On a recent visit to Delhi, for a family event, it finally dawned on me just what I had been missing these past few months in Mumbai, and hadn’t even realised it till I was accosted in the metro that I took from the airport to the residence.
The ubiquitous house fly, or Musca Domestica, as it loves to be addressed by those in biology, is something that never leaves the capital’s company – be it hail or shine, hot or cold. It was dipping towards water’s freezing point, and yet inside the empty coach where I sat, they were making their buzzing presence felt.
The instant I saw them, I realised just what I had missed in amchi Mumbai! That city, where there are mythical pots of gold waiting for anyone who can find them, is strangely, bereft of these flying pests, where ironically enough, there’s plenty of potential nourishment for them.
Instead, they chose to inhabit the freezing-in-winter north India, which left me a bit puzzled, as I distinctly remember them being guests in the sticky summer months, many, many moons ago. Times indeed have changed, or maybe they have evolved a natural furry coat to guard them from being frozen mid-flight.
But then, these were no ordinary flies. While their forefathers may have flitted over and found sustenance in filth and garbage, or sweets and decaying fruits, the modern-day fly does tend to travel in style and comfort – warm as it was inside the coach, where they remained for the duration of my journey at least, if not for the duration of the entire journey.
But what did they feed on? After all, you can’t survive on warm air. Though yes, it’s real luxury – not just for the bottom of the pyramid, but also for those at the bottom of the food chain!