Last evening when my daughter came back from her office she was looking depressed. As I knew that she would eventually tell me about what was troubling her, I just kept quiet. I was watching a TV serial when she walked into my room and sat by my side. This is the summary of what she told me. It seems that as she was driving back home, she saw a tiny pup walking up and down trying to cross the road and as there was heavy traffic, she could not stop the car and bail out the pup to safety. She was sure that the pup would have been run over by a heavy truck by now and that thought was killing her. I consoled her with my knowledgeable discourse about Karma et al. Nor did I have any documented statistics to inform her about how many pups kicked the bucket daily in our neighbourhood. I know most of you would have read The Man-Eater of Malgudi by RK Narayan. The story ends with the death of Vasu, the taxidermist and villain of the story. As he died under suspicious circumstances, an autopsy was conducted and the verdict was that he was attacked by a blunt and heavy instrument on his temple which caused his death. The case was closed. But later on, the truth comes out that he was annoyed by a mosquito sitting on his temple and he dealt a huge blow to the annoying mosquito. His blow damaged a blood vessel in the brain and he died instantly. There was just a one line mention of the plastered mosquito in the story. RK Narayan was a man of the world. He knew exactly how human behaved in trying circumstances. Most of us slap ourselves very hard when a mosquito stings us. We know only too well that a tiny mosquito would just require a gentle tap to kick its bucket but we are invariably seized by a demonic fury when a mosquito bites us and hurt ourselves in the bargain. Vasu of Malgudi was one of the victims of such fury and it was unfortunate that the said mosquito was sitting on his temple at the material time. This is the problem about our concern for other beings. An hour after narrating her concern for the pup on the road, my daughter armed with an electric mosquito killer put every mosquito to eternal sleep without any remorse. She gleefully watched the spark as each mosquito became a speck of dust. We see in hotels a bluish electric light at the entrance which has the same effect on the flies as the mosquito killer on mosquitoes. As the size of the creatures become larger, our concern for it increases. I once wrote here about a lizard that got crushed by a door and the eternal grief the incident caused me. When a speeding container-truck mows down a herd of cattle, we clutch our heart in agony but not as much as when a crow gets electrocuted at sitting on the overhead cables. When an elephant is laid to rest by a speeding train, we shed tears. We garland it and give it a ritualistic burial. I often wonder what size has got to do with the life within. For a mosquito its life is as important as it is for a human or an elephant. In an advertisement for a chemical that kills cockroaches, the lady who uses it to terminate them puts on a triumphant smile and kisses the bottle of chemicals! Sometimes I fail to understand the human psychology.