I’m a nun)!!). He goes around the back to check the engine. Does something and tries again. Nothing. So this whole time I’m talking and joking around with the girls, trying to keep them as calm as possible because if I had been through all of that travel hassle, I’d probably break down if my first rickshaw ride was going this way. The driver keeps working on the engine and trying to start it, still nothing. Also during this whole time, tons of other cars and trucks are going through the water, some are stalling out, others are getting through just fine, and the kids are still having a grand old time. Finally our driver comes back to the front and shows us the broken spark plug that means he can’t take us the rest of the way. I pay him the 10 rupees that we owed him for taking us just around the corner since most of the meter time was spent with him trying to fix the rickshaw. The 2 girls and I head out to find a new rickshaw. We walk up the street to find a new rickshaw. And you have to keep in mind, I had no idea exactly where I was but that’s usually, but I do know how to get back to Sangam. We found a rickshaw that knew where he was going on the first attempt. I tried to haggle meter price but he was having none of that since he thought that Sangam was “out of town.” (That is also a misconception among rickshaw drivers. Sangam used to be “out of town” but isn’t anymore. It would be like calling Sioux Falls west of the interstate “out of town.”) Since I wanted to get these poor girls to Sangam, I gave in and we finally got back!

  4. Always take your camera with you even if you are just going to the bus station. (See above!)

  5. New creepy and crawly friends come out to visit you. (Also see above.)

This is my list so far. I’m sure that it will grow as the monsoon goes on. I’ll keep you posted. Despite all of that I’m having a great time. It is a lot of fun being around other girls who love Guiding/Scouting as much as I do. You’d have to like it a lot to come all the way to India! I hope I cheered up your day a little by telling my funny stories!!!!

christa

ps: Have a GREAT 4th of July!!!!!!

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