If you haven’t lived with them, then you are definitely younger than me!! Piu Mahapatra looks back at her friendly pets, er… pests. 🙂
I miss them!!
One tiny bug, often resembling a leechi seed crawling with all six, could bring apocalypse even in an apparently ‘non-expressionist’ household. I had seen so many of my ‘Popeye the sailor’ all hunk cousins running out of their ‘Spinach’ every time a ‘roach spread his wings. It was hilarious to watch those notorious Big Bro, who mostly towered over me throughout my life, could shriek like Helen cornered by the same Prem Chopra again and again in different Bollywood movies.
I love them!!
There were many times when they aided me to fulfill my dark vengeance. Even now, I struggle to figure out why the math teachers, at least those who came at my home to teach me the magic of numbers, were the sternest of the whole lot. It is quite natural that homework on any regular days are not supposed to be done on time!
When one is in grade five, only if she is a little wise, could comprehend the deeper lessons of life. A homework, if frequently completed in time, invariably doubles by the next session of submission. That’s true for life’s chores as well. But the days were long at school and the fees for private teaching back then, were unsalted peanuts. So, in between the furious frowns and the longest sermon of ‘The Zero saving the world’, I had to open my glass jar to release my winged saviors. The tiny six feeter were like ‘Power Puff’ girls. They worked wonders. Even some of the ‘Brave heart’ teachers left for good and never even bothered to come back to collect the fees.
I think of them!! Often!!
The power cuts in the evenings, during our times in Calcutta, were like mundane regular. We all accepted them with a long sigh. The lantern were kept ready beforehand, filled to the brink with kerosene, the flat wick snipped sharp and the glass covers wiped clean. They glowed with a warm orange hue when the city got blind at the strike of seven. At that time the other invisible members of the house used to come out from their hidden nooks. The cockroaches, one or two rarely an albino creeped out from under the bed, house lizards peeped out from the ventilators near the roof, and the wolly moths who rested on the walls casted the longest shadow that one can even imagine. I played with my dad. With a little trick of twist and turn, our fingers casted their shadows on the wall making shapes of a deer, a dog even a fish swimming without water.
They all gathered around to see the show, the brown cockroach, the lizard which had recently lost his tail and looked rather comical.
Those were the times we used to realise that ‘the home is a shared space’ and it is alright to have others living with us. Even if we are still the ugliest of the lot, yet they stayed. Simply because they are more tolerant than us.
(Artwork: Piu Mahapatra)
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