The guest with a past.

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by Pramit Pal – I came across a strange looking visitor near our lab, though I have never seen her or him  in this part of the building before, the guest was pretty confident about his presence and was literally staring at me as if I was the one who has ventured into his territory. This did not go down well with me, so as responsible person concerned about the welfare of the numerous species living in our lab, I detained the guest for some time. A quick background check revealed the worst. Our guest turned out to be a serial offender, with an impressive and infamous record of numerous kills, a predator who moves like a shadow and and with its mastery of the art of kung fu, the victims die before they even know. Known as the Indian Flower Mantis, our guest and its clan have killed and devoured many unsuspecting insects throughout Asia. I was not convinced though, how can something so small and beautiful can be so deadly ! Thus a few unfortunate six legged lab-mates had to be sacrificed. First, a cockroach who strangely ran into the extended arms of the beast, and of course got devoured instantly. Its wings left lying on the ground remained the sole testament to its sacrifice. Though brave was his contribution, it didn’t help me much as I failed to see the infamous predatory instincts of our martial arts master, the invisible killer. Then, I introduced two more individuals to the cage and it seemed they were smart enough to not jump in the jaw or rather hands of the devil. What came afterwards left me spellbound, as I saw the mantis slowly creeping up to the insects. Being unaware of the looming danger, they went about their usual business, each second the hands came closer and closer. Just when I was thinking, if it is all a joke and this guy is not so special after all, with a blinding strike the game ended. And as I looked at my guest with a mixture of fear, wonder and a lot of respect, she/he happily munched away the beetle and what I saw in the eyes was not the evil stare that was there before rather a look of satisfaction and maybe a bit of appreciation for the unplanned dinner.

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