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One person’s pest is other’s pet

Meeting a city-based bee conservationist was a real eye-opener

The beginning of a bee hive — about lemon-sized — suddenly made itself known in an enclosed sit-out of our home. All Pune residents are familiar with this word ‘sit-out’ — glorious little open-to-thesky spots that the builder hard-sells to you. By the time you move in and buy those two cane chairs to enjoy the morning chai or kojagiri poornima moon, hair floats down and graces this spot, coming from people combing their tresses in the new building that suddenly crops up, looming over your sit-out.

But, I digress. Having shrouded my no-more private or pretty sit-out with blinds, I had proceeded to use it as a work area to dry and iron clothes. Suddenly, almost as if overnight, the hive appeared, at a point low enough to be disturbed were you to shake out your wet washed clothes (the Marathi word is zataknay and there is no English word for it).

The immediate response in my mind was to look for the bug-spray (yes, so bite me) and whoosh them off. Having vaguely heard that bees are vanishing, and this is going to create yet another silent ecological imbalance, I decided not to be so triggerhappy with the spray-can, and enquired with city NGO Kalpavriksh, what I could do about them. Amit Godse, they said, is an IT professional turned bee conservationist. Now, kudos to this soft-spoken young person, within half a minute of talking to him, it became evident that my killing them off would be an incredibly senseless thing to do. Passionate about the bee and its well-being, he quickly offered three choices that were nonviolent options: We will come and take it away, or we will relocate it to a less troublesome spot in your house if you have one, or why don’t you simply leave it there, they will do nothing to you…they are not killer bees; and come monsoon, they will leave.

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