Ann Rice’s quote,”To write something you have to risk making a fool of yourself”. I think it’s a risk worth taking.At the crack of dawn,the first thing I thought about was,’write about flies’.What I must risk writing about an insect with two transparent wings,how can such a lowly insect grab anyone’s attention. I’ll give it a go and see the response,maybe none or one. If one blogger reads it,it is well worth my time.
My elder brother always knew how to make me work. One day he said, ‘There you are Ranu,make me a cup of tea, I am counting,then he’d say one ,before he counted to four’,I’d be up and running to get that cup of tea,I always thought ,’Good Heavens’ if it reaches ten,all hell would break loose’. I got his tea,as soon as I laid it on the table,plop a fly dropped in. I said,’Dada don’t drink this,it’s filthy,let me bring another cup’. He smiled spooned out the fly and said,’Don’t say it’s dirty,think it’s a cardamom,I’ll take it out and drink it’. I almost felt nauseous at the thought of drinking a cup of tea that was made unclean by that wretched fly.I guess there were going to be more flies in my future,as I was growing up.
I don’t habitually think of flies,but when I see them it makes me cringe. This episode happened on a wayside hut. There used to be a man,who fried fish every day in his little place. I loved them so much I had to have some,whenever I was passing by. One day I stopped by to get some,he wasn’t finished frying,I patiently waited.Suddenly I saw a whole bunch of flies hovering above. I told the man,’look there are flies above can’t you get rid of them’, he looked at me in awe thinking this woman didn’t see flies,why is she making such a big deal. He laughed and said,’this is nothing, if they overcrowded my frying pan,I’d think of something’. I mumbled to myself,he doesn’t think it’s unhealthy.
A year or two passed before the question of flies came up. I got a teaching job in a residential model school. We all ate at the dining hall,myself and sixty kids. Dining halls in the institutions are nothing to write about,especially when the question of cleanliness and healthy comes up. One morning an announcement was made,’breakfast is served come one come all’. When I was about to sit to have my breakfast, I had the misfortune of seeing flies on my toast. The waiter in trying to save me from spreading butter and jam on my toast,took it as his duty to do it for me. The result when the flies landed on the toast they were trapped by the sticky jam,unable to fly out they lay there. I was so disgusted with this,I took the knife and used it as a spatula to remove the flies. Did I eat the toast,no I did not.At that point I didn’t think I was hungry at all.
I am lucky there are no flies here,it is too cold in winter ,in summer they cannot come in because of the screen. I am happy to write flies are not an issue any more!
Please note: In Bengali ‘Dada’ means older brother.