A Mouse Made Me Cry: An experience in India

Sunday, 09 November 2008 19:09 Written by  Priya A. Shah

They are probably one of the smallest creatures that I’ve ever seen (and I’ve seen plenty), but they are probably on the top ten list of things I’m afraid of. I’m well aware that there are probably millions of people that suffer from Musophobia (fear of mice) but there was one precise mouse that I can’t forget—this mouse I diagnosis as crazy!

Of course by now, I’m the one who probably sounds like the nutcase, that’s understandable but let me explain myself before you judge me. December of 2006 I went to India because my uncle on my dad’s side was building a three story house, and it was partly ours. So to witness the birth of this new home, I had to sit on an airplane for about 32 hours. This was my third trip to India, and although many people dream of visiting this country, I was sick of it.

First and foremost, I always feel like an outcast. To them I’m high maintenance, but really I’m just an American. The time-zone is the first thing to deal with. It’s not that bad once you get use to it, but I have to go through it again when I get to Chicago. Imagine falling asleep at 8 or 9 p.m. then waking up at 6 a.m.

Also, I somehow always get sick. I threw up for three days straight when I was there (I think it was something I ate). Then I start to develop a strange sort of eating disorder. I don’t mean to, but the food is just not that same, and neither is the water. I always have to drink bottled. Of course there’s my family, they’re family nonetheless, but they act like they’ve known me all my life. And the weather is another issue. It’s nice to get away from the coldness of Chicago (even though I’m totally used to it) but it’s so hot there, and around December it’s called the rainy season. (It’s sad actually, because some parts of town, the less-fortunate become homeless due to the water flooding their homes). Last but not least; boredom—there’s really nothing to do. Soon I become homesick and this mouse—creepy little mouse just pushed me over the edge.

My uncle, dad, and cousin sat at the kitchen table eating breakfast, and I sat on the small sofa against the wall. The kitchen and living room are pretty much in the same room. It’s on the first level. I could see everyone from where I was sitting.

The mouse crawled around the new house we just built with its little legs. My legs were folded up, and my body felt paralyzed: I dared not move. I was terrified; I nearly jumped out of out of my skin every time that creepy little bastard crossed my path. Everyone just went on about their business like it was nothing. I felt like I was in a mental institution.

It continued to crawl around the room nearly touching the feet of the people sitting at the kitchen table. Its body stayed close to wall, and sometimes came close to where I was seated then ran away way every time I let out a scream.

“Get it out of here!” I pleaded many times, but of course everyone took me as an American fool. I thought it was strange that I was the only one who was afraid of it. I would get responses like “So, there aren’t any mice in America.” My cousin would tease me and say that he’ll pack one of my suitcases with mice and they’ll follow me to Chicago. But all jokes aside, this mouse was crazy. No matter how much I screamed or threw things at it, it would not leave me alone. My other cousin sat on the floor with her six-month-old son in her lap. The mouse even came close to her and the baby. The floor was no place for a baby—especially that baby. That kid will put anything in his mouth if you leave it lying on the floor. I was the only one isolated from freedom. That’s right—that son of a creepy eyed bastard took away my freedom and it just got worse. A few feet away from me was a bed-like sofa and to my surprise the mouse was on it. Then I did something that I didn’t think any mouse could ever make me do: I cried, and like a big baby to. I took homesick to another level.


Photography by GMO Photographer Billy Montgomery

Priya A. Shah

Priya A. Shah

Priya A. Shah lives in Chicago. She graduated from Columbia College Chicago in 2010, where she studied magazine journalism and fiction writing. She has been a staff writer for GMO since 2007. She’s written and interned for various media outlets such as India Tribune, Today's Chicago Woman, Tribune Media Services, GlossMagazineOnline and Echo (the student produced magazine for Columbia College Chicago). She’s contributed to A Fresh Squeeze (afreshsqueeze.com), an online publication for green living in Chicago, and her school newspaper, The Columbia Chronicle.

Priya can be reached at Priya@glossmagazineonline.com or Priyaashvin@gmail.com