Today I killed a wasp. It isn’t every day that I go about killing innocent species of the insect family but this was more of a compulsion I should say. A magnificent wasp made its way through the open window, whose sting was about double the size of the tapered portion of a pen. I, on the other hand, was completely engrossed in modern literature contemplating about the side effects of not reading regularly. My attention diverted when the thumb-sized wasp blocked the view of my window as if calling for my attention. I stared at it in silence and noticed the well-organized wings on the sides of its body – the insect floaing in sheer joy. I stood up and assumed an orthodox stance when the head of the wasp pointed towards my direction. Two antennas protruding from its tiny head, as if calibrating the distance between him and me. The amalgam of brown, red, green and black marked the color of its body- but then again, I am color-blind and continually confuse the aforementioned details. The insect glided in a circle around my reading spot, and I stood well-armed with a book in my right hand. Noticing the peculiarity of the situation, the insect glided back towards a safer environment. However, wasps aren’t as innocent as they appear to be, they sting humans for no apparent reason. So, like the curious entomologist that I am, more like a stupid entomologist, I went in to examine the predator at a closer glance. I have never in my life, killed an insect, or any living being for that matter, intentionally. I have the habit of letting mosquitoes suck the blood out of me as per their requirements, until my friend made me aware of the unusual realities of Malaria. Then, I bought a mosquito repellent with the little bit of remaining cash from last month’s pocket money and have been avoiding intimate conversations with mosquitoes ever since. But wasps are uncanny, their stings look like bullets, and can render one unconscious if one doesn’t have the daily habit of stinging oneself from other such species-and I, for one, certainly do not. The wasp pointed towards me in a frivolous manner, and I stared at it back. I believe in defense being the best defense and had my handy Hemingway novel ready.
The wings fluttered as if the insect despised my company, I stood defensive in a meter’s distance whilst still trying to notice every little unordinary movement taken by the insect to render me feverish. The wasp dove in towards my direction, while its sting curved and pointed towards me. I swung my book, not so much to kill it but to deflect its direction – I missed. But the swinging created enough wind to make him act a little defensive and chose a different angle to strike me. It circled clockwise, moving in closer. I ducked with all my might – oh, he missed somehow. This was the battle between the man and the insect, whose arsenals differed in a lot of aspects. He had the advantage of higher ground, and I had the advantage of reach. He had the sting which could make me cry in agony, and I had the wit of centuries. And if I were deprived of trickery, I would have been no less than an insect.
We stared eye to eye, the discovery channel had taught me that he was more equipped in the field of vision-but I still had trickery. The wasp dove again, and I swung the book with all the strength I had. But the insect, on the other hand, had mastered the art of aerodynamics and dodged the book with ease. He chose another distance and closed in immediately while I was still recovering from our previous encounter. The human nervous system runs in electrical impulses, which meant I had the reflex to swing my arms inwards with all the force that I could muster. The book hit the insect this time, and the sound of the impact could have been audible from another room. The wasp crashed and swept along the floor, completely injured. It showed minuscule movement from where I was standing, but he couldn’t get up from such an impact, I thought. I left the room and entered the other one to continue with my book.
I sat down to continue my reading, but the thought of the wiggling wasp kept me preoccupied. The insect could have been in tremendous pain. I had inflicted torture on that poor thing. And then I thought, if he survives, he survives. If he does not, it was an act of self-defense. The voice in my head went,
“Right, so defensive of you to kill someone whose only method of defense was his sting, and it could not make you die. But your mode of defense, on the other hand, was, to kill the poor thing. What an equality that is. Come to think of it, you haven’t even killed him, you’ve left him in pain, ripped him off of his flight. Wow, how defensive to torture someone until they die.”
I didn’t take pleasure in what I had done, although a lot of my friends kill insects with ease – but I couldn’t digest it. I went to examine the insect, who was still struggling to get up. I had actually left him in torture, only because I had the impulse to act defensively. The poor thing did not have the smartness to leave the situation, but to act aggressively as it had always been for him. I, on the other hand, was a member of the most advanced species, gifted with critical thinking. And what did I do? I acted like an insect, and insects would never kill each other if it didn’t demand. I had the ability to guide the wasp towards the exit or to leave the room for the matter. I had a choice, but the insect did not.
Looking at the agonising situation of the insect struggling with pain, I thought it would be better to kill it in an instant, rather than leave him to suffer. So I stepped on it, and it made a popping sound, as I moved my foot to the side. Only the stinger had burst. The wasp moved about in displeasure, its sting wiggling on and about, the insides of the insect coming out. I stepped on the head of the insect, it made a popping sound. This time, I knew that the act was done. I removed my foot and noticed that the insect was immobile, but only its sting wiggling. I looked at the wiggling of the sting, as it slowly and steadily diminished in speed and movement. The insect was finally still, dead, to be exact.
I killed a wasp, and how I am supposed to live with it.
Freewheeling on impermanence.