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Mar 22, 2014

A Bug's Bite

Image: Courtesy Wikipedia
A regular day. Nothing extraordinary. Get up, go to work, come back, have dinner, watch TV, head off to bed, to start another day. Sounds simple, right? Sure as any day could be, however this one turned out slightly different.

Half way through my sleep, started getting an itch, which started on my hands. Scratched it off, a couple of minutes later, came back again. Wiped that one off, and then a few minutes later, started scratching the calf of my leg. A few minutes here and there, woke up wondering what in God's name was the scratch all about? Still clueless, woke up, had a glass of water (a feeling that my skin might have dried off), back, but this time decided to find out what it was that was causing this grief.

A couple of checks and the shock of my life. A Bed Bug!! Could not believe my luck. A Bed Bug? Impossible. Never had it in my house for years, and here it was. Further checks along the bed sheet showed a few more, crawling out of a pillow sheet, another one on the edge of a mattress, another one running off another pillow sleeve. This was impossible. It was just like a never ending nightmare!

I just went on finding more and more, picking them up one by one (with tissues of course, not bare hands), flushing them down, throwing them out of the window, and you suddenly find another one. I was on the verge of getting a panic attack. I mean, this is not something that you see every day; the last time I had gone through this was during my College Hostel days, but then, that was a Hostel. This was my Home !!!!

Anyways, getting my wits around (it was close to 3 AM by then), managed to get quite a few out, then a sudden thought. Slowly pulled out my bedsheets and well, what do I say. Did not find hundreds (thank God), but found a couple more, but what was more distressing and nearly stopped all my heart beats was the fact that the edges showed bug eggs, that were laid.. Of course it still needed time to hatch, but then, the ground was set. Managed to pull out the sheet, wrapped it all out, and dumped into a bucket of water. 

Luckily enough that was the last of it, and some how managed to sleep (in what ever was left of the night), with a follow up the next morning. Thankfully, the bugs were all gone, as the particular sheet seemed to have the full lot of them. Sheets, pillow cases thrown, the house through a good pest control swipe, contributed to some unpleasant thoughts being eased. But then, how do you clean every single piece of cloth that you own?

However still could not but help to think, as to where I did get the attack from? One of course is very careful, but the more I investigated, the more I realized, how prone we are to problems. My source of problem was the laundry where my bed sheets used to go for Ironing. Thankfully, it was one / two sheets, however I cannot but help wonder.. How many more clothes of mine could be effected. A bigger question: How many more houses could be effected?

Also led to the hard and factual realization that we today are so dependent on support functions to manage our lives, we are simply at the mercy of others, no matter how much we think we are in control of ourselves. The Grocery man who delivers goods to our houses, who we tell to pick our stuff, the laundry man, the dhobi, the person who comes to clean our house, the restaurants we eat from, the hotels we stay, the common shares that we have with community as a whole.

I am not scaring myself or any one for that matter, but just a reality that we are so dependent on each other, we run the risk of not only sharing others traits, but also their problems. As we grow, as populations grow, as civilizations increase, we are moving more towards a society which is cramped, less spacious and more prone to diseases that simply at the end of it pass from one to another.

My quest for further enhancement of my knowledge on the wonderful species : The Bed Bugs gave me more insights than I expected. The Wikipedia defines them as parasitic insects that feed exclusively on blood. More interesting was the note that they were nearly eradicated some where in the early 40's, but have increased since 1995!! It took man centuries to get rid of it, but only half a decade to bring it back and expand it to such an extent, that is nearly out of control. 

The after effects one realizes are at times traumatic (despite what one says), that every scratch, every itch that one feels on their body after even a full clean up of one's house / clothes, cannot but make wonder, am I in for another attack? It makes you ask a question to which one probably does not want an answer. Who is the parasite?

Interesting Read: How to find Bed Bugs?

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