I stepped out of the apartment building with a sick feeling in the pit of my belly. The sight that met my eyes was revolting. The path leading to the gate of the township was strewn with a three-inch thick layer of dead honeybees. As my shoes sank into their soft dead flesh, I was disgusted at the extreme insensitivity and ignorance of the residents of my housing complex. The family that had ordered the honeycomb to be gassed faced the problem of honeybees entering their house. Their kitchen chimney outlet directly faced the honeycomb; as a result every time they cooked, the honeybees got disturbed by the smoke and entered their house. Their solution? Kill the honeybees — way easier than simply redirecting the end of the kitchen chimney exhaust pipe or even putting up nets on the windows. Who could be bothered with that! So essentially what we were doing at the township was that we wanted perfect landscaped gardens with lots of flowers; at the same time we were killing the bees that the flowers were attracting. Well, the bees were inconvenient.
This is just one teeny example of the superior intellect of humankind. Other instances? We subject animals to extreme trauma and distress in order to entertain our children at zoos. Won’t stuffed animals serve the purpose just as well as live animals? I shudder every time the kids’ school project involves visiting a zoo. It is heart wrenching to watch those caged desperate animals. Why are zoos even legal? Why are birds that are meant to rule the skies, caged up for their entire lives? To serve as some kid’s pets? Really? Does it even make sense? Why do we keep poultry in horrid conditions before we finally consume them? Is it too much effort for us to let them live in comfort until we kill them and eat them? Why are bullfights legal? We pump our cattle with hormones and unnatural food and then wonder why the milk our children consume is making them become pubescent at an earlier age. We poison our air, mud and water. We create weapons that can destroy every form of life on earth. Why is all the sewage and toxic factory waste dumped into the seas? I’m guessing we must have a very compelling reason for doing so — after all, we’re the brightest creatures on this planet. We wouldn’t do anything stupid now, would we?
Nature and man are supposed to co-exist; because the human being is nothing if not part of nature’s amazing creations. And yet, we seem to be the biggest parasites on the face of the earth; eating and gnawing greedily of Mother Nature’s resources until we suck her dry and perish with her when she can sustain herself no more. While we’re supposed to be the most intelligent of nature’s creations, I seriously doubt our brilliance when I see how we behave. We forget that our existence depends on the earth, and not the other way around.
I must say, Homo sapiens are indeed the smartest species. And I’m pretty sure that’s precisely why any other life forms in any other galaxy are very studiedly avoiding us. They’re intimidated by how smart we are. Yeah, that’s just the reason they’re steering clear of us. Ching!
The writer is a Hyderabad-based commentator