This morning, I suddenly realized that I'd adopted 'paradox thinking' to solve a problem at home.
A few months ago, to our horror we began to hear some scurrying noises in our store room (attached to the kitchen). We found 'someone' or 'something' devouring our eatables and biting into some containers as well. My mom then got the shock of her life when one early morning, she ran into a rat in the kitchen. (Unfortunately, she rushed out of the kitchen in a frightened state and had no time for the customary greetings and could not find out where Mr.Rat was from...okay, bad joke :-)) . Much to our dismay and confusion, we then noticed that there was no less than a family of rats in the whereabouts of the kitchen, back-door verandah and the bathroom. We got down to work immediately and bought rat-traps and mild rat poison and had them thrown out in a couple of days. (It was quite a scare to see them rats suddenly popping out of the kitchen or the bathroom and running helter-skelter as if they were out to save the world). My mom then issued strict orders to everyone in the house to not leave the back-door open even for a second as that seemed like the only route for the rats to come in. We all agreed and the back-door found itself in its rightful place most of the time. Screaming at people who left the back-door open even for a few seconds had become the in-thing at home.
Just when we thought we were done with the rats once for all, there was another such attack on the house. We were terrified and confused yet again. There were quite a few family meetings and brainstorming sessions held in this regard (Of course, I exaggerate). In the final meeting that we had that rat season...err...season...my mom stared at me menacingly and declared that it had to be me who let the rats in (As if I'd marked the day and time on my calendar and had gone and rolled out the red carpet right into the store room from the back-door verandah and then waited for the rats while polishing my nails, Huh!). I put up a brave fight while internally entertaining some doubts on whether it was the time when I was brushing my teeth in the backyard and had forgotten to close the back-door.
Having pinned the blame on me, everyone relaxed, while it triggered me off and made me go rat-a-tat knocking on the doors of my mind. It was time for me to get down and do some serious investigation. That was when, I told myself that I needed to use 'paradox thinking' and not just be fascinated by the concept. Why can't it be that the rats are coming from inside and not outside? It sounded silly and ridiculous, yes...but I wasn't about to let go. I explored the store room, kitchen and the bathroom. One thing that caught my attention were the sinks in the kitchen and bathroom! I explored them further (don't worry, I did not put my hands inside any of those sinks) and realized that there was one sink in the bathroom that was not being used simply because it was on the upper slope of the bathroom and the pipe that we used led to a second sink. This sink was almost dry and in fact emanated a slightly bad odor. I gambled with the thought and then submitted a proposal to my mom taking into consideration all my findings. I declared that the rats were coming into the house from that sink and the path on the other side perhaps led to the outside world which was what was, of course, producing the rats. She, of course, shot it down and topped it off by calling me a hallucinator. I guess I did not have the conviction to fight or prove anything. I simply decided to wait for the right opportunity to prove my theory right.
After a couple of days, my mom confessed to me that better senses had prevailed and in solitude, she had later decided to consider my findings. She had locked the bathroom door in the hope of trapping the rats in the bathroom and had actually heard some scraping noises from inside the bathroom door once/twice. She had then picked up an old vessel and put it over the unused sink and placed a brick over it. Bingo - after a few days, she realized that there was indeed someone - Mr.Rat or one of his family members to be precise - trying to topple the brick and vessel over to join my mom and watch the mid-day soap operas.
There have been no rat-problems since then. Or maybe I should say life hasn't been a rat race since then! :) The vessel and brick continue to occupy their place over the sink. Thanks to 'paradox thinking'...! (Unfortunately though, my mom did not reward me for the investigation and findings. But she fondly recalls her encounters with Mr.Rat and his family...)