Operation Wild Bee


For the past two weeks, I was enjoying the spectacle of soft, furry bees gently flying into my classroom and dangling on the tubelight; delightful creatures of nature, our friends and comrades! A few days back, one particularly energetic comrade bee decided to explore the classroom further and in the process planted a gentle kiss on the fingers of Sherin, one of my students. Undoubtedly, comrade bee meant this to be just a friendly `hello', but the party at the receiving end was allergic to bee bites and had to pay a visit to the neighbourhood doctor. Realization dawned that if more comrades got into the biting act, the neighbourhood doctor would have a busy time! The milkman provided further enlightenment by narrating the tale of how some distant relatives of the classroom bees had transported to heaven one man + five cows by their gentle and collective biting just the other day. It was time for action; the permanent abode of the comrades was identified to be a big nest on a coconut tree just a few feet away from the classroom. Clearly, the service of a professional was required to destroy the nest and put the winged invaders out of action. The professional bee exterminator arrived at 7:15pm (the bees can't see at night) the day before yesterday in an autorickshaw. He was a multifaceted personality. Bee extermination was merely a side business - in real life, he was a bank employee, an athlete and a swimmer. He was ably assisted by a professional coconut climber and autorickshaw driver. The coconut climber first clambered up the tree attaching `steps' on to it to aid his friend's ascend to the top. He came down and the exterminator, dressed in a track suit and swimming goggles (for protection) with a pesticide sprayer in hand began his ascend. Midway, his mobile rang and he had a conversation with somebody over some matters of sport - having concluded this to his satisfaction, he resumed his journey to the top. Upon getting a signal from him, we switched off all lights in our house (and also asked our neighbours to do the same). Once the entire area was pitch dark, our athlete/exterminator sprayed the nest with insecticide instantaneously killing all comrade bees. The exterminator then put forward his bill - a cool Rs.2500/-. I don't grudge him that. Any fool can teach, preach and do `software engineering', but it takes a man with courage to climb up a really *big* coconut tree in pitch darkness and take out a big nest of bees a handfull of whom can easily put him out of action with their venomous sting. Let me turn a bit philosophical - most of us are lucky to be paid decent amounts of money for work that does not in any way put our life or limbs at risk. There are scores of men who get paid a pittance for putting themselves in the line of fire, day in and day out. We live in comfort because of the sacrifices of these men. Think of them once in a while.

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