We had run into rats before, dealt with them and lived with them equally successfully. We had one run across our foreheads as we slept in our bed (on boards) in Bangkok. We learned that there was little that we could do to change certain things and having screens on our windows in Bangkok was one of them. So the rat allowed him or herself in, and we screamed and swore. And we had to live with that too.
Vengurla India was different. By then, we had developed a strategy for mice or rat eradication. It involved cheese and a straw basket with a lid; we created a cheese trail, captured the mouse or rat in the basket, and, at least at first, gave into our no-kill sympathies. (We would let them loose outside when we could.) But by Vengurla, that had changed as we had changed by then.
Instead of using a basket, Peg wielded a big stick. The first rat she killed; the second one escaped, or so we thought. Here was a good example of the American-Indian encounter, when our strategy turned out to be a big mistake; and we perhaps acted differently than we would’ve otherwise. We didn’t have to wait long before we find out how big a mistake it was. The smell occurred within a matter of a day or two; and it quickly became a serious matter. So serious it was that we fled our room, one that overlooked the central market (we would go from there to the hospital). Somehow, it seemed, a damn rat crawled into the cinderblock wall and died. We said nothing, in essence pretended we didn’t know what did the critter in.
Flight. Mistrust led to our thinking. Run. An admission wouldn’t have changed our dilemma; someone still had to punch a hole in the wall. And get rid of the awful smell. Instead of facing it, we walked away. But who knows: they may have taken the blame and given us another room. We could’ve pretended we knew nothing about it. Was saying something better than nothing? Or why didn’t we laugh? Shrugged it off and laughed, and perhaps everyone would’ve laughed it off. Turned it into a funny situation. It was funny enough for that.