Mosquito nets, famously known as “Machchar Tani”, are more than just a netted fabric with a rope on its 4 edges. It’s the mark of civilization to be more simple, the middle class. Living in the city, we’re so accustomed to the modern “All Out” that kills mosquitoes that most of us haven’t even seen a mosquito net, let alone use one.
When I go to my native, a place that is relatively modernised though, locals still like to fall back on the old methods, I find myself helping out my grandparents, aunts and even my cousins put up this famed net. As soon as we’re done all of us kids rush in to make sure that none of these troublesome insects makes it into our territory.
This net, not only protects us from the pesky insects and their taunting buzzes but also unites the family. No matter how busy one is, we always get together to fix the net. It’s not a one-man job.
Apart from that, it’s a place where everyone gets together. To save yourself from the mosquitoes you need to sit under the same net and this forces everyone into speech even if they don’t want to. The memories of my grandparents and mother scolding my cousin and I for getting out of the net multiple times still play in my head. They’re oddly nostalgic.
Mosquito nets are also used in army bases that don’t have electricity. They are much more effective than mosquito repellents and aren’t even toxic. In fact, the modern chemicals used to kill insects are pretty harmful to you too. Pick your poison. On the other hand, these nets are made up of cotton, polyester or nylon and work for the better part. The way one tucks it under their bed makes a world of difference and decides whether you’ll be devoured by the mosquitoes and have a sleepless night or remain unscathed and sleep like a baby. Technique matters.
I am a hoarder, I definitely got it from my mom, so the next thing I do is stuffing this really pretty net into my bag to bring it home. Of course, we never used it, but it’s the thought that counts right? There were instances where I thought, “Let’s use that net today” but laziness got the best of me and I fell back to my old methods, slowly switching back to the “All Out”. Sometimes I feel like these chemicals don’t even do anything and it’s just my mind playing tricks on me but who knows.
I’m a Jain, so a mosquito bat that violently electrocutes and kills mosquitoes is a NO-NO for us. Yes, we don’t kill mosquitoes either, they’re living beings too. That’s why a net is our safe place and our getaway from the creepy crawlies. But we’re slowly losing our culture that we as kids were forcibly made to learn. Now there are a few traditions and cultures that are gone for good but these little things that keep the family together serve as much more than just their purpose which is more important than we realise.