All of a sudden, everything is disgusting.
The past few weeks have been but a prelude. I’d arrive to work to find little dead insects, bigger than fleas and smaller than flies, black with trapezoidal bodies and transparent wings, lying on the desks and chairs and floors. I’d watch the office boys sweep the floor as I’d drink my morning coffee, their pushbrooms rounding up a good Ziplock bag’s worth of carcasses by the time I’d turn to my email.
That was the prelude. Now is the onslaught. You pass under a bright light and suddenly they’re on your shirt by the dozens. You ride in an auto and you reach your destination picking them out of your beard. You arrive at your office in the morning and find them floating in your coffee cup. They die in mid-air and land in your hair. Vendors hang plastic bags under bright lights and collect six inches worth of bodies that they’d otherwise have to sweep off the ground.
You get desensitized; no longer reaching for a tissue, you just brush them off with your hand. You use the same fork you’re eating with to flick them out of your food.
I walked into a glass-enclosed ATM tonight, brightly lit by fluorescent tubes. Too late I realized it was a snow globe that someone had shaken after replacing the snowflakes with flies. The poor guard stared without expression as I franticly waved my arms to warn them off; it’s hard for him to sympathize with my entomological discomfort for the duration of a whole transaction when he’ll be sitting there all night in his garishly-white cage, the insects crawling on his head, landing on his mustache, mating and partying and dying in the air he breathes while thousands more on the outside slam themselves against the glass walls and fall into piles on the ground, little snowdrifts of black life waiting for the morning sweeper.
The Times of India has identified these creatures as leafhoppers, blaming the high temperatures in the weeks following the monsoon for their infestation. Leafhopper genocide, they promise, will come when the temperature drops.