When You Encounter A Pest

Dr. Jaipal Singh
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I think most of the human beings are aware about the potential nuisance and irritation some insects like mosquitoes, housefly, lice and bedbugs can cause to them. While lice and bedbugs are the issues of personal sanitation and hygiene, the mosquitoes and houseflies depend on overall ecology and community living at a place. Fortunately, my surroundings are largely free from either of these pests and I do not have hassles and mental agony of dealing with these pests. In day-to-day routine too, I am an early riser and morning-walker for the last thirty-five years or so.

Today as soon as I came out of my house in the early morning, a stray housefly suddenly landed on my top out of nowhere and I would frankly admit it spoiled my inner peace and harmony for the next few minutes. I tried to ward it off by to-and-fro as also up-and-down movements of my hands, striking with fists and stick, brisk walk, fast paced walk, jogging and running but at the end of it I found the fly was very stubborn and stickler in constantly chasing me. Unlike most of the morning-walkers in the higher age group who prefer to walk in group while gossiping, I do exchange pleasantries but essentially prefer a solitary and quiet walk. It is partly due to my nature and partly for the reason that many creative ideas flash in mind in the early hours in solitude that help in my writing and solving pending issues, if any.

So for a moment, I even had a crooked idea of briefly joining some such group so that possibly some other gentleman host might attract the attention and the fly for a good riddance. However, good sense prevailed and I dropped this utterly selfish and unfair idea and just continued with my walk making a peace with the situation and fly. To my pleasant surprise, soon the fly stopped violating my exposed body parts viz. head, face and hands, mostly remaining perched on to my trouser and T-shirt. With this gesture, I made a final peace with the situation; and my mental peace and harmony soon returned to normal. She finally let me off when I was about to enter the gate of my house after a 45-minute walk, still a bit concerned what if the pest manages an entry inside the house.

Being a Biology student, I am aware the housefly (Musca domestica) is an Invertebrate (Arthropod) belonging to the major insects order Diptera and suborder Cyclorrhapha. Compared to humans, the insect (Fly) has a long evolutionary history possibly having evolved some time in Cenozoic era (66 million years ago) and thus logically it’s claim on earth is more marked and justified than the human species:). The common fly species are found in houses; their adults are grey to black, have red eyes, with four dark and longitudinal lines on the thorax, slightly hairy bodies and a pair of membranous wings. The fly lays batches of about 100 eggs on decaying organic matter such as food waste, carrion, or even faeces. The usual life cycle comprises of egg, larva, pupa and adult.

The adult housefly normally lives for 2 to 4 weeks and feeds on a variety of liquid or semisolid substances, as also some solid materials which can be easily softened by their saliva. The ugliest part is that the houseflies carry a variety of pathogens on the bodies and in their faeces, and thus they contaminate food contributing to the transfer of food-borne diseases – an obvious health hazard. When in group or large numbers, they are physically annoying and a potential source of nuisance disturbing the peace of mind of the man at household, work and leisure time. The positive side is that the houseflies are used in research into ageing and sex determination (heredity).

Like pests, we so often encounter with people and situations in real life which are beyond our control and potential source of the nuisance and irritation enough to spoil our mental peace, tranquility and harmony – thereby posing a health hazard. Like what I initially did with the fly, people most often react or respond with negative actions and energy to counter the moves of a potential adversary. Quite often, the negativity is failed to remedy the situation and instead it aggravates it with a multiplier effect. People often get so frustrated, indulge in more negativity and unable to cop up with it, even take recourse to evils like heavy drinking, gambling and drugs etc.

Some people in the society are like pests. You may have encounter with them on road, market, workplace and even in own house. So what really is required to tackle a human situation causing nuisance and irritation. The first and foremost is not to be panicky and thus reacting with negativity in thoughts and action. When you are calm and tranquil, your mind and sensory organs are more receptive and ready to handle a situation. In fact, many situations do not aggravate and suo moto subside when you do not indulge in negativity. If a person is annoying you, just breath normally, keep your emotions and temper under wrap, and establish eye contact without reacting for some time; there is a strong likelihood that he or she would soon change pitch and track with a more amicable and reconciliatory approach. However, there may be a situation when you feel that nothing is workable and a confrontation is unavoidable. In such case, you should confront your adversary when you feel you are most level-headed and ready for a well-reasoned talk without being angry or upset, thereby losing your temper at any point of time.

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