Monday, May 22, 2006

Ca.. ca... ca.... cockroach!!!

I am next only to 'Thenali' Thenali with my numerous phobias but at the top of the list is my insects phobia. I have always wondered if smaller things scared me more(During Deepavali, I could get myself to light many a 'damaal dumeels' but never hold a cape Gun!) though I have not(touch wood!) encoutered T-Rex or KK kinds!

Anyway, coming to the topic, for quite some years now, I have not had to face the daunting task of dealing with 'karapps'. In the NE, the only uninvited guests during summer were ants or some tiny wriggleys! The ahimsawadhi I am, especially after I became a big fan of Kratt brothers and their lemur-friend, 'zooboomafoo' and to not reveal the scare-d-cat that I am to my daughter, I dare enough to guide them outside shivering & holding them in a long sheets. But now, am having to go against my virundhombal traditions (Valluvare mannichidunga!), having to show faces (and brooms!) to my uninvited guests who crawl from outside.

One evening last week, I was 'dheme-nnu' checking mails, when my husband commented, 'oh, so you've got company!' and that was when I saw Mr. Brown coat big moustache-walla after many years!! With my daughter sleeping in the other room, couldn't let out a scream too. That's when I realised along with good weather comes these free bonus too.

As far as I can remember, I don't have many memories of roach encounters in Chennai(Guess, it is Lizz(ard)y amma pettai!). But boy, did my Mumbai life compensate for it!! The nice big wardrobes in our Mumbai flat was a big attraction to us bare-shelf Madrasis. But soon I realised how it housed numerous Brown-coat-wallas too.

There used to be regular Pest control exercise in our Apartment community involving huge efforts almost equalling a mini-move! Almost the whole day we would spend at neighbours and return home only in the evening to see a battle-ground scene with hundreds of dead roaches. For the next few weeks, the house would be free of bugs but then those smart ones which moved to the floors down/up to other apartments during the extermination would start to return when the effect starts waning!

During close encounters, my mother used to be my only saviour! The Maha-ahimsawaadhi my father is, would just walk past it and at the most announce it to my mother if she was not aware of my 'cornered mouse' status! To my brother, it used to be the perfect situation. He would get all 'vaakurudhis'/ promises from me before the rescue mission! Ofcourse, these days, it is my 'Ennavar-Knight' who comes to save this damsel in distress!

Meesai aaNNmaiyin chinnamenbadhu
migaipaduthapatta uvamai!
Karapanpoochi yenna
aaNNmaiyin chinnama?


***************Warning - not for delicate hearted souls*****************
Nobody needs reason for the gross feeling for roaches but I have a horrible story. During the late eighties, one of my neighbour, an avid Junior Vikatan reader, used to scare us with the stories she read on 'Ju Vi'. One such was about how kids were kidnapped and made invalid to make them beggars.
Please, last warning to those you who think they can handle #$$#%# things to not read further. I have not been able to erase it from my mind.
Anyway, what I heard was that the kidnappers blind-folded the children's eyes with roaches in them to make them blind!!! I am not sure how true this was but rips my heart everytime it comes to mind.


Jinguchakka said...

Yes, I remember that joovi story. Truly scary.
I am squeamish about frogs. Their slimy skin...yuck.
" I was 'dheme-nnu' checking mails" - :-)) You write well!
Got to learn from you.

Bala (Karthik) said...

Somehow the dorsal view of a cockroach reminds me of vengayam peels, particularly the kinds of peels you would find in vengaya sambar.
Also, maybe the reason i hate brinjal is because it resembles a leech 100%...

Prasanna said...

More than cockroaches, its rats i m really scared of. Being in Madras, rats are frequent visitors and the sight of them makes me run. I still remember the days when my bro and me used to jump on beds when rats visited, while my dad used to pour hot water and kill them.

The Talkative Man said...
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The Talkative Man said...
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The Talkative Man said...

Hotshot roach bait is the most effective and least noxious repellent, no disgusting smells, no dead roaches, they quietly disappear. Boric acid is another.

Reminded of Class X Zoology when Periplaneta americana was Lesson 1 and Nervous system of cockroach was an FAQ in Diamond guide's model papers.

mitr_bayarea said...


different kind of blog on coakroach fear. One of my biggest fears is for a lizard. I can't bear to see one in my wall and would try to get away from it as far as i can, especially, when the lizard falls off the wall onto something...eeek, disgusting creatures!

kuttichuvaru said...

'dheme-nu' mail checking!! LOL!! how long has it been since I heard tat word!!

cockroach-kku avvlavu bayamaa!! ayyo ayyo!!

Me too said...

JC, me too not fond of frogs! Recently my daughter told me that she played with a frog at school(the things they give at school to play!)! "You write well!" - Sometimes I surprise myself!!

B(K), these creatures remind me too of (different) vegetable/fruit! Dates remind me of roaches. Brinjal is like the mock(like tofu chicken!) fish though your comparison seems absolutely right!!

Prasanna, me too(I'm beginning to think if anything at all exists which doesn't scare me!)!

ttm, thank you so much!
Since Class XIII when biology branched out into Botony and Zoology, I was tensed about dissections! But I only dissected rat(always scared if it would suddenly resurrect!) and earthworm!

Mitr, aiyo!! You know how flabbergasted I was to find these creatures treated as pets by some here!!

KC, romba alta venam! Towserpandi kitte ketta unga vandavaalamellam veliye varum!!

Me said...

i have heard abt that story.....& u know what i was thinking abt these things last week...seems like the whole concept of pullapidikaravan vanished these days...for good

keerthi said...

Karappu + Aan + Poochi ! :)

I know a few girls who, even though arent scared of cockroaches, act like they are mighty scared.. being scared is a different thing.. screaming sounds artificial !!

Has to be me said...

Yuck! I hate them too.They r just so disgusting. I dont like most of the insects like u! I tend to run a mile away!
"Dhushtra kanda dhoora vilagu"!! :)

Raju said...

I have found that most women are scared of atleast one of the insects/reptiles. And our movie directors are experts in using the tactics to make the heroine hug hero.. ;)

Fun apart, I am relieved to live here free of those stuffs.. esp. L's.. Similar to ur friend scaring u with the 'roach story, Geeta's mom had told her why L's are dangerous (like what Mitr mentioned.. food poisoning), making her very scared of them..

I dont have any probs with 'roaches.. I used to hit them mildly to make them less mobile (not a great ahimsavadi.. just that i dont like to see the yucky liquid coming out of them if hit hard).., then hold them with the meesai and throw them away..

Me too said...

Me, "seems like the whole concept of pullapidikaravan vanished these days...for good" - was thinking exactly the same thing while writing about it.

Keerthi, LOL at your 'pirithu yezhudhal'! Probably cockroach phobia has become a feminine character and girls don't want them branded tom boys otherwise!!

has to be me, same same-a? good!

Raju, LOL at your mentioning the director's tactics! My paatti used to refer to the 'Palli vizhundha palan'!!

The Talkative Man said...

Apart from spiders and centipedes, every tormentor has been covered.(Gerald Durrell would have been proud!)

Frog dissection was okay as the skin was smooth.(Cant imagine sitting before hairy-skinned dead rats?!?) Whenever the frog came to life, we would pry open its jaws and the attender would pour formaldehyde to knock out its senses.

Lizards were my arch-enemies. For 2 years, I used to have a favorite corner by the compound wall for doing homework/reading/pen-repairs/shoe-polishing. I used to store abandoned Reynolds and Sketchpen caps, crayons, damaged Camlin nibs, small pencils, ballpoint refills, broken scales, half-rubbers, blunt sharpeners inside a hole in the wall. A mango sapling was planted nearby whose tender leaves withstood scorching boundary hits from many a fine batsman. When school reopened after summer, the sapling had gained height and tenanted several ants and spiders. My storehouse had become the dumping place for lizard eggs and wings of dead beetles :( Furious, we decided to drive out the buggers from the house bombarding them with paper-balls but they would run up the wall and hide in the ventilation holes. I would return to group study but after a while, my friend would look up the wall, and say with a triumphant smile, "Haiyya, enga annan thirumbi vandhutaan!"

I said...
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I said...

Seriously, I can't understand women. They can pour hot scalding wax on their legs to destroy the hair by its roots and yet be afraid of a spider or a cockroach.

They want us to open doors and be chevalier, yet want us to do the dishes. They don't want us to be the nobel savage, yet, they want us to be "sensitive".

It's like I hate women but I need one.

tt_giant said...

ulp! just when i am about to sit and eat dinner!!

Me too said...

ttm, interesting! Your favorite corner reminded me of our favorite corner(a kind of mound built to cover the drainage pipes!)where we used to have all our (secret!) chats!!

I, some better not understood!!

Deepak, oops!

ttm said...

Surprised why our friend AAT didn't recommend the nuke or puke option ;)

NaiKutti said...

did u know that sometimes desi grad student apartments in the US do act as home for cockroaches??... use "Double HIT Dhamaka" --- the powerful indian version and am sure ATL cockroaches wouldn't have had this kind of treatment in a while :-)

Me too said...

ttm, me too!!

Karthik, what spl. at desi grad students apts to attract roaches? If I find that out, may be I can be careful too!!

I said...

Nuke cockroaches? Hell, they'd even survive that.

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