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What animal do you resemble the most? It’s a question that I find a lot of people answering via some online quiz or other. Most people I know are thrilled to be dogs or cats. Then there are the very popular big jungle cats, even wolves and elephants. Eagles also are a big hit. Oh to be an eagle and soar high in the sky and all that, you see.

Whether the quizzes are anywhere close to the truth is anyone’s guess, but the descriptions given are such that each one readily identifies with the one allotted to them, or so one hears them say. I don’t need any quiz to tell me which animal I resemble the most.

I know there are a lot of people who love being fussed over, by parents, spouse, friends…. you name it. Practically ALL Indian males fall within this category. They love being fussed over just like their dear mother did all those years ago when they were exactly eighteen months old. Women are not that far behind either in this matter. I know many of them personally. They want to be mollycoddled. They enjoy being told what, when, where and how.

But, me? Try fussing over me and I might take a hatchet to you. Might. It’s all only in the mind unfortunately, you see, because a civilized human being, which I obviously am, cannot go around annihilating other human beings with hatchets. I HATE when people tell me do this, do that, have you done this, have you done that, eat this, eat that, don’t eat this, don’t eat that, go there, don’t go there… The list goes on. What do they think? That all this will endear themselves to me? How can ANY grown human beings love being treated this way? Beats me!

But

Those who love it can do so all they want. It is none of my business really. All I am concerned about is never having to go through it myself. Sadly enough, those who revel in fussing don’t know that I am made from a different type of stardust. They don’t realise that when they make me their subject, all I want to do (and do so in my head) is scream: LEAVE ME ALONE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I found I was doing that quite a lot. And that’s how I found out I am a porcupine. I don’t know if I was born so, or whether the porcupine soul residing inside me was asleep all this while only to wake up now in my older years. My invisible quills stand on end when people unnecessarily fuss. It is all I can do to stop myself from biting their heads off. Not that I have ever heard of a porcupine biting off anyone’s head.

Apart from their quills standing up to, the other thing porcupines do is clatter their teeth creating warning noises to deter predators. Maybe I should master that skill.

© Shail Mohan 2020