Tuesday, July 26, 2005

D0604: National Park

He watched her through narrow eyes, judging when she would be close enough to be taken... She moved closer to him, then further, and then closer again, dancing to some unheard cosmic rhythm. She flirted and teased, flitting about just beyond his reach, taunting him to take her... He would wait. He knew his chance would come. When the trance-like movements ended, he knew he would have her. Only a slight shifting of his lithe body indicated his rising excitement... Blissfully unaware of his heightened senses and the small crowd watching the silent battle, she drew just a little closer. Too close. One quick snap of the jaws and two gulps later, he had had his fill...

I watched, fascinated, as a huge lizard ate an enormous moth just outside my room. I'm getting to watch a lot of this sort of live Discovery Channel stuff in my dorm over the last month or so. Even as I'm typing this, my eyes intermittently stray to a weird bug doing what appears to be a figure of eight on my Human Resources Management textbook (Which means it's touched it more in the past week than I have.) This insect seems to have a shiny black back speckled with bright green spots. It seems beetle-ish, though given the depth of my knowledge of natural history, you'd be well advised to bet against me on that one. Elsewhere, a grasshoppery crickety insect is performing a pirouette on my wallet. Yonder, a mini-cockroachish one is scrabbling up a wall in a desperate attempt to prove Newton wrong, watched interestedly by a dark brown spider.

There are so many more lifeforms... mosquitoes with weird stripes on their backs (anti-malarial tablets every week), brilliantly coloured birds, brightly hued butterflies, all manner and sorts of six-, eight-, twenty four- and one hundred-legged insects, a frog (that seemed even more surprised to find itself on my balcony than I was to find it there). Throw in the stray cats and dogs, with peacocks crying in the background, and the only things missing are a coupla big cats and a stall to collect entry fees.

All this is probably due to the heavy rains we had about two or three weeks back, which swamped large parts of the campus. Here's LKP before and after.


Anyways, I don't mind insects at all, they give me company during long nights spent cursing the chap who developed accounting standards. And when I'm not listening to arbit Tamil, Hindi, English and Telugu songs (in that order), their chirping and trilling and fluttering forms a very pleasant background score...

But my love for all insect forms nosedived last week because of a traumatic experience...

I gave my jeans, which were in desperate need of a good hard scrub, to the dhobi who serves my dorm. He usually does a reasonably decent job on my clothes, and I only thought twice before entrusting my beloved denims to his care.

"Kab milega?" I asked him, still clutching the jeans, unwilling to be parted from them.
"Sirf do din, saab," he said.
"Pukka?"
"Pukka milega saab."
"Theek hai, iska khayal rakhna...," I said, giving it a final farewell pat.

Somewhat buoyed by the thought that I would be jeansless for just two days, I returned to what turned out to be a rather productive session of Operations Management.

As expected, he brought back my clothes eight days later. I fell upon my jeans like a starving wolf of the steppes falling upon a plump villager who had been on a month-long holiday. A couple of loving caresses later, I placed it on my bed, ready to wear it to class the next morning...

My class starts at nine. I woke up at eight thirty cursing all and sundry, had a half-hearted bath, crammed my books into my bag, pulled on my jeans, locked my door and rushed off to the mess. Halfway there, however, I felt a strange sensation in my pants. A... scratchy sort of feeling. It made my skin crawl. What's worse, it literally felt like something was crawling on my skin! All thoughts of a refreshing and much-needed dosa abandoned, I rushed back to my dorm, barged into my room, slammed the door shut and ripped off my pants. (I wonder how many women are swooning as they read this...)

I adjusted my specs which had gone askew in all the excitement, and peered into my pants (a picture of this would make an awesome topic for an abstract GD!). And my breath caught in my throat as I beheld... ants! Not one, not ten, but a rough estimate indicated their population was somewhere in the region of 2.3 million (OK, give or take about 2.299 million...). It was an entire bloody colony there in my jeans. I had no doubt that the queen was churning out hordes of them even as I stared at the ant farm in mute shock.

Practical considerations saved the day. Fascinating as it was to contemplate spending four hours in class with ants in my pants, it was more fascinating to think of the ways in which my grades would suffer if I turned up late for class. I let out an expressive oath, grabbed a spare pant that had suffered use for the whole of the previous week and ran all the way to class...

As a result of this life-altering episode, I am firmly anti-ant at the moment, and until an ant saves my life or helps me pass an Economics paper or performs some such miracle, I am unlikely to feel any warmer towards the ant community at large.

Just a little something to end this post - if I had been bitten or harmed in any way by the ants, what medicine would I have taken? Antibiotics!

25 comments:

P said...

awesome post da! please don't go into so much detail next time you write about insects and ants!

Antibiotics! I swear I saw that coming!

Divya said...

yeah prashanth is right. You put Gerald Durrel to shame.

Anonymous said...

>>>somewhat buoyed by the thought that I would be jeansless for just two days

struting around naked in a mens dorm is uplifting? my opinion of u has taken a nosedive.:-)

ants aren't that bad .so why the antipathy?(a tribute to the god of 'pun'ishment)


FBCAP

Anjana said...

The prev guy's 'uplifting' comment has a lot of scope. And enough of your antics! :)

Oka the irrepressible said...

Hilarious !!

akshay said...

ok i've got a corollary to the ant 'joke'...
How does one take preventive action against such occurances??
Use insect repellANT
Sorry about that one... (Hell this is AC! what am i sorry about?)
Also... I pity your roommate (if any).. and also the ones in the next few rooms!

Thoku said...

Good one...Fuchcha how come u hv the time for such a long post???
Prepared for the HR quiz tom??
:-)

Ms. V said...

I'd give anything to be able to write like you! You write brilliANTly.

I hate insects. Even butterflies. Yuck!

I had a similar "ants in my pants" episode happen to me. Unlike you however, I screamed on the top of my lungs, ran into the bathroom and poured countless number of mugs of water onto my legs.

And by the way, I for one, am not complaining about the details! ;)

meera said...

firstly...the buildings..LKP(i have no clue wht they stand for) look so much the better for the rains..
secondly...hahahaha...my brother had it happen to him...but this was more the case of the centipede or millipede thing mistaking him to be an extension of mother earth i think.....

Divya said...

@Meera - LKP stands for Louis Kahn Plaza

@AC - i had completely forgotten about the peacocks in A'bad.WE used to have so many in our colony.. Strangely the peacock's call sounds like a cross between a cat's very loud meow and a baby's cry.Used to freak me out...

Leon said...

A pleasure to read.. :-)

Hari said...

Antibiotics... anticipated that one... and class at nine... man lucky u!!! This place is an entemologist's delight too

Random Access said...

sooper machi.. chinna raasave chitterumbu unnai kadikidha... Yeah, I am also unimpressed by the understandably underestimated underwear underworld. It started out in Italy..and I dun wanna hazard a guess how it got the Indian connection!

Random Access
The search has just begun !!!

Nandan said...

Dude if u got bitten by the ants make sure u see a doctor u might just have anthrax ^_^
and as roach said no apologies

Jet said...

Terrific post. I've had a few unfortunate ant encounters, be thankful you weren't bitten. Nasty little buggers.

AC said...

I think I've violated blogging etiquette big time. Not only have I not put up a post for a week, I haven't even visited my blog! Sorry for the delay, folks... Here goes!

Thanks Pps and Divya :) I'm surprised u didn't put a couple of puns urself!

And FBCAP, "jeansless for just two days" doesn't mean clothes-less! And if ur visualizing me in the buff, I suggest u stop! (Hard as it may be to tear your thoughts away from this finely sculpted body and bulging muscles ;) )

AC said...

Way to go, Anjana, Roch and Nandan! I'm v proud of u!

Roach: No roommates, but 16 others in my dorm who I'm introducing to my PJs... got bumped quite a few times already!

Oye thoku, tu be fachcha hai, jao muglo!

Thanks Ms. V, Leon, Jet! Thinking about it, I would never have thought of writing a story about ants if it hadn't happened to me... life is so much weirder and unpredictable than fiction!

AC said...

RA: Italy?! I think I'm missing something here, where does Italy come into all this?

Hari: Why, when r ur classes? And don't be too oh-lucky-u, coz we both know I have to work more! :)

To Meera and the world at large... LKP is, as Divya said, Louis Kahn Plaza. Named after the chap who built IIMA, it is a large expanse of very green grass, framed on three sides by tall brick walls. It's a beautiful place to just hang out with friends or play football in the rains.

Ms. V said...

RA was talking about your previous post - "the underwear blues"! So he said the trend started in Italy, and I don't think I need to make the connection of Italy to India :p

Waise, RA, you owe me one for clearing this up for you, so now we're even ;)

RagDoll said...

Since I forgot to Blog mark you last time, I am going to just add you to my must reads link. If you mind, I'll take it off.

I think karma is sneaking up on me, because I just laughed for a good 5 minutes after reading this. I DETEST insects in multiples. WHY didn't you inspect your jeans first? LOL. Anyhow, it made my morning. Great blog.

Random Access said...

haha...Ms. V, I have to be way too careful handling your pensive tenacious counter-offensives !

Random Access
The search has just begun !!!

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