“Hey Guys! Be on guard. Our eggs can hatch at any given moment. It’s our duty to protect them,” said the Louse leader to his companions. Soaked in oil and absorbing some of it a little while ago, he turned as hefty as a rice grain and black all over. Moving to and fro, he continued, “We must safeguard our future. This is our territory.”
“I encountered the killer teeth today. I escaped, narrowly though,” said the thin coffee brown coloured louse.
“Huh, I know, they call it, what? ‘The comb’,” exclaimed the little louse who was born just a day ago.
The three lice nodded in unison from Khyathi’s long silky hair.
“Ma!” Khyathi called out “Ma, we’d be late for the Annual day.”
Khyathi’s mother Maya was stuck with the household chores.
“Give me a minute child. I wish your dad was here today. Get your comb and the new headband I got for you.”
As Khyathi’s mother combed her daughter’s hair, the lice family on her head struggled to keep away from the teeth. The little louse got stuck in between the teeth but managed to cling to one strand of hair and was flung to the edges of the hair.
Khyathi wore a beautiful white satin gown for the school annual day. The sequins on her head band sparkled. It was time for her performance on stage. The curtains rose. Music began. Khyathi raised her right hand to the tune and then to the left. All of a sudden, she began scratching her head and got confused with the steps.
On Khyathi’s head…
“Hurry! Hurry up guys. The nails! Watch out,” the head louse shrieked. He looked at the new born lice and began counting them. He was satisfied. The lice family was now as big as an army. He didn’t have to worry if he was caught and snapped to death between nails because they could now keep multiplying.
Maya was worried. She tried anti lice shampoos, oiled and rinsed her head often and had also bought a special lice comb. Alas, the lice kept multiplying. She also stopped Khyathi from going to school for two days so that the lice don’t spread in the class.
Finally, Maya called up a distant relative, Aunt Nandini, an expert in lice removal and invited her over the weekend.
When Aunt Nandini examined Khyathi’s head, she said, “It’s not just lice but an army of lice.”
Then she began the age old treatment of lice – taking them out by hand and snapping them between the thumbnails. Khyathi’s hair was silky. The lice slid down easily. It was difficult for Aunt Nandini to catch hold of even one louse.
“Smart parasites! Just wait and I’ll pick each one of you,” she’d say.
A week later, Aunt Nandini began scratching her head. She didn’t want to stay at Khyathi’s house anymore. She packed her bag and bade them goodbye.
On the scalp of a head…….
The louse leader made an announcement.
“Hey Guys! Have courage to move on. This new territory, I am sure, is a larger breeding ground than the previous one.”