The highly desired profession of rat killer

Ah, government jobs. People will do anything for them. A Mumbai man had been trying to get one for 19Bhende
years  — he even slit his wrists to get attention — and was finally rewarded recently.

Kishore Bhende, a Ghatkopar resident, received his
confirmation letter last week as a permanent employee. Bhende had
cleared the written and practical examinations for night rat killers
six months back and was appointed as a Night Rat Killer (NRK) in BMC’s
pest control department. [Link]

Written and practical examinations for night rat killers? I didn’t realize you needed professional qualifications to catch rats. I thought you just needed to set traps, use poison or play a musical pipe.

I wonder what type of questions he had to answer. Where is the best place to look for rats?  (A) In the sewer. (B) Under cars. (C) Inside law offices. (D) On the branches of trees. (D) In the kitchen of fast-food restaurants. (E) At your nearest pet store.

According to pest control officer Deepak Adsul, Bhende got the job on
merit. “Looking at his work, he can even be promoted,” Adsul said. [Link]

He does good work. When he brought the rats to us, they were all dead. We are thinking of promoting him to DRK (Distinguished Rat Killer). Of course, he will have to pass more examinations.

Bhende
too seems to be enjoying his work. He says, “My work starts at 11 pm
and finishes at 4 am. When the city is largely asleep and the rats are
out on their nocturnal rounds, I wander around localities in South
Mumbai and catch at least 30 rats to meet my daily target.”

On Thursday, the 39-year-old Bhende succeeded in
catching 35 rodents from locations near Crawford Market, CST and Bora
Bazaar.[Link]

That may seem like a lot of rats, but he’s going to have to catch many more if he wants to be selected as Rat Killer of the Year. But perhaps he has other standards. Perhaps he’s one of those people who keep telling themselves, "It’s not quantity — it’s quality."

If
Bhende gets more than 30 rodents, BMC gives Rs 5 as incentive on each
extra rodent. But if he fails the required 30 rats, then the next day
he needs to put in extra effort to make up for the previous day’s
deficit.

However, if the dead rodents are less than 25, then the BMC does not accept them and he has to dump them in a bin. [Link]

The rats can’t be less than 25? I guess that makes sense. We really shouldn’t be killing young rats.

If you enjoyed this piece, you'll love Melvin's novel Bala Takes the Plunge, available in North America through Amazon.com and McNallyRobinson.com You can also find it at major bookstores in India and Sri Lanka or online at FlipKart, IndiaPlaza, FriendsofBooks or other sites. A number of readers have written reviews of the novel. An excerpt of the novel can be read here.

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