Bat and the beast

We have all heard of emotions like passion, rage and jealousy rousing the beast in us but a bat having a similar effect? No, dear reader, I am not referring to the willow that the likes of Sachin Tendulkar wield with such mastery. The bat I’m referring to is a mosquito swatter.

This electric contraption, the size of a badminton bat, came home not out of choice. Unable to tolerate the sales pitch of the youngster at the traffic junction and wanting to get rid of him, the husband bought one. We swatted a mosquito here and there the first few days and subsequently it died, not the mosquito but the bat.

The boys got their tools out, measured the voltage and declared the bat to be alive and stunning. Proof of life lies in the killing, I argued and showed them how the bat did nothing to the fat fellow on the wall who was so satiated with blood that even the weight of the bat didn’t move him. “No, the fault lies with the cheap road side ones. We will get one from the shop,” they declared and this time a conscious buying decision resulted in a green bat coming home.

This bat has been home for a month and coincidentally the monsoons, the road digging and the construction activity behind our house have meant a sudden and unprecedented rise in the mosquito population in the house. All the family members yield the bat with great dexterity now. The electric sound of the mosquito getting annihilated is music to the ears and the son even blows on the bat a la a cowboy after the kill.

The blood sucker that gives a slip is chased from room to room till it is killed. We stalk the victim (or is it the killer) with great care and then pounce on it with greater glee. Counts of mosquitoes killed are compared and each one wants to better their scores. A missed kill results in great anguish and vows to get back with a vengeance are taken. Beastly but thoroughly satisfying.

But the bat has not brought out just the beast. The children have become very responsible as far as the bat is concerned. The moment the bat shows signs of losing its charge, it is plugged in. requests to fetch the bat are promptly compiled with and the bat is handled with great care too. Perhaps, seeing the mosquito drop dead is an instant reward. If only I could get them to be this responsible in other tasks!

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