THE INSECT

A/N: This is about a real incident. I am sure many of you have had your sleep ruined by a particularly persistent and noisy insect.

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When I saw the large insect clinging to my curtain I was not in the least perturbed. It was not a mosquito or one of those huge flies which have a gruesome metallic glimmer to their bloated bodies. My winged caller was a crane fly.

Everything about it was long: its legs, its abdomen and its wings.

I forgot about its presence until I went to bed. No sooner had I put aside my book and turned off the light when a frantic humming startled me into a sitting position. Frowning, I switched on my lamp. The crane fly, obviously displeased with being literally left in the dark, had abandoned the curtain.

It will soon settle down again, I thought. After twenty minutes, the insect was still flying around. I grew impatient. I was toying with the idea of shooing it into the corridor when it finally sat down on the wall.

I closed my eyes. Five minutes later, I was forced to open them when the crane fly hummed past my bed. I had to wait resignedly until it was quiet.

I woke up after one hour to a furious buzzing. I turned on the light and squinted angrily around the room. The crane fly was beating its wings noisily and moving rapidly towards the lamp fastened to the ceiling. It unwisely tried to sit on the bulb. The next moment, it was spinning away from the lamp, wings curled up; it disappeared behind my cupboard. Silence. Maybe it had scorched itself so severely as to impair flying.

Yawning, I prepared to resume my interrupted sleep.

At three o'clock in the morning, my hopes were dashed as I was woken up yet again by an all too familiar buzzing. Fuming, I smacked the switch of my bedside-table lamp and scrambled out of bed, intending to destroy it. The crane fly possessed a nasty sense of humour. It flew within my reach, and as I tried to swat at it, it darted up to the ceiling, where I could not reach it. Opening the window to let it fly into the dark would be useless; it had come inside for light, and it would not find what it required outside my room. I wasted half an hour attempting to silence my nemesis and had to slink back to my bed, defeated, muttering foul words and curses at it.

There was no sleep for me for the rest of the night. Moaning, I turned onto my stomach and buried my face in my arms. The crane fly happily zoomed past my head. I lay in bed as if in a comatose state.

In the morning, I swayed out of bed and, with a tomb-like hollow groan, scrutinised myself in the mirror. The sight did not please me at all. On returning to my room, I glared at my enemy as it hurtled around the place merrily. After dressing, I threw open the windows, hoping that my room would not end up as its permanent abode. Then, half somnambulating, I tottered down the stairs.

My mother was surprised when she saw the bluish bags underneath my puffy swollen eyes; I bore a close and hideous resemblance to a zombie.

Having finished my breakfast, I haggardly scrambled up the stairs and stumbled into my room. To my immense relief, the sadistic crane fly had flown away to enjoy the daylight. Maybe a bird would make a good meal of it.

I was very sleepy throughout the day and nearly walked into a wall. At the university, conversation was hard to establish or to maintain, for I answered in drowsy monosyllables and suppressed enormous yawns continuously. Chairs and tables and even the copying machine were used as convenient stretching posts.

The crane fly has now been added to my list of obnoxious entities which are highly unwelcome to share my room...

Crane flies, beware!