Karunya Poochi

“Poochi” is the Tamil word for insect. “Karunya Poochi” is a local word for an insect found around Karunya University. Its scientific name is “Paederus Fuscipes”. No one knows who named it as Karunya Poochi but you’ll come to know once you or your friend is bitten by it. Do you wonder why it is so famous? This insect is notorious for its poisonous bite. It leaves a dark scar on the place where it bites, which remains for some days. Also it gives a burning sensation in that area.

In my first year, my friend was bitten by that insect in his neck. It spread to the whole neck and it looked like an acid attack. Only after that I came to know about Karunya Poochi. In Karunya University, you can’t find anyone who doesn’t know about Karunya Poochi. Karunya University is located in the foot of Siruvani hills and it provides a natural environment to study. This is what people say when you get admission in Karunya. They also say that the only disadvantage is the insect menace during the rainy season. But only after coming here you’ll come to know how serious the issue is. Almost everyone is afraid of it, especially in the rainy season. If your room is in the ground floor of the hostels, you’ll surely encounter the killer Karunya Poochi one or the other day.

During this season, in addition to Karunya Poochi, frogs and snakes also visit your rooms occasionally. When I was staying in EGR ground floor during my first year, I have encountered a snake and two frogs in my room. And if your room is near the bathrooms, your room will become the dwelling place for the insects. We are asked to pour coconut oil near the doorways to avoid these insects entering the rooms. But no one knows how they enter the rooms. They are omnipresent. Some of these insects are found to have wings as well. You can find them in doors, around the tube lights and in the roof, especially in the bathrooms.

You can expect them to fall on you any time. You’ll never know when this insect bites you. But when you wake up the next day you’ll have a wound on that area resembling a burnt skin as a mark of Karunya Poochi’s kiss. Some say that it is not because of its bite. It’s because of its excreta which has some highly toxic acids. In Karunya, the authorities never considered this as a serious issue. Students from Karunya and the nearby villages go to the Karunya Rural Community Hospital for treatment. They give you an injection and some tablets which rarely work. It is said that people with some blood groups are immune to this insect bite. People with group are affected badly that even a small bite spreads all over the skin. And in most of the cases, people get these bites on their faces and necks. In that case you can’t show your face to others for around a week. Whatever the biological reason may be, until this is considered as a big menace, Karunya Poochi will continue its journey.

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