I have to balance the platter in one hand, the cutlery in the other, and then the mosquitoes start to bite and I have no more hands to hit them
Dear Agony Akka,
I’ve been based in Chennai for five years and every year the risk of mosquitoes spiraling out of control. In public places, I would scratch and hit my body in various uncomfortable places. My arms and legs are starting to fill with crusts and red bite marks. Eating buffet dinners is already a difficult task, and when these are outdoors it becomes impossible – I have to balance the plate in one hand and the cutlery in the other, and then the mosquitos start to bite, and I have no more hands to hit them. Two days ago we went to a neighbour’s house for a socially distant dinner and spent the whole evening beating mosquitos and not being able to concentrate on the chat. When we got home my husband told me it was bad to kill mosquitoes when you are a guest. Is that true? Are there etiquette rules regarding mosquito problems?
– Beaten up and desperate
If yIf you had even a bit of historical knowledge, you will know that our ancient Indian civilization invented full-body saris, dhotis, and salwar-kameez more than 10,000 years ago to counter this very mosquito threat. So we need to bring back Sanskari clothing – not to encourage humility, but to fight malaria. If you wander around modern day people in shorts, miniskirts, and sleeveless tops, then how can you expect to keep mosquitos out? After all, mosquitos are nature to bite bare skin, just as humans are nature to rape. That is why sensible people, like award-winning actresses and judges, always tell us that it is in our own hands to prevent rape and mosquito bites.
In my own building society, I always advise women to return to ghoonghats or burquas – not only can you save money on facials and makeup items, but you can also be saved from mosquitos. Also, having your arms and legs completely covered can save you money on waxing too. And you will no longer write letters complaining about scabs and red spots on your skin.
Your husband is absolutely right – it is bad to go to someone’s home and keep beating mosquitoes. You will only make the hostess feel bad. Mind you, I am always happily beaten, but I am very charming and can get away with all of this. I am not sure if you can. Instead, you could invest in long sleeved blouses with ruffles and long sleeves like heroines in old Bengali films and keep them outside for all affairs. They look cool and also become mosquito-proof.
Take it up
Alternatively, I also suggest color-coordinated mosquito bats. How to use matching masks, learn to carry a bat with you. Not only can you use it on mosquitoes, but you can also zap all those men who feel compelled to call you dear and put their arm around your shoulders.
Personally, I am deeply against the idea of evening buffets where you don’t even have space to sit. Balance plates, cutlery, wine glasses, mosquitoes and octopus-type males are almost impossible even for Indian women who are supposed to be the embodiment of Shakti and Durga and so on. A useful skill to learn, especially for nighttime bhajan affairs and community puja functions, is to learn how to coordinate mosquito blasts on different parts of your body with the clapping of the pelvis and drums. People will think that you are filled with religious zeal and that you are really keeping the pace. This can only benefit you in the coming days.
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