Monday, May 24, 2010

Wasp Happening

Picture it if you will, me, sleeping all peaceful and innocent like, visions of sugarplums dancing in my head interspersed with Glee inspired numbers breathtakingly choreographed around yet another perfect rendition of some song I pulled out of my very own show choir catalogue when the unthinkable happened. It was just before five this morning when suddenly I felt a stab in my arm. Maybe not so much a stab, more like a hot poker skewering my hand. I jumped up, turned on the light and there they were, the two or three wasps sitting on one of my pillows, just millimeters from where my face had been. As I took in what happened, I noticed that my room was buzzing with Airbus 380 sized wasps which seemed to have taken an interest in me. I pulled on some shorts and t-shirts and then the dizziness started. The room seemed to move and I noticed the sweat on my face and my body felt cold. I figured I knew what was coming.

When I was a young boy, I had been stung by a wasp and a minute or so later, I passed out cold. I felt this was what was going to happen again, but I didn’t want to collapse in a wasp-infested room. I decided I would try to go outside and put a bit of distance between them and I before I fell into an unconscious heap. It turns out I didn’t collapse, but I suddenly found myself outside at five in the morning, with no water to drink and no shops open and my whole body pumped up on adrenaline. I didn’t know what to do. I couldn’t go home, and this being Delhi, nothing opens much before ten. Sometime before six, I spotted my landlord outside having a cup of chai and joined him while trying to explain about the wasps. Nobody in their family speaks English and I don’t speak Hindi, so I tried using hand gestures and simple words… “many bees… very many… make the sting, sting, sting… Ow, o wow…” which was received with a warm smile and calls for more chai. Finally I got hold of Lata who then spoke with the landlady in Hindi. The landlady for some reason thought Lata was talking about a bunch of cats that had come in the night. I finally dragged them upstairs and when I opened the door, it was like something out of a movie. It turns out, there was a nest in the small hole in the wall just under my window. There was another nest inside the electrical hole in the ceiling just outside my door and to make matters worse, another big nest I had not yet seen. Wasps were everywhere. So what does my landlord do? He takes a broom and starts swatting. Then he takes some newspaper and using a large branch, tries to smoke them out. The wasps were not having it started dive-bombing the place while I decided it was time to vacate the scene. An hour or so later, he called me back up and it seemed they had gone, so I went back to bed all wasp free… Or was I?

About two hours later, I head out to meet Lata for lunch and I see them, the wasps were back. They were already visibly rebuilding the nest that had been knocked down, and there were dozens on the wall next to the newly sealed off hole where their nest had been. So, I decided to take matters into my hands and bought some bug spray, came home this evening and let my inner Terminator run rampant. I sprayed a random corner hear my window and was SHOCKED when about fifty or so of them came bursting out. I had no idea they were there, obviously nest number four. I stood on my terrace and kept spraying, soaking down every nook and cranny and any wasp who dared cross my path, including the one that had the audacity to land on the front of my shirt, causing me to scream a bit like a girl and run back, stumbling on the floor, bug spray going out in every direction. But now, two hours after that ordeal, there seems to be not a single wasp near my place. I do imagine them, all lined up along a wall, binoculars pointed at my window, just waiting for the opportunity to make their move.

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