Anopheles Stages a Comeback- Episode 5
Years ago, I had a friend called Anopheles, the female mosquito who bites. We used to have a lot of conversations about various things. And then she vanished. Well, she has made a comeback.
I was deep in slumber the other night, when she buzzed me. I thought it was the cellphone, but it was my old friend.
“You don’t talk to me anymore,” she complained.
“It’s not you,” I said. “We don’t talk to anyone, period.”
“Why?” She seemed puzzled.
“Because of Facebook,” I told her.
“What’s that?” She arched her eyebrows.
I said, ‘Every few years, there is a new billionaire who creates something. Actually 'creates' is not the right word, because you can’t see his creations, except for a few fleeting seconds. Not made of flesh and blood, like you and me. The latest is this fellow, Zuckerberg by name, who made his billions and half the world has gone crazy. The other half is not on Facebook yet only because there is no electricity in their town.’
‘But what do you do on this Facebook?’ was her innocent question.
‘Well, it’s hard to explain. We post things- I mean, we write stuff about which toothpaste we brushed with, whom we are hanging out with, where we went, whether it rained today, how awful work is, and so on. And our friends ‘like’ what we write.’
‘How can you call them friends if they like your having an awful day at work?’ She remained interrogative.
I tried to defend Zuckerberg (millionaires tend to bring out this quality in non-millionaires). I said, “Well, the Like is only an acknowledgement that they read what I wrote. Not that all the stuff is likeable.”
Not convinced, she asked, “What else?”
I said, “We also go to exotic places and take pics so that we can share them with our friends.”
“You mean the same friends we spoke about?”
“Yeah, the same. They can also ‘like’ photos or make some snide remarks about how you are looking in your new, expensive hair style.”
“And you insist on calling them friends. With friends like these, you don’t need enemies.” She smirked.
I was now curious about where she had gone all these years. So I asked her.
“Oh, life is tough these days.” She became pensive. Continuing, she said, “You know, with trees being chopped and water bodies drying up, it is tough to find places to breed. And pesticides are getting more powerful. Be careful, one day they might affect you. I don’t know why, but human blood does not taste the same any more.”
“May be it’s polluted by all the chemicals, and those pesticides,” I suggested.
“Also, she complained, “Our kids want blood to reach them easy, without having to work for it. Can’t understand the generation.”
That touched a raw nerve. I said, “Let’s discuss this another time. Boss has called an early morning meeting tomorrow.”
And wishing her goodnight, I went back to sleep.