December 09, 2008


Apart from mosquitoes and birds, my third main nemesis in India was the cockroach. No matter how many I disposed of, dozens would spring up to replace their fallen brethren. Many came into direct contact with the soles of my sandals. Others were coated with toxic subtances emitted by cans of bug spray. Some were flushed down the drain, swirling into oblivion. The objectionable creatures were resilient, surviving even after taking considerable punishment. They hid in my cabinet and under my bed, in the shower and under my bedsheets. They lived in my room and in my nightmares. Being an amicable fellow, I never deliberately hunted them down. Our coexistence was peaceful until they disturbed my serenity. They would rear their ugly heads when I least expected it, forcing me into taking defensive measures for the protection of my sanity.

Studies have shown that the antibodies needed to fight of cocroach allergens makes people more susceptible to asthma and other allergies. They are the ultimate survivors, having randomized escape patterns so that their enemies cannot predict their trajectories. Most horrific of all were the cockroaches that could fly. Combining their powers of indestructibiliy with airborne capabilities, they made for a very formidable foe. The epic struggle escalated. Usually every room in an India room has at least one resident gecko responsible for insect control. I enlisted the aid of these little lizards called 'tik-tikis'. They thoroughly enjoyed munching on the disgusting critters.