Most electronically diffused mosquito repellents available in India tend to fill a room with cloying smells. One looks like a mouldy jalebi and scatters ash as it burns, making every eye within a ten metre radius water. Where I live the mosquitoes are particularly vicious. They’ve mutated into a large slow- flying species that makes its sting felt belatedly. By the time you feel the urge to swat they’ve settled on another limb and are gorging on seconds. Full length garments do not deter them. They exhibit an almost Victorian obsession with exposed slivers of skin- the delicate flesh of the wrist, the slender bump of the ankle, the soft bit of neck contained in your collar. Pain is being bitten between your fingers, and I would like to wish this- no worse fate- on an enemy.
I discovered Kama Ayurveda’s excellent insect deterrent spray several months ago. It comes in a handy 100 ml bottle and applies in a thin non-greasy film that holds and does its job for well over an hour. The strongly herbal smell is predominantly lemongrassy and takes a while to wear out, but I’m not complaining. The label suggests it’s safe to use on children and pregnant women, but it’s always a good idea to check in with your doctor before you douse a loved one with strange liquids. I’m thrilled with its efficacy, buy top-ups regularly and like to think of it as my personal trusty SWAT team. You can buy it at Kama Ayurveda’s stores, their online shop, or at Nykaa. I can’t vouch for it as a camping accessory, so if you’re heading for the great outdoors it’s safer to stick with your vile smelling cream of choice. For long hiking trips I prefer Odomos, which smells as terrible as it sounds but does its job fairly well and doesn’t need reapplication for several hours.