We are not only reducing the availability of food

Writer: Seema Sajjan

We do always have uninvited guests at kitchen. It is a routine for them to demand their share for whatever we prepare. In the beginning they annoyed us so much that we scolded them, as well us for being helpless to stop them and we searched to find their hide-outs, but in vain.

Our mission to hunt their secret place turned out be a massive disaster, their clandestine place is still a mystery to us. But during an encounter on their favourites, they troop up in thousands. We unconsciously transformed to be very alert to keep our eatables beyond their reach, because even their floating dead body on milk, curd and butter milk made us feel guilty that we have killed and consuming them. Yes! I am speaking about tiny, cute and highly-disciplined brown ant (Jiddu iruve in Kannada).

However, as a solution, we gradually accepted them and do not feel like denying their stake and started to appreciate their spontaneous ability to crawl to satisfy their (only) hunger. If we try shooing them away, they cleverly tickle us with their invisible legs.

On one afternoon, when I opened the front-door, one bizarre thing caught my attention and I forgot the work, which I was supposed to do. It was my son’s dark blue shoes-socks, which had turned brown in colour and I was puzzled to make out what had happened and something moving on that static object. After realizing that the brown thing was the same troop of ants, I felt nausea and pity. These ants which usually relish on sweet or what we eat were seen on stinking socks.

This disheartening incident brought me to the sense that scarcity of food had made them lick what is unusual trait for them and my adapted habit of limiting their share is the root for this visual. Immediately crushing a biscuit made a track and took them to a far way place to satisfy their hunger on the biscuit.

Then onwards we made sure to keep one thing or the other for these cute pies. However, this episode though unrelated made me speculate that the dearth of food in nature made them to encounter whatever is available to the approaching heat wave, which is taking away our food grains – rather scarcity of food- as well from our plate and what kind of disaster is going to befall on us in the near future!

Not enough, the recent news that the carcass of a little tiger – three years old- at Bandipur contained the thorns of porcupine, had further intensified my thinking of food scarcity to other species. Thorns of porcupine are very sharp and it was so discomfort to imagine a little tiger chewing that, and how its still developing jaws and throats have sustained the harsh pierce, what kind of huger had made this tiger to fill its stomach with so much pain.

In another incident, one and half year old cheetha had to meet a sad demise at night to a gliding car near Ayanur, Shivamogga. Morning these predators are not able to step out of their residence and at night in search of food they need to meet this kind of destiny.

It is unknown to people that ample insects and bees which are very essential for the smooth run of this ecosystem are also finding their end without proper food for their survival and moreover many cattle and birds are not able to differentiate between food and plastic (a few birds are feeding the plastic to their tiny babies) and are victims to our apathetic behaviour towards other species on earth. In toto we are not only reducing the availability of food for other species but for us as well.


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