* WARNING Several Graphic Images*\nGoa is one of the regions that is blessed with fertile forests. And a result of (or perhaps cause of) this is the large variety of creatures living alongside humans. I\u2019ve heard stories of leopards losing their way and crossing highways. And over the years I myself have frightened many peacocks, hard-shelled spiders, mongoose & snakes in my village (and vice versa).\nIn the city of Panaji I remember shooing away a bunch of bees that were building a hive outside my bathroom window a few years ago. I do deserve a medal for protecting my home & family from these dangerous creatures!\nBut today I saw these dangerous creatures rendered totally vulnerable by a group of honey harvesters. Watching the men deal with the bees & extracting honey from the hive so effortlessly, was the most charming part of my day today!\nHere is the story:\nI had just returned to my apartment building and I noticed these men sitting at the steps.\n\nThe \u2018Kay-Poh\u2019 that I am, (Singlish term for those who poke their nose into other people\u2019s business) I stopped to discuss their green bucket, its contents and what brought their little troupe to my apartment building.\nAll three of them spoke at once and explained that they had been called by the management of my colony to get rid of the bee hive that hung from THAT building there!\n\u00a0\n\n\nThe three men\u00a0 had come all the way from another town that was about 30 km away as they were specialists at this honey / beehive work. Tribal migrants from Odisha, when there were no such honey-projects they worked as day-laborers on construction on ad-hoc or daily-wage basis. When they were called for bee / hive work they were paid a nominal sum in cash and the rest in kind i.e. the honey was theirs to sell.\n\nI had been duped a few years ago\u00a0 \u2026. in the same building \u2026 so I was cautious and asked many questions before making up my mind about buying.\u00a0 That fateful day I was conned into buying\u00a0 5 kilograms of jaggery-solution for the price of honey. I was elated as I was planning to gift this\u00a0 \u2018straight-from-the-hive\u2019 honey to my friends in the metro \u2013 this would naturally confer upon me bragging rights at having found such a treasure! So after having invested in the large quantity of honey, I spent an equal amount on a few dozen small jars with perfect yellow lids. To help with this project I called my man Friday,\u00a0 a forest tribal who knows everything about everything foresty. The moment he\u00a0 entered my kitchen and saw my large pot of \u201choney\u201d he asked bewildered \u2018why did you make so much jaggery water\u2019\u2026\u2026.\nAfter stupefied explanations and unconcealable chuckles and disgust at my ignorance, the man gave me a lecture and admonished me for throwing away good money.\nThose little yellow jars still stand on my kitchen shelf \u2013 hoping to find their purpose in life.\nSo the scarred soul that I am, but still ever ready to believe in the magic of life, I chose to ignore the little inner voice of caution and indulged the stories the men were telling me.\nThey told me that they had come from the next town only because they had been called. This I verified with the watchman who had joined our little party.\n\nThey told me that they had borrowed the bucket from the watchman. This too the watchman verified. After all if they intended to dupe people, would they not have their own bucket and jaggery as well? Sounded logical!\nTheir bucket full of honey+bees looked very different this time compared to the one I\u2019d been duped with earlier.It had much more hive and many many more bees than the one I\u2019d seen previously. That in itself is no proof of purity \u2013 because as Tolstoy said \u2013 or rather almost said \u2013\n\u201cAll PURE HONEYS (happy families) are alike; each IMPURE HONEY (unhappy family) is IMPURE (unhappy) in its own way.\u201d\n[Actually he said \u201cAll happy families are alike; each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.\u201d\u00a0 in Anna Karenina. Sorry Tolstoy for misquoting \u2013 but no one could have said it better]\nAs I assessed the situation I was clicking pictures & judging the men. In my opinion, these were very poor men and they HAD, by all verified accounts, taken down the beehive. If I were duped again, the most I would lose is Rs.1000 \u2013 which I could afford to give away as charity.\nFurther, the honey was not the only value they offered. The \u2018magic\u2019 of this\u00a0 fascinating event happening right at my doorstep, held more value for me than the honey itself.\nAnd so I agreed to buy some honey, stopped evaluating and began enjoying the process.\n\nThe sight of a beehive with its colors & geometry is quite arresting! And then to find little larva wriggling their bottoms \u2026. I could watch this for hours!\n\n\u00a0\n\nI asked why it is that the bees were not biting the men. The bees were certainly not behaving as expected. They weren\u2019t inducing fear in me \u2013 instead I felt pity for their broken home.\nThe man explained that the queen bee had been captured and that capture rendered all the other bees helpless \u2026 ! Really?! What an inbuilt vulnerability built into nature\u2019s plan?\nI asked where the Queen Bee was? How did they know which one it is? How did they capture her singularly?\nThey pointed to the metal can on the side where a large number of bees were trapped and covered by newspaper. They said she was in there and lifted the papers briefly for me to view.\n\n\u00a0\nThey said that later they would let her free in the forest and then she would establish a whole new colony. Tribal logic is always so integrated with nature and always so ecologically responsible! Am full of respect for these men and their idea!\nI ran out of questions and asked them to complete the sale.\nAn old discarded mulmul cloth from my wardrobe was cut into a square and placed above a steel pot.\n\nThe hive+bee+honey mix was poured onto it.\n\u00a0\n\nAnd the bees were strained out! Yuck!\n\n\nEven with the yuck- factor, the thick golden liquid dripping from the beeswax looked so tempting!\n\n\u00a0\n\n\nWe filled out some of the yellow jars.\nThe men were paid & then also overpaid for providing me with such an enjoyable experience. The bees who were THE real heroes of this story, sadly succumbed.\nI came home, checked the internet for some tests for checking purity \u2013 did the experiments but wasn\u2019t sure of my observations.\nAnd so now the honey jars sit in my refrigerator waiting for some learned man to come along and prove me wrong or right.\nAnd the end-note to this tale- the honey trappers final words to me were : \u201cYou can have the honey\u00a0 every day with lemon memsaab \u2013 it will help you to lose weight!\u201d\nI love the astute-no-nonsense-directness of the village-folk!\nWhat a fun day it has been!\njaina mishra\nAugust 2014\n\u00a0\n\u00a0\n\u00a0\n\u00a0\n\u00a0\n\u00a0\nThe post The Honey Trappers appeared first on The Art Blog by WOVENSOULS.COM.