"To expect the unexpected shows a thoroughly modern intellect." - Oscar Wilde

Wednesday, 21 August 2019

Buzz Fuss


The sun was about to set. The mosquitoes were beginning their evening rounds, buzzing in swarms, droning into my ears and driving me crazy. My brother was doing no better, slapping his arms and legs and flaying wildly to shoo away the aerial attacks. We compared the black halos on each other's heads formed by these revolving pests, as to whose was bigger or more dense! We also argued about whose blood was sweeter and thus more likely to attract attention of these blood-thirsty pests! 
While we thrashed about hopelessly, I observed periappa blissfully immersed in his newspaper ensconced in his deep easy-chair. He didn't seem to be having any problems with the mosquitoes. 
We were in the native place, down south during the winter vacation. It happened to be peak mosquito season, our bad luck and their (mosquitoes) good luck I suppose...exciting to check out the flavors of city blood!😒
We'd doused ourselves from head to toe in the toxic smelling Odomos. The windows were tightly shut to the brink of suffocation, while strategically placed Tortoise coil fumes lent more drama to the scene. We'd even procured a plastic fly swatter (these were pre-mosquito racket days) each and were trying to swat the critters in a vengeful mode. Our theatrics made little or no difference to the aerial tormentors.
These country mosquitoes were nothing like the ones we saw in the city. They were definitely twice the size, probably as big as flies and were not shy, frightened or dissuaded by our tactics. They relentlessly buzzed round and round our heads and any exposed body part. It was rather entertaining to watch the saree clad womenfolk leap a feet high and curse wholeheartedly when the bites dug in at the sensitive exposed midriff. 
Periappa was sitting at the table polishing off his evening tiffin of idli with chutney and sambar, washed down with a tumbler of piping hot kaapi, with absolutely no signs of discomfort. He invited us to join him at the table even though we'd already stuffed ourselves silly with the savouries and sweets periamma had fed us earlier.
I could bear it no longer. I went up to him and asked him about it. How come the mosquitoes did not bother him? What was his secret?
Periappa guffawed delightedly and replied,"Do you see how small these creatures are? Can you imagine how small their stomachs will be? All a little fellow like this needs is a tiny drop of my blood. So I allow him to take that measly drop. Once he's satiated he will not bother me again and I believe he conveys to his pals that I am their partner in crime, so they don't bother me either. Good no?"
I sat down, flabbergasted at this logic. It did seem to work for him. 
Maybe if we stopped taking our aerial attackers so seriously, they wouldn't oppress us as much. A wee bit of blood in exchange for a buzz-free evening seemed to be a good bargain.
(To clarify, this episode is from the uncomplicated, not so prevalent, 'pre-malaria-dengue' days when a mosquito went about biting people on strictly official business, foraging for food and not with the ulterior motive of inflicting unsuspecting victims with dreadful fevers.)
Sadly, large-hearted periappa recently passed away. I think this would be an ideal epitaph for him:
Enjoy life, stop complaining and fighting off your troubles, they'll vanish soon!

In life if we stopped complaining and fighting off our troubles so actively and aggressively, they wouldn't bother us as much. They'd simply follow their own path and fade away in due course.

Glossary
periappa:  Uncle - father's elder brother or husband of mother's elder sister.
periamma: Aunt - mother's elder sister or wife of father's elder brother.

DID YOU KNOW?
20th August is World Mosquito Day

Enjoyed this post? Read more southern-spiced pieces....

The Mami Saga:

1) Common-place Curd Rice


2) Kaapi-ready

3) Of Dangling Drumsticks, Wily Vadus and more


4) Idli Seria Vanduda?

5) Mamievolution


6) Buzz Fuss




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