आज गादीला जरा
ऊन खाऊ दे.
गच्चीवर टाकली न टाकली तो
सैरावैरा ढुंगणाला पाय
लावून धूम पळत सुटलेले.
तरी तीनचार पायाखाली आलेच.
त्यांच्या कुळथीच्या रंगाचे
उतरत्या सूर्याला साक्षी
ठेवून मी स्वत:शीच पुटपुटलो,
देवा, त्यांच्या आत्म्यांना शांती दे
त्यातला चुकून एखादा असायचा फ्रान्झ काफ्का!"
Tukaram 1608-1649 (तुकाराम), quoted at the very top of this blog, sure knew this truth when he said: "ढेकणासी बाज गड, उतरचढ केवढी" (For a bedbug a bed is like a castle. so much climbing up and down!).
After reading this first time in Dilip Chitre's (दिलीप चित्रे) 'Punha Tukaram' (पुन्हा तुकाराम), 1990, I smiled and imagined how Tukaram must have observed a bug climbing a leg of a bed in his own house. Those couple of minutes gave birth to, for me, one of the most moving Marathi couplets.
Western literature too is full of them: "...from Horace to Henry Miller. They crop up in the Talmud, in Aristotle and Aristophanes..." (Cook)
Recently I came across Brooke Borel's book 'Infested: How the Bed Bug Infiltrated Our Bedrooms and Took Over the World', 2015 and its review by Marlene Zuk in The New York Times, April 17 2015.
We associate a bed with bedbugs and sex. So what about sex of bedbugs?
"...When bedbugs mate, the male stabs the female’s body with his penis and deposits his sperm inside, a process “more like a shanking than a romantic coupling.” It’s part of what enables the bugs to reproduce so effectively, and become — welcome or not — one of our most common urban companions." (Zuk)
"...After they’ve feasted on your blood, they like to engage in rough and tumble sex (not with you, fortunately)..." (Cook)
Tukaram did not know this. Had he known, I wonder what he would have composed!