The Romance of a Creepy-Crawly

Santosh Bakaya
“Can no one hear me?”
The highly indignant baritone had the power of an earthquake 7. 2 on the Richter scale, but alas, neither did the house shake nor did the inmates of the house respond. The daughter of the house initially played possum which she usually does in such circumstances and then mumbled, not refusing to budge an inch from her bed. 
 “Why drag me into this slapstick comic opera that my family excels in?”
 
Just half an hour back I had overheard my two worst critics- my husband and daughter shredding my writing skills [or lack of them] to shreds. He was in her room, and their favourite pastime, when they think I am not listening is, ganging up against me and ripping my writings thread bare. 
“Did you notice dad, mom is becoming very repetitive of late?” 
“Yes”. I could almost imagine a furtive glance at the door. 
“And she uses a lot of clichés.”
“ Yeah.” Another glance, I am sure.
 [He says he is afraid of criticizing me lest I throw a tantrum, but my daughter has no such fears] 
“When will she rise above her romantic sensibilities? I tell you, if she is asked to write on a creepy – crawlie she will romanticize that too.”
“ Imagine romanticizing a cockroach!” I could hear my husband loud and clear, followed by a rumbling guffaw. 
And an hour later, he was in the bedroom, shouting at the top of his voice. 

“Why are you shouting?” I asked on entering the room. 
“I thought you would dash into the room with a whirl of apologies for not answering my SOS!” He said with a humongous pout. 
“After scoffing at what I write, you expected me to come running as you shouted?
SOS indeed! What on earth happened? ” 
 “So you were eavesdropping as usual? We only have your good at heart, only want you to improve with each piece.” 
“Oh really?” 
“It was here just now…”
There he stood, horror writ large on his stubbled face, pointing a shaking finger in a particular direction, hair all disheveled. A lesser mortal might have quailed, at the sight, but not me.
 “What was here just now?” I was absolutely rattled. 
“There was a …” His baritone tapered off into a pathetic whine.
 “Did you see a ghost or something?” 
“Get a reality check, Professor! Ghosts are not seen – they are felt, they are invisible.” He was quick to retort. The Libran with a disarming smile and a thunderous guffaw was right now armed with bristles, frowns and daggers. This bristly and fully armed human, a strong believer in non- violence was the very personification of violence. By the way, when he wants to prove a point, he calls me Professor!
“It was here just now – just a moment back.” 
“But what? A snake?” 
His eyes kept darting here and then. Panic- struck. 
“A porcupine which left its bristles behind so that you could appropriate them?”
 “Huh?”
 My last utterance was a whisper, so he could only make out the fuzzy contours of incoherence. “Scorpion?” 
He shook his disheveled head in empathic denial, his eyes continuously going round and round the room. 
 I have been known to remove rat carcasses, chase lizards out of the house and run after dangerous looking wasps, so I was well- prepared for tackling any eventuality. 
“There, it just peeped out from under the bed.” His eyes were twin pools of serendipitous triumph. Premature, though. 
Soon another loud scream rent our house. A huge cockroach had scuttled from under the bed on an urgent mission to explore the flustered man’s feet. In a jiffy my daughter was out of the room, still groggy with sleep. 
“What is all this going on in my house?” 
When I explained things to her, she rolled her eyes and chided him like only a daughter can. 
“Dad, what juvenile behavior! Whoever heard of a six foot something man jumping seven feet high at the sight of a cockroach?”
 “Yes, indeed!” I emphasized stamping an indignant foot. People write novels and poems on cockroaches and all that you can do is- jumping- that too in slippers that needed to be replaced long back!” 
“Go write a poem on a cockroach then”, he snorted. 
“First, crush it with your slipper!” I said, crushing his snort. 
 “No way! I am a firm believer in nonviolence.” 
“Did I not tell you that when I had gone to Thailand before this pandemic thing, I was shocked to see people eating cockroaches? They are supposed to be a delicacy there, a favorite snack of many because of its crispy- crunchy taste. Not just Thailand, people love eating chocolate coated locusts ant eggs soaked in butter and fried silkworm moth larvae in different parts of the world.” My daughter was now full throttle about the cockroach cuisines popular in many parts of the world. 
“Stop it, will you?” This time it was my husband stamping his foot. 
“Oh no!”
 I heard a squelch and a crunch, and winced.
 Our poor resident cockroach- a species known to survive even a nuclear holocaust had been martyred under a cockroach- phobic man’s foot, who had immediately sensed the tragedy inadvertently perpetrated by him. He guiltily lifted his foot and without looking down, dashed out of the room, looking absolutely sheepish. 
I picked up a broom, tightly closed my eyes and swept the carcass out of our home. No Kafkaesque nightmare for me. 

Outside, a lapwing was whining peevishly, the sparrows had raised a crescendo, the dogs were in the middle of a chaotic canine camaraderie, and the crows were cawing away, but I preferred to ignore them, looking instead at a majestic kingfisher that sat on the telephone wire. I have always stuck to positive imaging, come what may. 

“I am proud of the way I have brought you up.” I felt a hand on my shoulder. It was my daughter, grinning impishly. Both daughter and father were now snugly ensconced on the settee, as usual discussing me, with twinkling eyes. 

I had been mulling on a theme to write on and now I was almost gloating that I had the perfect piece right here- grinning challengingly at me. I thought, heading towards my writing desk. 
 I wrote for an hour, laughing to myself, enjoying myself to the hilt, indulging in a lot of exaggeration, when I heard shuffling feet. 
I refused to leave my eyes from the computer screen, as I typed away, merrily engrossed. But when I heard whispers right behind my chair, I whirled back to find the two gangsters, leaning against my chair, peering into the computer screen, once again ganged up against me, wrapped in an air of conspiracy. 

“Mom, please put a comma after…”

“And yes, remove that split infinitive …” 

“Get over your Victorian mindset. Splitting an infinitive is no longer considered a grammatical error. Gone are the days when you used to talk about the use and abuse of the split infinitive in your Grammar class. ” I threw a mild rebuke in his direction, which he preferred to ignore with a smile. 

 As I physically sprang up to my defense, almost upsetting the chair in the bargain, daughter dashed towards her room and husband plonked on the settee, innocence personified. I headed back towards my table, after gifting him a bouquet of glares, and leaving him on his perch wrapped in a sort of ‘humorous sadness’, which I am sure the writer of As you like it, would have immensely appreciated. 
I was in for another shock as I cast a look at the computer screen. The words of my article had miraculously jumped from 1300 to 1340. Some invisible hand had added the following words to my piece! 


Disclaimer: This is purely a work of fiction. Any resemblance to any living being is purely accidental! Writers have the right to resort to exaggeration and fantastical ideas to bait more readers. So pardon me this flight of fancy, and read on. 
 
I glared at my husband, but he was busy reading. When did this happen – and how?

28 comments :

  1. Pankajam KottarathAugust 3, 2021 at 12:19 AM

    A fantastic humourous write-up, enjoyed thoroughly. You are blessed to have two critics at home Santoshji. I have none.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Pure Santosh Bakaya Humour in all its glory. Love this!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks a ton Feby Joseph ❤️

      Delete
    2. I just loved this little piece... the camaraderie, the bantering, the barbs, the hillarious repartee between family. Love it... missed having my daughter at home

      Delete
  3. This is hilarious story beautifully narrated. Lowly critter is glorified by the magical pen of Santosh ji.

    ReplyDelete
  4. very hilarious indeed. The. writer must thank me for providing her the substance for this article. It is certainly very well written but we deserve some credit as well=

    ReplyDelete
  5. This is so so cute Santoshdi and I can so totally imagine this conversation.

    Real or otherwise this piece has the reader in splits

    ReplyDelete
  6. This is so so cute Santoshdi and I can so totally imagine this conversation.

    Real or otherwise this piece has the reader in splits

    ReplyDelete
  7. All the hustle bustle and humor..when will men be brave hahhhhha. .. luv as usual.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Hillarious, as always Santosh Di. No one can hold a candle to you, when it comes to humour in everyday life!
    -Radhika Tabrez

    ReplyDelete
  9. Who spins a yarn as well as you? Nobody, I would dare. Your critics remind me of my own. LOL

    Wonderful tale, inch by inch, you knock them out of the park in a cinch!

    ReplyDelete
  10. Who spins a yarn as well as you? Nobody, I would dare. Your critics remind me of my own. LOL

    Wonderful tale, inch by inch, you knock them out of the park in a cinch!

    ReplyDelete
  11. Very rarely these days one comes across such crisp writing that not only holds your eyeballs till it’s end but also blows a refreshing breeze across one’s mind. Thank you, Santosh Bakaya Ji.

    ReplyDelete
  12. A hilarious write in your trade mark humour dear Santosh! Thoroughly enjoyed!

    ReplyDelete
  13. Very humorous indeed DrSantosh.Just loved your play with words

    ReplyDelete
  14. A bubbly write. Has something of your own personality in it.. Enjoyed.

    ReplyDelete

We welcome your comments related to the article and the topic being discussed. We expect the comments to be courteous, and respectful of the author and other commenters. Setu reserves the right to moderate, remove or reject comments that contain foul language, insult, hatred, personal information or indicate bad intention. The views expressed in comments reflect those of the commenter, not the official views of the Setu editorial board. प्रकाशित रचना से सम्बंधित शालीन सम्वाद का स्वागत है।