The Ant Of War: A Fire Ant Breathes Fire

Posted: June 26, 2012 in humor, Humour, Random nonsense
Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Disclaimer: No ants were harmed for this story. They killed themselves. Sadly, permanently.

——————————————————————————————————————–

A group of young ants, frolicking with the gay abandon that accompanies the fountain of youth, untainted by experience or memory of dark days; stumbled upon a closet. Out came a scribbled note, reasonably legible but soiled with time, penned by one of their long deceased predecessors; a Fire Ant. As the group waded through the lost chronicle of Ant History, merry ignorance gave way to inspired but misplaced consternation.

For the note read thus.

Fellow industrious pests,

History was, and shall never be, the voice of the dead. So I write, my brethren, knowing not how much of the gift of Time I have left. My dearest friends and nearest kin have perished and I am certain that my end is closing upon me. Stir up your attention, my future generations! For Time is in short supply and the memory of the Great War ought to live on…

All isn’t well in our vast Kingdom. Light and us were never the best of friends, but in the dark precincts of the Underworld, where we dwell, darkness and pent-up strife reign supreme. A disaster of massive proportions has befallen us, mighty Masters of survival.

One of Man’s foremost pests of choice, for centuries, we have been pulling off miracles beyond the capacities of most other organisms. We migrated, worked incredibly hard, decimated crops and wood where we could, conquered almost all of Earth, solved bewilderingly complex problems, withstood the ravages of time, hail and rain, stung fiercely often not caring for our lives, brought down mighty elephants a kabillion times our size, and inflicted inestimable damage on humanity. And, we found the time to multiply extremely quickly.

But I realised, belatedly and after much loss of life, that we aren’t so smart, after all.

A populace of hard workers unschooled in the art of considered thought, eventually fall prey to the stuffy embrace of Slavery or Death. Our fellow folk perished, in a vain attempt at conquering a fiend we did not know much about. Actually, none at all.

We finally met an enemy worthy enough to put us to the test. We went looking for a usual quick decimation; we ended up being decimated.

Man had struck Oil. We had struck a skid pan.

One fine day, the day’s early starters noticed a large Cauldron, in the middle of nowhere. With characteristic nonchalance, a group of 20 soldiers managed to scale the Cauldron’s peak. The last sight that greeted onlookers was of this group disappearing on the other side. Time ticked by. They never returned.

40 young, enthusiastic but rather foolhardy tyros set off behind them, with no particular agenda in mind. They too, my fellow brethren, never returned.

The disappearance of 60 brave soldiers quickly caught the attention of the General. Enraged and intrigued, he ordered 150 battle-hardened jocks to take stock. This group set off, long on bravado and short on information, behind the lost fellow-men. Time gradually ticked by. Not one of the 150 was ever seen again. The other side of the Great Cauldron, as it came to be known, now began terrifying Ant-folk. A wise soul counseled that the definition of insanity was doing the same thing over and over again, and expecting a different result. Nobody cared to listen. Wisdom seldom found an audience.

The General, a trifle irked, summoned the SW.ANT Regiment, an elite group of warriors specially trained for extreme combat. 300 of these, the entire regiment, were ordered to conquer the nemesis. Murmurs of embarking on a suicide mission were heard but were drowned in the din of jingoistic agitation. A grand send off was arranged. More than a few thought this was a final goodbye. Many in the Regiment appeared to have witnessed the Gates of Heaven. Off they went.

Never to return.

Panic now visibly ran high. The loss of 500 of the very best warrior Ant-folk was an unprecedented loss in Ant history, in one skirmish. The raging General, exhibiting tremendous erudition, sent more on the way in the name of Patriotism, caring not to venture himself. Direction was called for, apparently and he considered himself irreplaceable. My family and best friends perished in this valiant act of blind Patriotism.

By a stroke of miracle, I managed to chance upon this picture, which captured the gory aftermath of the War. I share this, hoping it shall serve as a sobering reminder.

Few kept count. The Great Cauldron of Oil, as it came to be known, had consumed us. Too many of our brethren guzzled too much, only to be snared by Oil’s viscous entrapment. I learnt that Man called it Edible Oil. I’m at a loss to understand why.

This War, my friends, dented us irrevocably. Retaliatory sparring, when the cause is weakly understood, quickly gives way to mindless war. The end is as gory as it is unnecessary.

The General looks set to be overcome by insanity any moment. I write this, from my hide-out, knowing not when I shall get the Summon. I hope, my dear folk, that you learn from the errors of your past generations, who weren’t very smart after all.

But having seen this cycle several times over my life, I’m fairly certain that you, my dear friends, shall never learn.

Soon-to-be-dead,

——x——

Pictures courtesy: HaLin

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Comments
  1. Eric Alagan says:

    Today an ant…tomorrow a human…or is it the other way around?
    Immensely enjoyable read, as ever. Thank you 🙂

    • HaLin says:

      Glad you enjoyed the read, Eric! Thank you, as always, for your comments.

      Yes, indeed. As our collective awareness and intelligence has increased, we seem to be making ever more silly decisions. The Big Paradox.

      Hope you have been well.

  2. Sharmishtha says:

    poor owner of that cauldron!

  3. Sharmishtha says:

    that general’s idol must have been bonaparte.

    • HaLin says:

      Likely. Though one can think of other candidates making a strong case for inclusion!

      • Sharmishtha says:

        example please sire.

      • HaLin says:

        Too many to list, from the past and the present!

        You should really read Animal Farm by George Orwell. I think you’ll like it.

      • Sharmishtha says:

        i have seen the animation movie made on it and its one of my favourite movies right now.

        its an amazing insightful movie, i wonder how he could read so accurately the way things were about to go in future.

      • HaLin says:

        Satire is a misunderstood medium of capturing reality. Many misinterpret the tone, confusing the underlying humour for blasphemy (you should read Jonathan Swift’s Modest Proposal for context).

        I think it takes an incredible amount of insight and keeness in perception to employ satire impactfully. Orwell was one gifted fellow.

      • HaLin says:

        Check email (Hotmail). Dropped you a couple lines.

  4. Nifti says:

    Laughing out loud. Very nice 🙂

  5. Ankur Mithal says:

    Good to see you back here.

    While in entirety a metaphor for life and humans, some parts I found particularly relevant from the human perspective, and humorous:

    “Murmurs of embarking on a suicide mission were heard but were drowned in the din of jingoistic agitation.”

    “The raging General, exhibiting tremendous erudition, sent more on the way in the name of Patriotism, caring not to venture himself”

    • HaLin says:

      As Bertrand Russell said, “Patriotism is the willingness to kill and be killed for trivial reasons.”

      Few seem to know why the sparring begins in the first place. As the war rages on, whatever little semblance of meaning existed seems muddled forever. Ever after centuries of learning that war ravages both sides, we as a race, cannot seem to be done with it. Some cycles are omnipresent!

      The psychology of war fascinates me.

  6. Sharmishtha says:

    my previous comment is most probably in your spambox hemant retrieve it please. i have read your email about a week ago and replied to it.

    fortnightly reminder for the next post!

    • HaLin says:

      I replied to you the other day at the email id that you indicated. Take a look!

    • HaLin says:

      Thank you for the gentle usage of the proverbial cane! I shall spew something from my brain soon. 🙂

    • HaLin says:

      My WP login woes continue to hound me. Are you facing similar problems? I think I’m having some trouble due to the http:// instead of https:// (secure login).. but let me not get ahead of myself and make a grand show of my tech ignorance.

  7. The fire ants rule South Florida. They are not big or anything but pack a powerful sting. I swell up and the bite turns into a boil for me.

  8. “I am against any nationalism, even in the guise of mere patriotism. Privileges based on position and property have always seemed to me unjust and pernicious, as did any exaggerated personality cult.”
    Albert Einstein, My Credo (1932)

  9. kovid says:

    I don’t want to comment on this. I just want to ask – ‘How the hell do you do this?’ 🙂

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