Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Chronicles of an 'apartment' owner in Bengaluru I: Rats

This entry is one of the first in a series of many (I hope)- titled: 'Chronicles of an apartment owner in Bengaluru'. Mushrooming apartment complexes across the city has lead to a meteoric rise in the breed of apartment owners which in turn has ensured time being spent on a very critical activity (Employers please note: taking up, close to 50% of productive time during office hours) i.e. management of apartment societies where the most common forum is communication on 'e-groups'. Topics ranging from the critical, 'creation of society bye-laws', to the mundane, 'uniform color of the security guards' (!).

I belong to one of the 'newbie' apartment complexes where all houses are still not occupied and hence any issues even obscurely indicating that the 'builder' has cheated the owners are dealt with significant consideration. For instance, whether the builder actually has delivered on the promise of ‘designer landscaping’ (there are people who are working with lawyers, trying to define ‘designer’ landscaping and exploring opportunities for class action lawsuits) are critical issues and need detailed deliberation.

Coming to the point of this post- the infamous RAT from the rodent family. In a country, where a 'hamster' or a cute 'white mouse' doesn’t usually qualify as a friendly household pet, rats typically provoke images of filth associated with shrill screams. (No offence to devotees of the Karni Mata temple in Deshnoke, Bikaner and other rat lovers/ friends / devotees across the world).

A na├»ve resident in my apartment complex was caught unaware when he spotted a rat in his apartment. Opting for the ‘fight’ reflex, in minutes the rat was slayed and the next minute there was an update on our ‘e-group’: ‘I spotted a rat, and killed it immediately, are other residents facing similar rodent issues?’. Within minutes there was a flurry of responses, with tips on how to keep rats away, , how houses with children should get special protection from rats, better garbage disposal and a general consensus that ground floor houses are most at risk.

Of course there are always a breed of wannabes - people on the e-group who contribute by making point less ‘observations’, do not provide any suggestions and just sort of are out there to make some noise and use up free internet bandwidth. As an illustration, a ‘wannabe’ post to this surmounting mail chain (15 posts in 7 minutes): I saw a Rat lurking around the main-gate at night, has anyone else seen rats there?

I had to come up with a creative solution- my response to the mail chain:

In Block 1, there are no 'rats' but 'cats'- possibly the cats are eating the rats saving Block 1 residents from rats, but now we need a solution for the 'cats', which would obviously be Dogs, who are a man's best friend after all- the solution being that our apartment society should open a Dog Kennel/ Dog Spa/ Dog Day Care- (they have a fancy one in Gurgaon so why not in namma Bengaluru!) which would be a source of revenue (for the ever depleting society corpus) and also save us from the 'rats' at the main gate.