The red marks on my three month old's face are definitely not mosquito bites. And mosquitoes are something we are REALLY scared of. First it was the Dengue, now the Chikungunya. The deadly Aedes mosquitoes come out during the daytime. Their bites are so scary that even all other mosquitoes are scared of them and hence come out only at night. And we sure are providing all the breeding grounds possible. For the Aedes and their nocturnal cohorts, we are providing all the 'love in the air' with all the water on the ground. Monsoon is not quite here, and we are already knee deep in water at the first downpour. Well, there is one good news for the residents of the Tri-State area who never get to venture out of the bubble to go and see the Buriganga – now the Buriganga will come to them, home delivery style. Just like Food Panda, to be called Food Ganga, or Flood Ganga, or Ganga Panda (closing in on you like Gunda Panda). And the students are thrilled. They can kill two birds with one essay – just replace 'bus' with 'boat' or vice versa for the essays A Journey By Boat and A Journey By Bus.
Coming back to the red marks on my three month old's cheeks. Soon the marks are on my butt cheeks. Bed bugs! Urgh!! So, we call in pest control. Quite impressed that there are professionals. We are uprooted as the whole house is fumigated. We take refuge at my parents', to their delight of having the grand kids around.
But the refugee status takes its toll on us while the chemicals refuse to take their toll on the bugs despite the claims of the exterminators being Navy S.E.A.Ls. We decide to move back in. Bites are better than being nomads. Interestingly, once we're back in, we notice a lull in the bugs. That's because there is no electricity. And no, it's not a power outage. DESCO has severed our electricity connection. No, I'm no controversial figure. We simply forgot to pay our bills on time. I had a bug in my feeling that I had forgotten something. I have to say, DESCO is very efficient at this. Also heartening to know that they also have numbers to meet, given Eid closures. I call up my engineer buddy at DESCO as the line man gives us 10 minutes to clear payments (even “Beam me up to the bank, Scottie” can't resolve that). But my buddy says, “Dude. First pay the bills and I promise we'll reconnect right away.” Sigh. My BUET engineering degree with its social capital fails. But I am impressed – no bills, no service. I wished that would apply uniformly everywhere.
Coming back to the one good news – no bed bugs. Wow! The chemicals finally worked. Meanwhile, as promised, the electricity is reconnected within an hour of clearing our bills. And it is also clear that within another hour, the bed bugs are right back with full force. A new learning, these bugs also like the comforts of the modern day – electricity!
It seems that when things go wrong, they go so wrong. If there is such a thing called Murphy's Law, I should change my last name from Mahbub to Murphy, because I sure am Murphy's Brother-In-Law!
Have you ever faced your wife when an electric line man comes to cut the umbilical cord? Not fun. I have seen that once with my in-laws. As I brace myself for a similar predicament this time, the wife answers Gandhi style, “Hey, we have each other and our kids.” For once, I thank the bed bugs that we are actually NOT in our home and being a refugee turns out to be not all that bad.
As the drama pans out through Thursday, I sit down to write this column a day late, i.e., on Friday to be published on Saturday when the readers are a day late in going home for Eid, leaving back an empty Dhaka City. But an empty Dhaka City with no readers of my column is still so, so much preferable. I shudder to think of the Saturday after the last Friday of last year's Ramadan. If there are nefarious schemes hatching, may the Laws of Murphy be with them.
The writer is an engineer at Ford & Qualcomm USA and CEO of IBM & Nokia Siemens Networks Bangladesh turned comedian (by choice), the host of ATN Bangla's The Naveed Mahbub Show and ABC Radio's Good Morning Bangladesh, the founder of Naveed's Comedy Club.