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I mercilessly wage war on those mosquitoes that have dared sneak into the home-sweet-home with the help of the mosquito-hunter electric bat at my disposal. Not content with gatecrashing where they are not welcome, the wily whatchamacallits go further and start doing the Dracula on me. As if I have blood enough to spare for them. ha! Is it any wonder then that I turn into Jhansi-ki-Rani mode when I espy them doing their item number in my home? Especially so when they, for some strange reason, attack only me and not the L & M?!

That’s what baffles me, this change in preferences. There was a time many years ago when it was the other way around. We’d be at some outdoor place and the L & M would be slapping himself at intervals and muttering curses. Weird behavior for sure. I would look askance at him wondering what the song and dance, rather the slap and mutter was about. ‘Mosquitoes!’ he’d say in reply to my inquiring look, hearing which, puzzled I’d ask, ‘What mosquitoes?’ Obviously those days mosquitoes considered me beneath their attention, and only liked to suck up to him.

I still remember, and vividly so, a night about 29 years ago, when a van, driven by a careless driver, hit the electric pole in front of my mother-in-law’s house, breaking it and creating a dangerous situation with wires hanging low. It happened late in the evening and true to standard, no one from the department would to arrive to set it right (unlike the present when they do respond promptly). The best they would do after frantic phone calls were made, was to switch off power for the whole of that small area of the city.

Great. Awesome. It meant we’d be spending a night sweating it out due in the really sultry weather with no fans to help fight the heat. I can tell you though that in spite, I fell asleep, tired that I was, what with a one-year old to care for and the exhausting heat that saps you of energy.

It was not just the heat and humidity that kept people awake that night in our part of the city, but the jubilant mosquitoes out in droves cashing in on the unexpected windfall come their way. What? No power? Hurrah! This means no fans running at full speed making it difficult for us to fly in and attack those slumbering humans. Tra-la-la-la-la. I believe mosquitoes of other part of the city, when they heard the news, flocked to this particular locality to join the feast, no doubt invited over by generous friends and relatives. Anyways…

Whenever I heard the L & M-made slap-sounds and mutterings of murderous rage, I’d open my eyes sleepily and curiously peer at him through half-closed lids, wondering what the fuss was all about, and go right back to sleep. It was, undeniably so, hot and sticky weather, but one had to sleep, right? The mother-in-law was having trouble sleeping too. As for my son, he would get up at intervals and I’d pat him back to sleep. But the L & M soon took charge of the baby, as he himself was unable to sleep, leaving me free to sleep undisturbed. So the three of them, mother, son and grandson, spent the whole night in the drawing room, the former two intermittently cursing the weather, the electricity board and most of all the merrymaking mosquitoes.

How things have changed. Now the mosquitoes make a beeline for me and leave the L & M alone. I don’t understand this change in their tastes. Tsk tsk tsk. Don’t they realize their standards have fallen from a higher plane to at least one feet lower? Yes, that’s the exact difference of height between the L & M and I. 😉

februaryramblings@shailsnest

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