Main Mast Macchar bol raha hoon. Apologies to Big Bee, after all he is also a part of our biradari. Remember how the Sena took on him too.
I fondly recall my migration to Bombay from Bihar. We managed to hide in the trunk of a migrant laborer and like him, we came searching for fame and fortune in this land of opportunity. The journey was stressful and my cousin could not handle the packed second class compartment. He dropped off somewhere near Nagpur, which is better known for its heat. So little rain, my poor cousin died of sunstroke in the mid 90s. But I am a born survivor and could be a real tormentor. Remember Nana Patekar’s dialogue!
And why don’t you give us credit for creating such a huge industry. And we work in shifts. During the day we carry dengue fever and at night we spread malaria. To counter us there is an army called the mosquito repellent industry, which is estimated at around Rs16bn and its growing by around 25-30% every year. When a slow coach Tortoise couldn’t repel us, there came a so called powerful Mortein. There was a flurry of products with fancy names like Hit (we often wake up after a nap), All Out, Jet Fighter and so out of the world friend called Casper. Then a host of creams, some natural which are safe even for baby skin and of course a vaporizer called Good Knight. Yet, my friends and I have been enjoying Good Nights.
After migrating to Mumbai – let me still call it Bombay - I joined a Rapidex English speaking course and learnt English, and now I can communicate reasonably well in English. Why not Marathi you may ask? Because with English and Hindi, I manage to survive in Bombay.
I first set up my house in Jogeshwari near the tabelas and like all ambitious people, wanted to migrate southwards – a sign of success. Now the action has shifted to the suburbs and my cousins don’t even bother going south of Bandra; after all beautiful people stay in Bandra. My wife followed me after two years when she came to know about my affair with a migrant Kanara. To make peace, I sent her flight tickets – she came in an Air India flight from Patna.
The eminent Shiv Sena leader has blamed migrants from Bihar for the recent epidemic of malaria and dengue which has swept all over the city. He is right – true blue Marathi mosquitoes don’t bite. They leave the dirty job of biting and harassing to the migrants. Who is the sweeper in your house? A migrant from a near by state. And if he is a Maharashtrian, then in all probability he would be from Ratnagiri.I am told this happens everywhere, in every region. Hungarians seek employment in Germany, Germans seek employment in Switzerland and so on.
For us mosquitoes, states like Bihar are no longer safe. The health departments spray all kinds of DDT and are killing our community. BMC is thankfully allowing us to proliferate. A decade ago, they were fumigating but now, they have become lax. Praying in Tirupati will not destroy us because we also pray to the same God. And yes, we have an alliance with the builder lobby as well. Our new up-market colony is in Parel where huge amount of construction is taking place. All the readers are aware of the safety track record of builders.
And India is shining because of us. Check out the hospitals and diagnostic centers – all are running chock a block. Every medico is recommending malaria and dengue tests, and all kinds of quinine doses. The BMC is applying to Centre government and WHO for a malaria grant. The BMC head along with 25 legislators are flying to Seattle to seek audience with Gates Foundation to negotiate a special relief package. I also hear that the CM and PM are flying to New York to find out how the developed countries like USA and Canada have fought malaria and dengue. At one shot – health care and travel and tourism all benefit.
Of course, I miss my native place in Bihar and my friends and relatives. But will I go back? The answer is No. The present Bihar CM is getting DDT sprayed to wipe us out; he is trying to make Patna like Mumbai. And guess what- Mumbai seems to be turning into the state of Bihar.
Crumbling infrastructure and corruption – we mosquitoes breed best in such places; and as someone rightly said, ‘The best blood will sometimes get into a fool or a mosquito.’