AG Gardiner’s memorable essay, A Fellow Traveller, starts as “I do not know which of us got into the carriage first. Indeed I did not know he was in the carriage at all for some time. It was the last train from London to a Midland town—a stopping train, an infinitely leisurely train, one of those trains which give you an understanding of eternity.” In just 280 words, the master story-teller blends humor and philosophy. His fellow traveller that summer night was a mosquito.
A news report reads, “A woman journalist of a regional news channel has accused the principal and a lecturer of The National Degree College of trying to assault her at Jayanagar 7th Block.”
The news reporter and a cameraman from a TV channel went to the college to check mosquito menace in classrooms. The principal and a lecturer of the college stopped her from interviewing students in the college premises. This resulted in an argument and the news reporter lodged a complaint in police station that she was assaulted by the two. Jayanagar police are investigating the case.
Students of the college took out a procession on the road, not to complain about the “wingy, nippy, intrepid insects that we call mosquitoes” in classrooms, but to protest against the TV Channel making a propaganda against their college.
Two days after the news reporter incident, I spent 3 hours in a classroom in the college. Luckily, I neither met any tickling impertinence on my skin nor a whining sound in my ears. Did the college have only male mosquitoes, attracting a female mosquito reporter? However, mosquitoes are not part of the story any more – buzz is around an issue sprouted from vanity.
As reported, “both male and female mosquitoes buzz, since they both have wings, but you probably won’t notice the whine of the males, because they don’t want to drink your blood. So they stay away from your ears, eating nectar, while the females come near to annoy you.”
I am reminded of another great essay by Gardiner, All about a Dog, a story of bus journey in a bitterly cold night unlike the warm summer night on a train with a mosquito as fellow traveller. “You may mix your rules with a little goodwill and good temper,” tells the author at the end.