How mosquitoes smack us all by way of historical past – The New Indian Categorical

Express Message Service

BENGALURU: I’m not a man of science. When covalent bonds and the laws of motion entered the curriculum, I took refuge in the safe confines of ‘commerce’ and later settled in the arts with my journalism course. I respect people who dedicate their lives to science and technology and am grateful for the convenience while sipping my coffee and typing this column on my smartphone.

However, I have a few questions for the doctors, engineers, and scientists who read this column. We’ve been sending people into space for decades. We made a hole in the ozone layer and even sealed it. We have harnessed energy from wind and sunlight, wiping entire species off the face of the planet. But why didn’t we manage to defeat the puny mosquito?

Mosquitoes live on the planet along with dinosaurs and are responsible for the deadly yellow fever that has wiped out millions of people. The fate of many wars was determined by armies’ preparation or bad luck in the face of mosquitoes. The mosquito is blamed for the fall and decline of Roman civilization and for Alexander’s death in his quest to conquer the world. The Nazis filled lakes and swamps and released mosquitoes into the swamps. There are over 100 trillion mosquitoes in the world. We made superheroes out of spiders, bats and ants. But even the late great Stan Lee could not use his imagination and charm to make a mosquito appear like a friendly creature. And I wouldn’t blame him!

I have witnessed mankind’s never-ending war against mosquitoes. The first weapons of mass destruction were mosquito coils. But the process was like calling home a “Tantriker.” You lit a coil and closed the windows and doors. There was much smoke and dubious results. Then came the mosquito repellents – with such a strong odor that even humans avoided their company. Then came the mosquito nets that made every Indian home look like cheap Sanjay Leela Bhansali sets.

They hid in the white fortress and watched as mosquitoes poked at the holes, desperately trying to get in. You could even hear the Royal Mosquito Symphony humming their greatest hits close to your ear. Home remedies were also spat out – but camphor, garlic and eucalyptus were no match for these mutated Avenger mosquitoes! Mosquito mats were placed in small alien-looking devices. Liquid mosquito repellent machines later replaced them.

Liquid Roll-On Liquids were made for people and our clothes. Sprays were launched, as were fast-card papers that could be burned to kill mosquitoes. But much like Terminator V, the effort was a disappointing failure. We finally decided on the “mosquito racket”. Its impact is so great that I suspect all the medals we win in badminton and tennis could be attributed to little kids swinging mosquito rackets at a young age! The Bill and Melinda Gates are experimenting with a technology called CRISPR – in which mosquitoes are genetically modified to cause themselves to become extinct. But then Bill Gates also claimed that Windows 98 ran buttery smooth.

So I’ll take Bill’s words with a pinch of national salt. As human history is written, we are credited with our unparalleled ability to extract resources from the world. For the extinction of flora, fauna and entire species from the planet. Our obsession with expanding, conquering and dominating. Our curiosity to look beyond the blue ball we call home. But while sipping their evening cups of radioactive tea, future aliens will laugh at our abject failure to attract that little flying pest – the mosquito!

BENGALURU: I’m not a man of science. When covalent bonds and the laws of motion entered the curriculum, I took refuge in the safe confines of ‘commerce’ and later settled in the arts with my journalism course. I respect people who dedicate their lives to science and technology and am grateful for the convenience while sipping my coffee and typing this column on my smartphone. However, I have a few questions for the doctors, engineers, and scientists who read this column. We’ve been sending people into space for decades. We made a hole in the ozone layer and even sealed it. We have harnessed energy from wind and sunlight, wiping entire species off the face of the planet. But why didn’t we manage to defeat the puny mosquito? Mosquitoes live on the planet along with dinosaurs and are responsible for the deadly yellow fever that has wiped out millions of people. The fate of many wars was determined by armies’ preparation or bad luck in the face of mosquitoes. The mosquito is blamed for the fall and decline of Roman civilization and for Alexander’s death in his quest to conquer the world. The Nazis filled lakes and swamps and released mosquitoes into the swamps. There are over 100 trillion mosquitoes in the world. We made superheroes out of spiders, bats and ants. But even the late great Stan Lee could not use his imagination and charm to make a mosquito appear like a friendly creature. And I wouldn’t blame him! I have witnessed mankind’s never-ending war against mosquitoes. The first weapons of mass destruction were mosquito coils. But the process was like calling home a “Tantriker.” You lit a coil and closed the windows and doors. There was much smoke and dubious results. Then came the mosquito repellents – with such a strong odor that even humans avoided their company. Then came the mosquito nets that made every Indian home look like cheap Sanjay Leela Bhansali sets. They hid in the white fortress and watched as mosquitoes poked at the holes, desperately trying to get in. You could even hear the Royal Mosquito Symphony humming their greatest hits close to your ear. Home remedies were also spat out – but camphor, garlic and eucalyptus were no match for these mutated Avenger mosquitoes! Mosquito mats were placed in small alien-looking devices. Liquid mosquito repellent machines later replaced them. Liquid Roll-On Liquids were made for people and our clothes. Sprays were launched, as were fast-card papers that could be burned to kill mosquitoes. But much like Terminator V, the effort was a disappointing failure. We finally decided on the “mosquito racket”. Its impact is so great that I suspect all the medals we win in badminton and tennis could be attributed to little kids swinging mosquito rackets at a young age! The Bill and Melinda Gates are experimenting with a technology called CRISPR – in which mosquitoes are genetically modified to cause themselves to become extinct. But then Bill Gates also claimed that Windows 98 ran buttery smooth. So I’ll take Bill’s words with a pinch of national salt. As human history is written, we are credited with our unparalleled ability to extract resources from the world. For the extinction of flora, fauna and entire species from the planet. Our obsession with expanding, conquering and dominating. Our curiosity to look beyond the blue ball we call home. But while sipping their evening cups of radioactive tea, future aliens will laugh at our abject failure to attract that little flying pest – the mosquito!

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