Pray, what’s Manto the Mantis’s first name?

Manto the mantis, a dietarily troubled protagonist

Manto the mantis, a dietarily troubled protagonist

Some good advice for vegetarians: give it up. Before you reach for those rotten veggies to pelt me with, read a little parable about a mantis named Manto (no, his first names aren’t Saadat Hasan; I checked).

When Arathi let me in on the subject of her story this week, she was all laconic about it. All she said was: “It’s about a Preying Mantis.”

Anal as I am about the names of things creepy crawly, I corrected her pithily: “Praying. But what it does is prey.”

Turns out she did her research after all.

Her fearsome protagonist, Manto the mantis, led a life of pious non-vegetarianism until he was informed of the true spelling of his name. Then, besmirched like one enlightened about the true meaning of life, he went into a shell of gloom and, for want of better advice, became a vegetarian. What he should have done was go to Notary Shri Shreedharakantharamaswamy Rao and put off one affidavit for name-change and published it for the entertainment of those who have nothing better to do but read the classified pages in this golden age of Craigslist. Alas.

No more spoilers. Enjoy the story.

I enjoyed drawing Manto, by the way.

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