Monday, August 28, 2006

Up close and personal with a bee!!

Yesterday was Vinayaka Chaturthi and Pooja was performed as usual at home. Having finished a rather elaborate lunch yours truly ventured out around 2.30pm to meet a friend in Mylapore. Half way through while I was near Malar Hospitals, Adyar, things took a turn for the worse leaving me in a lot of pain and agony!! In hindsight this could actually have been a curse from Lord Ganesha on his birthday for speaking ill of his miracle of drinking milk!!

To get to the fact in issue, while I was cruising along on my bike at about 60kmph another object was cruising in the opposite direction at two or three times that speed! The object in question was an insect, more particularly a bee! While both of us were thus cruising along, our paths inevitably crossed resulting in the bee inflicting a murderous sting on me just under the right eye!! What more, the bee was quite intent on gouging my eye out! Now, before all of you jump on me with the virtues of wearing a helmet while driving, let me clarify that I was, indeed, wearing a helmet! But I always have the visor open about an inch at the base for air circulation. And as luck would have it, the flight path of the bee seemed to be directly in line with the gap between the helmet and visor!

Going back to the narrative, there was a big tug of war between me and the bee with the bee initially having the upper hand as I had to slow down and park the vehicle with one hand. Thankfully, it being a Sunday, the road was fairly deserted. Finally I managed to wrench the bee out, only to realise that it had left behind its sting! Then began the agonizing pain and the face began to swell up alarmingly within seconds! Managed to finally turn the bike and drive upto the nearest hospital where they managed to extract the sting out. By the time they managed to inject a dose of anti-histamine (anti-allergic) in me, the damage had already been done with a hugely puffed up right side of the face and worse still, I broke out in red coloured spots all over the body!! If there was a human equivalent for a spotted leopard, then I would have certainly qualified as one! Finally I managed to reach home around 4pm, only to shock everyone at home by my appearance!

The anti-histamine began to take effect late in the evening and the spots disappeared thereafter. But the pain remained, with me wincing every time I blinked my eyes. Repeated application of a cold compress throughout the night helped bring down the swelling a bit by this morning! I have never had great opinions about my looks and don’t venture to look at the face at close quarters except while combing my hair and shaving. But it’s really quite surprising how the very same face becomes most desirable to look at when something goes wrong with it! I kept looking into the mirror almost every five minutes whole of last evening, much to the amusement of my mother :-)

This is how it looked on Sunday evening! The one on your left is actually the right eye :-)

Things are much better today with the swelling reduced a lot and the face now resembling that of a boxer with a black eye after a rather stiff bout! Managed to go to court as well, though I did manage to draw quite a few stares. In fact I could have actually played out a childhood fantasy of playing one of the characters in Treasure Island by wearing a shade over my right eye like Blind Pew :-)

To put things in proper perspective, the insect kingdom and I have always shared a love-hate relationship. The insects’ love for me and my hate for the insects!! Insects seem to have the knack of sniffing me out wherever I may be! Before the advent of mosquito mats and vapourisers, Tortoise coils and Odomos were my saviours!! Odomos, unlike its present avtar, used to be sticky and greasy and made you feel like buttered toast! However, despite such shortcomings, it has saved me from many bites and stings!

Thus, in the final tally, I guess I should be happy that things haven’t gone worse this time and I did manage to get the accursed bee off before it could do further damage. I understand that the honey bee when it stings a mammal leaves behind its barbed sting and thus loses its life in the bargain. The bee, on the other hand, would have gone with the satisfaction that it had caused sufficient damage to keep me in discomfort for at least a few days!

P.S: I did not actually get to see the bee properly and I have proceeded under the impression that it was a bee after all, only on the evidence that it had left behind its sting. Hence, to clarify things, you may substitute the word “insect” for the word “bee” wherever it appears in the foregoing paragraphs as I do not want to incur further wrath of the bee kingdom by levelling accusations against them without proper evidence. One sting is more than enough for me :-)