(If you are squeamish and/or too fond of dates, you may not want to read this.)

I bought some dates last week, probably for the first time ever. Oh I’ve probably bought them before, when I was a kid, at the behest of my mother. But I bought plain pitted dates of my own volition for perhaps the first time ever last week.

And I think I’ve always known this subconsciously, but I realize it anew as I look at them. Dates look exactly like cockroaches. It’s the same reddish brown colour, the same shine. There is a layer of skin on top of the flesh that can be craggy and cracked, but always shiny. Yeah, you read that sentence and you couldn’t tell whether it was about a date or a cockroach. I rest my case. It’s a thin skin in one case and a tough carapace in the other, but appearances don’t betray that difference. The end where the stem used to be is a little nubby on the date, just like the mouth end of a cockroach. I am not easily grossed out, so I continue to eat them, of course. Dates I mean, not cockroaches. Actually I didn’t eat cockroaches even as a kid.

It is possible that cockroaches are not what the average American thinks of when she sees dates. But like anyone who grew up in India, I have a comfortable if antagonistic familiarity with cockroaches. Chasing after one, broom in hand, is a natural behaviour pattern for me, only they are largely absent in the US. Both, the brooms and the cockroaches.

Friends assure me that the antagonism towards cockroaches is universal. I assure them back that the antagonism towards lizards in not. A European friend living in a tropical country finds lizards in her apartment so exotic that she runs after them with a camera rather than a broom. To each their own.

I said in an earlier post that germs will inherit the Earth. I suppose they will, but I imagine cockroaches will give them a run for their money. Lizards will probably be done before either of those though. Softies.