The Protector

Somewhere in India.

A farm of cabbage, vied with other farms nearby, to grow fleshy, leafy cabbages to be sold in the Indian cities. The small farm was owned by Raghu, a nondescript farmer who toiled hard in his field. The neighbouring farms were owned by his friends, Madhukar, Sudhakar, Raibha and Mahipat.

For a few years now, the five friends had grown cabbages and sold them personally in the nearby city which allowed them to make ends meet; put food in the kitchen and give decent education to their respective children.

However, this year they were worried. Their cabbage crop had been attacked. No, not by any jealous villagers but by large number of stinky bugs which had congregated on their crops in a feasting frenzy and threatened to make their lives miserable by eating away their very livelihood.

Time – early morning.

Place – near the fields.

The early morning conference between 5 friends was in full swing. This was before the Swachhata abhiyan had gathered steam, before the toilets were built in their village.

Mahipat was made to sit at a bearable distance as he had had chole (chickpeas) the previous night.

Raibha threw the conference open, “How are we going to find a solution to this stinky bugs problem?”

“Yes Mahipat, you have to give up on eating the chole. You raise too much stink early morning”, so saying, Raghu had a good laugh. Everyone laughed at Mahipat’s expense. Poor Mahipat could only fart in reply.

“But seriously, these stinky bugs are consuming our cabbages and before long we will be left with nothing to sell”, Madhukar was now serious.

“Sudhakar, you are a bit knowledgeable, you have lived in the city. Please give us some solution”, Raibha implored.

Sudhakar, who had been concentrating on his own thing till now, joined the conference.

“Well, we must call for Idris Elba”, Sudhakar contributed with a serious demeanor.

Everyone stared at him, too shocked to respond.

“Are you feeling constipated?”, asked a concerned Madhukar. “Who the hell is this Idris Elba”?

“Oh, he is a British actor and musician”.

“An actor! A musician! How the hell will he be of any help?”, asked a flabbergasted Raghu.

“No, he will not be of any help”, replied Sudhakar with a straight face.

“Then, why the hell have you mentioned Idris whatever”, shouted Madhukar.

Sudhakar answered calmly, “You asked a wrong question. You should have asked, What is Idris Elba?”

“Ok, what is Idris Elba?”, asked Mahipat from his vantage position as he was now done with his deed.

Scrunching his nose at his friend, Sudhakar said, “Now you have asked the correct question. This Idris Elba is a parasitic wasp species which infests the eggs of the stinky bug, using the eggs for the propagation of their own species. Thus, indirectly it controls the population of the stinky bugs and protects the crops which are threatened by the bugs.”

A silence descended on the conference, which was now almost over.

Finally Raghu said, “So is that the solution we are looking at? Is Idris Elba wasp, the solution?”

“Yes, my dear friend, Idris Elba is the solution as it is a Heimdall-like protector for many crops”, concluded Sudhakar.

And so the conference ended that morning, with a solution to their common problem.

They decided to have many such early morning conferences, with a strict menu for previous night, where having chole was banned.

Yatindra Tawde