It has not happened for a while.


Rats, snakes and mice, yes, but it has been a while since I have had a close encounter with a cockroach.

One rode into my room last night on the supper tray. I did not notice at first, it was being discrete, but suddenly an overwhelming desire to swim in the dhal gave it away.

I remember being in a hotel in Bombay where there where so many of the little beasties that I had to sleep with the light on to keep them hiding. Another time, under a mosquito net, very carefully tucked in, in Mahabalipuran, I woke to find a very large one sipping from a pool of perspiration in my belly button. Yummy! Such fun.

I have not named last night’s interloper, but for the sake of better writing let’s call him Bob. Bob was difficult to dissuade from launching into the hot, soupy mixture, but a little nudge, (I will only kill mosquitoes) got him to wait patiently by the tray handle.

I finished my supper with a sense of urgency but no real flavour of disgust and then had to find a way to open the doors and get the bloody thing outside without holding the handles. I did it, leaving the tray next to a hastily discarded rat dropping.

Funny what becomes normal here.

Once, in the South of India, we stopped at a beach restaurant for dinner. The table was being cleared of it’s previous occupants waste by a thoroughly efficient team of cockroaches who gathered up the last few crumbs and left.

We sat down under the thatched umbrella over the table and had a delightful meal. It was only when the ice cream came that I noticed Baptiste was being a trifle odd. He was eating the pudding, but keeping his head up.

A rat in the thatch had peed onto his head and he did not want it to drip into the bowl.

Seemed perfectly reasonable to me.