This is War

I am a peaceful person. I enjoy quiet mountain mornings, soft ocean breezes, classical music, the buzz of spring in the forest. A naturalist, preserver of God’s green Earth, lover of animals, etc. But recently I’ve been engaging in the violent purging of household pests. I’m not talking about mice or rats or even cockroaches. I’ve been forced to engage in a war on God’s least valuable living thing: the mosquito. To date, I’ve murdered an average of 4 mosies a day. Mostly in the morning. And most meet their death in the violant clasping of hands against a unforgiving surface. Sometimes I watch them wriggle their last wriggle and wonder who will miss them. Then I slap another one and wash my hands.

Living in India, land of non-violence, I am constantly forced to reflect on these violent outbursts. But seriously, I’d rather live with the fact that I am a murderer than be hospitalized with Dengue or Malaria.

Yesterday, arriving home from a beautiful weekend at the Taj Palace Hotel in South Bombay on a steamy pre-monsoon afternoon, I was met with yet another urban pest. A creature, without whom, forests would become overgrown but with whom, urban apartment buildings crumble to the ground. I am speaking of course of the dreaded termite.

It took a few hours of research for me to identify these little guys shedding their wings all over my windowsill, but after consulting, I’ve concluded that they are subterranean termites; the most destructive of the species. Again, I don’t consider myself a violent person but the fact that colonies of these aggressive beasts are living in silence in my home is quite a threatening thought. Not to mention gross. And creepy.

After reading about these extraordinary creatures and their complex system of tunnels, unusual digestive methods, and monarchic society I suffered a moment of sympathy for them: the impending genocide, the mass murder of a sophisticated society, the ruins of a once powerful civilization reduced to dust.

Silently reflecting on my decision to wipe them out with poison I felt a tinge of guilt. Then one flew into my tea. The guilt melted quickly into rage. Say your prayers termites. Tomorrow is Armageddon.


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