Lots of Critters….Almost, but…Not!

I killed a bug the other day. I think it was a mosquito, but it may have been a tiny spider hanging in mid-air from a strand of spider silk. It was an overcast day and the power was out.

I mention this because India is full of bugs and other critters. In Mussourie I have seen spiders the size of my hand, and though I have yet to see one, there are scorpions there too. In Ahmedabad flying crickets landed on me. At a nearby ashram I ate rice and dhal with a couple dozen house flies swarming my plate. In Delhi I walked around the roaches when I got up to go to the bathroom in the middle of the night.

Roaches — they are big and everywhere. Once I even saw an albino in Goa. But the worst was when I was in Mumbai (Bombay). I even wrote a poem about it.

But when I landed in Chennai in May my hotel room was very clean. Maybe because it’s by the shore, I thought. Uh, no. Here in kodaikanal I have seen virtually no critters. There was a very short-lived mosquito season, and apparently there are snakes, but I haven’t seen one.No roaches, no flying crickets, no spiders (except for very tiny ones). There are leeches but one has to go hiking to get one stuck on them — they aren’t “around town.” There are rolly-pollies (potato bugs) the size of my thumb, lizards and frogs but those don’t count because they are the fun critters.

There are rats here, but if your house doesn’t have any holes in it then you just hear them occasionally. My house has no holes. I am okay with co-existing as long as they stay in my ceiling.

I stopped checking under the toilet seat weeks ago — there really is nothing much to worry about.

I mentioned Mussourie in the second paragraph of this post. This week I have arranged a trip there, at the foothills of the Himalayan mountains, in September. I will be reading my Beowulf adaptation and conducting a workshop on the music of poetry at Woodstock School. I am super excited. My wife, who went to school there, is super jealous, despite the spiders there. The spiders that I will be avoiding at all cost. In Mussourie, I will be raising the toilet seat — and checking behind the curtains.

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