Thursday, May 1, 2008

A New Front in the War on Mosquitos

In Hindi, they are called 'Macchar'. That's one Hindi word I'll never forget.

My war with mosquitos is now entering its 8 month, with no end in sight. The mosquitos launched an early offensive on my exposed leg on my 2nd day in India. They had caught me completely unaware. Sitting out on the terrace that day, I absorbed roughly 10 mosquito bites on my feet.

Afterwards, I took evasive action. I bought and started using Odomos (a mosquito repellent) and kept my body covered as much as possible. This drastically impeded the mosquito attack. The change of season also worked to my advantage. As Fall turned into Winter, the mosquito population declined and they almost vanished from my house.

But my reprieve did not last long. In Spring, they came back in full force and launched a devastating Spring Offensive on me. The added clothing protection was no longer a viable option because of the heat. Also, applying Odomos to my face was an uncomfortable option because it blocked my pores and made me sweat even more. I stopped using Odomos and mosquitos had the green light to attack at night and bite me on my face. Now, a mosquito bite on your forehead doen't itch - it's just very painful. You have no fat in that area so the bite goes straight to the nerve. And when you do get bitten there, it wakes you up and prevents you from having a restful night of sleep. These were dark days indeed and I went to work everyday tired and weary.

But, I'm now at a turning point in my war with my mosquitos thanks to new weapons from my arms dealer Vignesh. I now have a mosquito net protecting my bed and I have racquet with metal wires that electrifies insects that touch the metal wires when the current is flowing through the wires. When the green light is on, as it is in this picture, the wires are live. I also use the flashlight from my bike to search for mosquitos in my mosquito net. If I find any, I zap them with my racquet. These enhancements have given me the upper hand.
The mosquito net is highly effective - except one time when a mosquito somehow got inside the net and bit me on my hand in the middle of the night. Needless to say, I was not happy that my defenses had been penetrated. I electrified the mosquito enough to immobilize it. Then I did what any frustrated person (who has been bitten about 100+ times in 8 months) would do. I kept on zapping the mosquito and watching the current sparks flow through the insect.

Have you ever seen Star Wars - Return of the Jedi? Do you remember the scene with the Emperor, Luke Skywalker, and Darth Vader, at the end of the movie? In this scene, the Emperor is looking for a new apprentice after he feels that Darth Vader has outlived his usefulness. So he asks Luke Skywalker to join him. Luke rejects this request and the emperor, in his wrath, electrocutes Luke. This goes on for 10 - 20 seconds, with Luke wrything on the floor, until Vader saves him. You can relive this classic moment here:

I decided to take a page out of the emperor's book and torture this mosquito to death. I electrified the mosquito until I heard it 'pop'. Then it was dead.
I can't gurantee that I'll never be bitten again. But if I am, that mosquito will not live long and it will die a horrible death on the wires of my new racquet. As General William Sherman said in 1879, 'War is hell.' And now I'm saying, in 2008, 'Let no mosquito go unpunished.'

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