January 2015








It's praying time

Praying mantis

I racked my brains all day trying to think of a humorous ancedote to include in the "Real Life Humour" column but nothing came to mind. It seemed as though I had penned down all the humorous incidents that had ever occurred in my life, and there was nothing more to add. Henceforth, my life would be humourless and bleak!

That can't be true, I thought to myself. There must be something to write about; all that was needed was a stimulant which could cause all the suppressed memories to come out of their hiding.

To think is to act, and I prepared myself a cup of tea in a jiffy. Standing by the open window with the cup in hand, I made a fresh attempt. All of a sudden something hit me on the face causing me to spill the tea. A few droplets entered my eyes blurring my vision.

First things first. I rubbed my eyes clean with a handkerchief; cleaned up the mess on the floor; and, then, turned my attention towards discovering the culprit.

I found the culprit. It was a fresh green leaf. Oh no, not a leaf! Closer inspection revealed it was a praying mantis. After slapping me on the face, it was clinging to the edge of the table-covering and swaying from side to side like a drunk.

The intruder had to be removed. I lunged at it; it side-stepped and crouched behind the telephone. Want to make a call do you? Can't allow you any free calls. I started to make another attempt at swatting the fellow but checked myself just in time. You just can't be sure; looks can be deceptive and this harmless-looking chap could really be harmful. Why not check the insect's characteristics on the Internet before attempting anything rash, I thought to myself. It was not going away anywhere in a hurry and seemed content to remain behind the phone.

The computer was already on and I typed "praying mantis" in the search box. "Praying mantises are harmless to humans," I read and felt quite reassured. However, it is a carnivore and likes to feast on moths, crickets, grasshoppers, flies, and other insects, I read. "The insect can eat others of its own kind, and the adult female sometimes eats her mate just after - or even during - mating, and this behavior does not to deter males from reproduction," I was informed. Yuck!

"The praying mantis is named for its prominent front legs, which are bent and held together at an angle that suggests the position of prayer," I learned. To me, however, the posture suggested it was warming up to spring on me. As for the "praying" part, I already told you the fellow was swaying from side to side like one who has had too many; no place of worship would have admitted a devotee in such a tipsy condition.

The praying mantis can make for an interesting pet, another article informed but I refused to read further down where the article told me how to take care of a praying mantis. I was not going to take care of any praying mantis; this fellow had better leave.

Reassured that the insect is harmless, I decided to tackle it. Yet, I cringed from taking it head-on and decided to tackle it from behind. I tell you, I was directly behind the insect; it turned its triangular head slightly and I could see it staring at me with bulging eyes. Just imagine how you would feel if you are walking behind someone and that someone decides to look at you simply by rolling his eyes without even turning his head! "Mantids can turn their heads 180 degrees to scan their surroundings with two large compound eyes and three other simple eyes located between them," I had read.

I had enough of this praying mantis. There was a door by my side. I opened it, and prodded my little intruder to change direction so as to face the door. I, then, nudged it with a folded newspaper towards the door. The fellow took the hint, and made a dash for the great open spaces. I closed the door immediately. Well, life is not humourless and bleak after all. Even a tiny praying mantis can enliven up things!



Some useful links for
your career:


  • Union Public Service Commission - www.upsc.gov.in
  • IIT-Kharagpur - www.iitkgp.ac.in
  • Indian Statistical Institute - www.isical.ac.in
  • Indian Institute of Technology Madras - www.iitm.ac.in
  • Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad - www.iimahd.ernet.in
  • Indian Institute of Mass Commission - www.iimc.nic.in
  • IIT Bombay - www.iitb.ac.in
  • Indian School of Mines, Dhanbad - www.ismdhanbad.ac.in
  • Birla Institute of Technology, Ranchi - www.bitmesra.ac.in
  • Central Institute of Fisheries Nautical and Engineering Training - www.cifnet.nic.in
  • Indian Institute of Information Technology, Allahabad (Deemed University) - www.iiita.ac.in
  • Central Marine Fisheries Research Institute, Kochi - www.cmfri.com
  • Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai - www.tiss.edu

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