The Genesis of The Mouse Trap
I first wrote a draft story titled “The Mouse Trap” in the year 2002. As expected, it is still in the draft stage:-) and I look forward to finish it within the lifespan of this blog:-)
I took it as an apt illustration for my CogSci blog as I believe it hints at my other idiosyncrasies : interest in astrology or occult, interest in literature and above all interest in the battle of the sexes!!
So am starting the blog with snippets from the still-in-making short story that inspired the name of this page.
( I was delighted recently while watching a movie adaptation of Hamlet and it dawned to me that Hamlet had used “The Mouse Trap” as the name of the play he staged for his mother and uncle. What a co-incidence that I refer to Hamlet’s famous line “To be or not to be…” In this story)
So here are excerpts from the short story:
The Mouse Trap
The mouse lay in that room, unaware of the cat, never fearing that cats could exist and gently bringing magic to the lives of other mouse, bringing a smile on their face and moving around a lot in all the other rooms, making friends and whiling her time away. Whenever she had a lazy afternoon all by herself, she felt so selfish and miserable at her selfishness, that she made up to it, by moving around a lot with all the other mouse on the next day. But this evening was one of the days when she was exhausted from her constant caring about other mousses, and was feeling a bit indulgent (and a byte more selfish and guilty).
She saw the cat and she closed her eyes, for she knew that if you close your eyes cats do not exist. She was pleased at her intelligence and opened one eye slowly and surely to check if the cat exists. Of course it did…and it was all the more nearer. She started dancing, desperately trying to lift her blues and manage her emotions in the face of crisis. She knew this was a wheel of life and if she was so close to being eaten, in some time she’ll be back to lying lazily in the sun. What goes up also comes down. And being the Just one, she thus justified, her guilt when she was enjoying the sun….
“Well you know, you are such a handsome and big cat. Don’t you think you are doing something wrong by attacking me?”
The Cat was flattered” Oh yes! Yes! I am big…no doubt about that. But….u r so beautiful, don’t you think it will be just right that cat as big as me should have a mouse as beautiful as you”
This was firm logic, and the cat could not deny it. Besides, she was pleased on being called beautiful “ you see its like this….you need to eat me…and I need to run away….your attacking me is fine on your part, on the other hand wont it be unjust if I did not defend myself”. She had already sized up her opponent and was all thrilled by the competition that and conflict that lay ahead After all “Isn’t it the competition that makes the Victory worthwhile”
The cat stood there amused, seeing her take arms and move from one corner to other and then he noticed that there were two exits, close-to-each-other from the room. He positioned himself, such that if she took either of the roots, he would be able to reposition quickly and she will walk straight in his jaws.
The mouse saw the two doors and knew that safety lay behind them and no matter which door she chooses, she will be safe and victory was all hers. Yet she could not decide which one was better. She closed her eyes, and moved first towards one door and then towards the other and kept doing so till she forgot whether she was in front of the left door, or the right door, or the wrong door, or the door that was left. So she stood in deep trepidation (& meditation), and realized that the issue involved were really simple…it was whether she wanted to be eaten or not. Once she realized that, she moved straight out of the door that was in front of her.
Meanwhile the Cat who had been repositioning himself, each time she moved one way or the other, had got a much needed respite during her time of meditation and to overcome his own confusion had rested in the middle of the two doors ready to catch her whichever way she took., but he was so bored up by the time she made her mind, that he dozed off to sleep, and she went past him confidently with her eyes closed and straight to another room, where there was a party that was going on and she forget all about the Cat as she started dancing once again.
The cat was furious and wanted to chase her all the way to the room in which the mice were partying, but he knew that she would have become quite popular by now, and he’ll have to face an army of hostile mice, so he ventured forth to a room that looked as if it had been recently overhauled and transformed. The mouse was still bus peeling off old plasters and repainting them with another hue.
When she saw the cat enter, she was already on her guard. But she knew she could never be defeated, nor could someone know better how to handle such a situation. But she was not sure whether it was a cat or a dog in cat’s clothing.
“Stop there”, she thundered, “Are you cat or dog ion a cat’s clothing. Fear not me, for if you are a dog, you need not cover yourself, but if you are a cat indeed, I ought to know your motives for entering my den.”
The Cat didn’t reply. He just purred. Then he said in a lame voice “I have come to kill you”. It sounded so funny. He was sure the mouse would laugh. But the mouse stood there with the stern look in her eyes. “You cannot fool me. That is not the real reason. Come on. Tell me. Out with the truth.”
The cat didn’t say anything but started advancing. The mouse suddenly pulled a rabbit mask over her face and said in a seductive voice” Why do you want to eat some stupid mouse, when a rabbit is available”….as the Cat advanced towards the rabbit, she again pulled a mask and this time she was a frog “ Frog, I’m sure you know , are a delicacy…and more tasty than rabbit or rates…but tell me what do you want”…thus she kept him confused, pulling masks of different shapes and sizes…and she never waited for an answer. Suddenly, it appeared as if she was transformed and had finally decided to trust the cat and let her steam out. She broke in a passionate discourse over “How mice keep fooling themselves that cats are after them, while all cats want to have is some fun” and speaking so she leaped in one Jump and ( by this time she was almost in reach of the cat), gave him a passionate kiss on the lips. The Cat felt weak in his knees, and found his entire grip melting away. And in no time the mouse had run herself to safety in the next room. And she stared from there towards the cat with an ominous look in her eyes. The cat shivered form the apprehension of things that were to come and decided to go elsewhere.
The Cat darted into the next room and found no one. He was about to leave, when something fell out of the ceiling.
“Oh dear me! What were you up to?” the cat started advancing even as he drawled.
“I was pondering over the mysteries of the sky and what better ways than to climb onto the ceiling and gaze at the sky. I suspect, a thunderstorm is coming tonight”
“Isnt the room covered, I see a ceiling instead of a sky.” The cat was advancing all the time, keeping her engaged, but yes he was cautious and even reluctant, for he was not sure what he was doing here. He wanted to ask the mouse the same but he said instead” What did you find in the sky?”
“Oh! I couldn’t see the sky. There was a cobweb in the corner of the ceiling and I got caught up in it. I had to first walk through all the myriad of threads of that web and only then could I move on. I hope you understand.” The Cat’s expression didn’t look any close to comprehension, so the mouse explained” The web of our life is made up of mingled yarn –that was said by Shake Chilli, and he was so right. Sheikh Chilli had a way with webs…”’…the mouse continued backing away inch-by-inch as the cat advanced and this infuriated her, for she was getting distracted from her prime task of explaining all the silken threads she had discovered and how they gave meaning to life, by this constant bewilderment on who the cat was and what he wanted from her? Suddenly, she stopped mid-way, with an unfinished thread still hanging in the air, as she exclaimed, “ you are a Cat and you are out to kill me”, the matter so settled, she was now at ease , and stopping her retreat,, once again got immersed in her web.
The relief was mutual. For the Cat too, reassured of his motives, did not find any room for hesitancy now and pounced on her in one leap. She had finished the excited narration of her discovery of how the sky indeed exists (and how she had accidentally discovered it one day…and had forgotten all about it until she remembered it today) and how you just have to touch the ceilings to listen to the sky and so on and so forth…but seeing that this was not having any effect on the Cat, she decided to go on the offensive. For she thought it highly unjust. That a Cat should kill a mouse and on purely Ratatarian grounds decided to intervene. Though her concerns were limited to the rats that inhibit this earth, she didn’t mind pulling a few cats out of her bag to save Ratanity. So she pulled forth a litter of them and started her discourse
“Why don’t you form a group of Cats and to feed each-other, decide to die by draws! That would make perfect sense…alone you may never be able to feed yourself, but as a part of a big group of like-minded Cats, you will be able to solve your problems! We do the same for rats here. I once discovered a prophet who told me that we must all unite to redeem ourselves and from that date I have been bringing like-minded rats together and spreading his message of truth…Of course being an inventive little mouse I had once built a safety-trap to escape from Cats. And I can easily save myself and escape to safety, but how can I forget all my other brethren who will perpetually live in danger of being attacked by the Cats and all you lost Cats who would be in danger of losing their souls by eating more mice. I am not afraid of dying, for dying is just as certain as sunset and sunrise. But I get saddened when I think about you. Don’t you realize you have eaten enough mice and now is the time to go to Haz? So listen to me. Do not do what the real you doesn’t want to do, and reflect whether 10 years from now, you will feel good or bad about all the mice that you have eaten and the Haj pilgrimage you have not taken.
“To eat or not to eat, that is the question,
Whether it’s nobler in the stomach to suffer
The stabs and pangs of outrageous hunger,
Or to take a Haj pilgrim instead,
& by getting stampeded, end them”
I am such a fan of Shake Chilli u know….So think and think deeply…Its all in your hands… how do you want to feel 10 years from now”
“I’ll just like to feel not hungry” said the Cat in a miserable voice, for he was starting to feel the pangs of conscience and hunger at the same time.
Just when he was about to put her in his mouth, she suddenly enquired quite innocently “why do cats have whiskers? Funny you never notice things of importance unless they stare you in the face” and she was so tickled by her joke that she laughed at her own naivete and broke into a smile that was graced by all the stars in the sky.
The cat was lost in her smile (for it stretched form one corner to the other (of her mouth) and then to his astonishment continued spreading further until it filled the whole room and enveloped him too. Thus as the smile kept spreading and turning and embracing him, he found himself caught up in it and felt a bit lost in all those dazzling loops), when she brought him to his senses by repeating the question on whiskers.
“Well….ummm” the cat muttered trying to find an answer.
Suddenly, a bolt of lightening hit the ceiling and a crack the size of two eyes appeared in the ceiling. The mouse shrieked a cry of excitement and jumped from the Cats paws to take a look at the skies. What she saw drew her towards it with such a force that first her head, then her neck, and then her stomach squeezed through that tiny space, and disappeared from the Cat’s view, until finally as the last of her tail disappeared, the Cat was again brought to his sense by her departing words “The Cats have whiskers, so the good mouse can see the sky. And the sky is beautiful and worth seeing, and I’ll comeback after counting all the stars….and then her voice got lost and she became so fascinated by the sky that she forgot all about the Cat and the mouse trap.
PS: Endgame: Can someone identify which sun signs the 3 mouses refer to? The original idea was to depict the typical courtship behaviour and attitudes associated with a Sun Sign.
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