The little vampires and I
Assalamolaikom wr wb dear diary
As children and husband are asleep again, I am finding some time to spend with you.Everyday I have so much to share with you but when the actual moment comes, when I have access to keyboard (Rumaysa doesnt let me use it. She is 9 months and very naughty) 90 % of the things in my mind vanish away.
So lets start with 2012. When I wanted to, but couldn’t speak to you because of being extremely busy. Every night I would wake up with itching on my hands, with scattered red marks. They were swelly and about a coin’s size. My husband, to whom I was newly married, told me you are allergic to ‘dhania’ i.e. coriander seeds. I took that astonishingly as to ‘dhania’ is used in almost 70% of Pakistani dishes and I have been eating them all my life. The reason he was blaming it to ‘dhania’ was because my mother in law introduced a chatni to me which I was having every morning with Roti . It had mostly dhania in it so I thought maybe, oh maybe that was causing it.
I went to show a doctor, thinking it was allergy. The doctor told me, this is not allergy. Something is biting you. ‘If this was allergy, then it would not be so random’. Her point made sense to me. I had never had any allergies, mashaAllah until I was in Pakistan.
So then what was it? What was biting me? There was nothing that I could think of in the home that I tried to keep as clean as possible. I felt a bit scary about it.
So the mystery went on and the itching kept happening. One night as I was on the phone with someone, I saw something as small as the tip of needle crawling. ‘Allah o Akbar’ it was one of the tiniest pest I had ever seen. I was now sure this was the real culprit. THE BED BUGS. I could now recall my sister in law kept saying to me check for bed bugs. We would often look closely on the sheet, pillow, sides of bed but couldn’t ever see anything. Of course, these were so tiny! Must have been the baby ones. Also, these were just biting me and my husband would be sleeping very peacefully. Research proves that bed bugs are attracted to women. (Allah o Akbar kabeera!)
Dear diary, if you have been thinking all this time that the vampires were the cause of it, I must say you have been reading too much fiction. Of course there are no such things as vampires. These bed bugs come out at night when its dark and everyone is asleep. And then they suck human blood. So I was just referring to them metaphorically 🙂
So then, the next task was to get rid of them. In Pakistan, you can keep the beds in the sun so the bed bugs could run away. Or you could use heavy duty chemical based sprays etc to kill them. But we had none of these options available as we lived in a flat and UK Safety laws do not allow purchase of such chemicals for home use. We called our landlord and informed her and she was really kind to offer us a fumigation service to get these bed bugs out. The guy came in and sprayed with a nozzle like thing every where. And when it was done, I was happy these creatures, biting me in the middle of the night, would be gone. But, to my surprise, I was still being bitten. It was lesser than before, but it didn’t just finish.
Now, I had started to refuse to sleep on bed because these bed bugs would come out of hiding places in the middle of night (tahajjud time) and as soon as they bit, they would run away and even if light would be switched on instantly, they would hide in black spaces i.e. black part of bed sheets for example. I had caught these clever creatures several times camouflaging.
Its a story of months. Finally one day, as I was going through ‘Bahishti Zewar’ i.e. The famous book of Maulana Ashraf Ali Thanvi – The heavenly ornaments, I came across a masla that to kill some pests with hot oil or hot water is permissible because otherwise only Allah has to right to give this punishment of fire.
I just knew what to do with these bed bugs. Every single day, without skipping, we would put plastic sheets beneath and pour hot boiling water on the tires of the double bed that we had as well on corners and wherever these bugs could have laid eggs. When we would do it, we could almost see them running and then dying because of intense boiling heat of water.
And yes, in approximately 2-3 weeks, we had completely gotten rid of those tiny creatures. I could now peacefully sleep on the bed, alhamdolilah, without fear of being bitten.
This whole episode taught me several things:
1. Never be like such bed bugs, which enjoys it meal while causing pain to others.
2. Allah provides rizq to all. The food of You and me is fruits, vegetables, meat. The food of these pests is human blood… Allah has made provisions for all from places we can’t imagine
3. I could stand out of bed alert and awake because of fear of bed bugs in the middle of night. Why am I so lazy to stand up out of bed for tahajjud because of fear of Allah at the same time?
4. Bahishti Zewar and other classical texts have expert solutions to century old problems.
5. the worth of sleep
6. Every place has its own set of problems, be it Pakistan or be it UK. Even though it is a developed country, and has safety standards, cleaning procedures, etc yet it has its own share of pests
Alhamdolilah lesson well learnt.
Until next time
Zauja Muhammad Ali