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Killing is fun when it’s for a cause

Saturday, 15 December 2012 - 8:00am IST

Today’s Twitter generation of mosquitoes have shorter attention spans, and they don’t have the time or the patience to be slowly suffocated to death by poisonous fumes. They’d much rather die of the electric swat.

People who know me well would testify that I am a meek, amiable, and peaceable creature, not given to acts of violence and bloodshed, especially during daylight hours. But then, as you may have read in the papers, people change. And in the last couple of weeks, I have seen myself change — from a gentle peacenik into a bloodthirsty mass murderer — and all for the greater common good.

It all began with this mosquito swatter I saw at the local supermarket. This happened shortly after I had read about the death of a powerful movie mogul at the hands of a dengue mosquito. This man’s death affected me deeply, and I had barely recovered when Arvind Kejriwal came out of the closet and identified himself as a dengue mosquito. I had no choice but to arm myself with as much knowledge as I could get my hands on about this creature and the virus it carried.

I learnt, for instance, that ‘dengue’ is the name of the virus and not the mosquito. The mosquito that gave you dengue is apparently called Aids – don’t ask me why. And how do you distinguish a dengue mosquito from a ‘normal’ mosquito? By looking at legs – the mosquito’s legs. As someone with ample experience in this department – it was simply a matter of redirecting my optical reflexes – in no time at all I became an expert at racial profiling of mosquitoes and identifying the dengue ones.

Just for your information: a dengue mosquito looks like what an ordinary mosquito would look like if it wore black and white striped pyjamas – that’s how its legs look like. And the creature does have really long legs (though not as long as Deepika Padukone’s; but then Deepika, as many observers have pointed out, and correctly so, in my opinion, is not a dengue mosquito).
Also, the dengue mosquito keeps regular working hours: it bites only during the day, nine to five. So it’s easier to track, and to kill, and this is what’s kept me busy these last two weeks – give a man a little power, to play God, and see what he does with it.

So as I was saying, the moment I saw the mosquito swatter, I knew I was destined for it — like Thor was, for his hammer. I was at a grocery store, and a boy working there was wielding it with the elegance of a Federer backhand and the viciousness of a Ponting pull. Each time he made contact with a mosquito, it produced a delicious, electric pop and you could actually hear the insect getting fried as its soul departed for mosquito heaven.

For those of you who’ve never seen it, an electric mosquito swatter looks a bit like a child’s badminton racquet. It is made of plastic, and comes with a retractable plug for charging, and a sweet spot bigger than in a conventional racquet.

These days, every evening, around dusk, I go to the balcony and indulge myself with a nice little massacre, Kill Bill style. I have discovered that I love killing, especially when it has no consequences.

Swatting mosquitoes is also more fun, and more effective, than plugging in a liquid cartridge and waiting. Today’s Twitter generation of mosquitoes have shorter attention spans, and they don’t have the time or the patience to be slowly suffocated to death by poisonous fumes. They’d much rather die of the electric swat.

But swatting them is not as easy as it may seem. The dengue mosquitoes, in particular, are very clever. They mostly turn up when you’re without your weapon. I would go to the kitchen in all

innocence, to wash a spoon, and the moment you open the tap, you’ll see two of them take off from the little pools of water in the basin.

I’d rush to get my racquet, but by then, they would have vanished. And this has happened so many times that I now carry my weapon with me at all times. To me, my red swatter is like Arjuna’s bow or Hanuman’s — what do you call that
weapon of his with the spherical thingie at one end — I think it’s called a donkey, if I’m not mistaken. And I use it to kill for a cause — a dengue-free, malaria-free life.

Why did I tell you about my mosquito massacres? Because I believe there is a lesson in all of this somewhere. Only, I’m not sure what it is just yet.

The writer is reachable at sampath4office@gmail.com.

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