My college days found me staying in what roughly can be called a ‘hostel’. Only it wasn’t. It was a house that converted into shared lodgings for 30 odd girls. There is a whole saga of my life there in that hostel that would simply take up reams of space. Dining in the place was a simple problem. We had asked one of the messes nearby to bring us our food to the tin shed that doubled up as our dining hall.
I have often wondered how these eateries got the name, ‘Mess’, and it dawns on me that it is probably the mess that is all around that contributes to the name. Anyway, this particular mess that served our food was not the best, it certainly wasn’t the most hygienic. One day, as we were sitting with the sambar floating in our plates over the rice, one of my friends asked me to check whether the red chilli in the sambar looked red chilli enough. I gave her a feverish look. That day was one of the days, I was genuinely hungry and the watery sambhar even looked savory from a distance. It wasn’t as brick reddish as usual and I was rather looking forward to it. I gave her a look of disdain that was entirely lost on her. She was too busy staring into her plate. So, I joined the band of observers and it did seem a little strange that the red chilli should have sprouted little feet and arms. There were distinctly there.
“Maybe, the chilli split in that odd manner.” I said unconvincingly, only to have my co-observers give me a look of disdain. What goes around comes around I tell you.
And so it was that despite my best intentions to believe otherwise, the offender was classified as a cockroach. UGH!
In other news,Valentine’s Day is here, and the daughter is all a-twitter. I have been asked several times what I consider to be the most important day of February. There is love in the air. This time, with all the attention this day is getting in her life, I thought it a rather bright idea to see what is it that other folks were getting the loves of their lives. The roses and the chocolates I knew, but what I did not know was this….
Here is a gift – I don’t know if any, but die-hard naturalists would consider the gift romantic, but there it is. The chance to name one of the species of cockroaches for now and ever more is the Valentine’s Day Gift.
Given that the creatures do not kindle any loving instincts in me – in fact the only images they kindle in me are those watery sambhar images, I think I’ll pass.
12 thoughts on “Valentine Cockroaches”
“I love you as much as I love a Madagascar cockroach.”
Yuck yuck yuck!
And that mess story – yuck, yuck!! After I found some unidentifiable object which had evidently been alive a little time ago in my hostel-food, I gave up examining the food too closely. It was either that or starve!
Yes that sort of find messes up a vegetarian big time Archana 🙂 It was Marie biscuits for a while after that!
As I see it, cockroaches are the most hardy creatures to roam planet Earth (excluding the unfortunate sample in your sambar/rasam – Darwin’s theory at work nevertheless). Giving a cockroach species the same name as your significant other denotes undying love and romance (never mind that said significant other will probably kill the first ‘roach they come across, their name or not)! I guess this would be slightly less egg-headed than scratching Arun + Sulokavalli within a heart on a poor tree…
I think I prefer the bark carving to naming a cockroach after me anyday Anand – Thanks!
OMG!! I dont think I could have ever eaten the sambahr after that! some thing are better left uninvestigated.
And Valentine Cockroach, is yuck!
SK – the problem is I couldn’t eat any sambhar fr weeks afterward. And then the stomach tires of Marie biscuits and we go back. The resilient species…
A Valentine Cockroach!!!! yuck is an under statement.
And all people who have stayed in a hostel some or the other time in their life(including me) would be able to identify with your Sambar experience 🙂 The consolation we used after going back from Marie/Maggi… to Mess(y) food was that cockroach/insects contain lot of proteins 😛
And builds resistance!
From our good friends at wikipedia:
“The root of mess is the Old French mes, “portion of food”, drawn from the Latin verb mittere, meaning “to send” and “to put”, the original sense being “a course of a meal put on the table”. This sense of mess, which appeared in English in the 13th century, was often used for cooked or liquid dishes in particular, as in the “mess of pottage” (porridge or soup) for which Esau in Genesis traded his birthright. By the 15th century, a group of people who ate together was also called a mess, and it is this sense that persists in the “mess halls” of the modern military.”
Oh….thanks Manu. Good to know. I think the mess owners got confused with the more common meaning for mess. We must enlighten them!
They could have chosen to name turtles instead…they live quite a few of our life times too…
And they are immensely cuter!