My first encounter with them was in Kerala though it wasn't my first visit to the place. God's own country they had said, the sublime scenery, the pristine backwaters, the serenity, the cozy houseboats, yes indeed there was magic in the air. My second visit to the state but to another city. It was a quiet peaceful place, nothing Godly about it but beautiful nevertheless. I was to attend a wedding the next day, something I was looking forward to so I ignored the dingy hotel I had put up in and its modest surroundings. I needed a roof and a bed and it was there, I was happy, contented and not in the least bit prepared for what was to come next. Weary from the travel I retired early curling up in the bed that looked so inviting. I think I fell asleep immediately, all I remember next was waking up with a start, confused and alarmed. They were there.
Mumbai, a city where dreams come true, my first visit and my only intention was to have a good time and to shop while I could. I wasn't staying long enough for my dreams to materialize, just 4 days. Day one was eventful a shopping expedition had turned successful and the long walk at worli sea face was refreshing. Again, it was time to rest. Or so I thought. The nightmares of Kerala came haunting back, I wasn't scared this time, only disgusted. They were back and there was nothing I could do about it.
Bhatkal, a small town in Coastal Karnataka where my mother grew up in. It was where I spent all my summer holidays. A place to which I have more memories attached than any other. Visiting after a gap of four years was special, I knew I would be treated like a celebrity. For them I was the ambitious career women who was out to get the world. I let them believe that. I can never sleep in bus journeys so I rested against the uneasy seat in the bus and reminisced on the past as the bus took sharp turns in the climb up the western ghats. Not all memories were sweet and a strange feeling had begun to creep in. It wasn't nostalgia. I decided it was best that I slept and tried counting my cousins instead of sheep. It was of no use. They didn't have to wake me up this time. I was wide awake and they were there, as always unexpected and uninvited, sucking my blood like they owned it. Frigging bedbugs! I have never hated any creature as much as I have hated those creepy predators of the night. I loathe them. Die you filthy creeps, all of you die and leave me alone. I need my sleep when I travel.