Wednesday, April 24, 2013

The Dear Hunter

A rusty iron barrel, medium sized, stands in one corner of our terrace. It contains water which is regularly distributed among the many plants and flowers that inhabit our jungle-terrace. As we all know, standing water is a perfect breeding place for mosquitoes.  I’ve never seen mosquito eggs, but the larvae that hatch from the eggs are aplenty in the aforementioned barrel. And if left undisturbed they will grow up and become mosquitoes. Which is a disaster in waiting. Malaria on the rampage. Noisy buzzing and pesky insects up ahead. 

So I went larvae hunting.

First, we must study the life cycle of the mosquito.

On a closer inspection of the infected barrel, I found that if the water is still the larvae float up to the water surface and just hang there. Being cool, I guess. Or simply receiving sunlight.

Larvae are a finicky lot. If you so much as wave your hand above the water, they panic and head for deeper waters, which is not a good thing for the excited hunter. One should cultivate patience, standing still with hands above the water until the larvae have calmed down and returned to the surface. But remember, the exercise will be futile if you just stand there with your bare hands. One must be well equipped.

The weapon of choice is the what-shall-I-call-it, a racquet-like kind of instrument, where instead of the wires you have a very fine net.

is that a squashed racquet, dear?

Grab the handle firmly, and with a quick movement of the hand you swoop down, dip the net into the water and scoop out as many larvae as you can. Shake them off on the ground, where they will writhe in agony and then die.

Too bad I can't mount their heads on the wall.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Trip to Champhai

Spent six days (22-27 March 2013) traipsing around Champhai and the India-Burma border, visited many of my relatives, both from my father's and my mother's sides, some of whom I have never seen before, and many I haven't seen in ages.

A young niece

A cousin I haven't seen in a decade