Termites have an interesting class system; the commoners: worker, soldier, and the aristocrats: prince, princess, king, queen. It pretty much resembles ant’s. It all starts from her royal highness, the queen, who give birth to all termites on the colony. She also decided which class they will get into, with some kind of pheromone given while feeding, to be the strong and scary soldiers, protecting the homeland and her royal highness, the queen, from any threat, or to be the humble servant, the worker class, taking the most compulsory role, providing food and maintaining the nest for the survival of the colony, as Napoleon put it: An army marches on its stomach. Or when they are seen as fit, to be the princes and princess of the kingdom, the heir and heiress of the great termite kingdom. They are “laron”-s in my language, or you can call it alate, the ones with royal wings and imperial eyes, educated in aristocratic manner for a noble purpose; expanding the great kingdom, claiming lands rightfully owned by her royal highness, which are every land, and preserving the royal blood.
These princes and princesses will be properly prepared until the day they have to quit the nest to carry out their royal duty, their purpose of life, to be the new kings and queens of the new colonies. In areas with a distinct dry season, like Indonesia, these royal children leave the nest in large swarms after the first good soaking rain of the rainy season, with the rain of sadness and love from people they will leave forever, a very sad goodbye indeed, but their destiny requires this farewell.
They will fly, as strong as their body could, as long as their flesh can sustain, as far as their wings can get them, and they will fall. Their wings will be taken afterwards and they will mate. And we have the new heralded Kings and Queens of the new colony of termites.
The new queen can live up to forty-five years, mating and laying eggs for life. And the king, unlike ants, will mate and continues to mate with the queen for life. That’s a very long time of mating, I must admit. Only death will do them part, what a noble family!
But let us see a better look of their life as princes and princesses. They are told all their life that they are the hope of the colony, that they are nobles, they are the chosen few, and that they will fulfil their royal destiny. But little did they know that their life survival chance are low out of the nest, or at least that’s how I see. I see them fly and fly relentlessly around my residence, to the light, all night long, and in the morning, their corpses will be abundant on the floor. A flight of doom. A sad flight. And as I compare the swarm I saw the previous night with the corpses on the floor, survivors, if there’s any, are not much. If only they were workers or soldiers, they would have lived a longer life, in the calm nest, and to die in the care of their brothers, not destined to have this kind of remorseful slumber far from home.
To live rained with all the motivation and hope from others, convinced that we are special and that we are the chosen few, that our destiny is greatness and glory, aren’t many of us lead that life? Aren’t many of us all then fly to the sun with our wings, and found out that, like Icarus, our wings are fake and they melt as the heat of sun demands them to? Or aren’t many of us then, like Phaeton, dare ourselves to ride the sun chariot, and found out later that we are unfit for the great task as Zeus’ thunderbolt is set to strike us?
A very pessimistic view on life, you might say about this post. A story of false hope, of those who doom themselves. But you can see it in a more positive tone with a little help from a simple phrase: what if. What if you are the survivor of the swarm? What if you are the King or Queen to be? I guess that chance, even at its slightest, worth the risk have to be paid when it is found that we are unfit for the prize. We don’t know what is waiting in our path, we do know that some things are inevitable, death, for example, but much else are covered in mystery, and the outcome of this shot, a rise-or-fall shot, which will only come in rarity, is also unknown to us. Maybe that’s why these alate-s keep flying anyway; this shot worth their life.
“In the past, I have made no secret of my disdain for Chef Gusteau’s famous motto: Anyone can cook. But I realize, only now do I truly understand what he meant. Not everyone can become a great artist, but a great artist can come from anywhere.”—Anton Ego (Ratatouille, 2007)
Anton’s note: Sorry for the long hiatus, my dear reader! Please be nice to me and leave some comments, with critics and advises, for I know a long vacuum has rendered my post creation ability weaker, grammatically, vocabulary, style, or anything else. And you can always tell me your opinion regarding the topic of this post. I will greatly appreciate them. Danke!