Browsing at the second hand bookshop Book Worm on Church Street, Bangalore, yes, I was drawn to the book by its title; I have not heard of Janaki Lenin before nor am I an animal lover. It also helped that there is a printed remark by Rahul Dravid on the back cover, saying the book is thoroughly entertaining and unputdownable!
My Husband & Other Animals by Janaki Lenin is a collection of short essays by the author published as series of articles in The Hindu Metroplus. And yes…it is thoroughly entertaining and unputdownable! I have always been wary of all creatures, big and small – all of them could inflict harm of some sort, intentionally or in self defense and in my firm belief of prevention is better than cure, I have avoided any sort of contact with the creatures, even in the form of written word.
I was intrigued when I read that the author and her husband were living on the edge of a scrub forest in Tamil Nadu, surrounded by creepy crawlies and wild animals; how did they manage !? It’s something unimaginable for me. How little I knew about the couple !!
Internet gave more info on the author and her husband Romulus Whitaker, an authority on wildlife and a celebrated conservationist. The lucid writing of the narratives laced with a generous helpings of humour make the stories delightful plus very informative; it’s a page turner 📖.
I wrote about a little titbit of info I gleaned from this book on the origins of the gravy dish Sambhar 👉 Sambar secrets 🍅 ; the author mentions this while talking about a deer species called Sambhar.
Since it is a collection of anecdotes, you can just pick up a chapter at random and read to get your story fix for the day. I have a few favourites.
Many many times, I have seen insects swarming towards light, both street lights and indoor lighting; I never knew their name until now – the long winged insects are flying termites !! But termites do not fly !? Hmmm…..but they do as so explained the author with a fabulous story on the Irula tribals titled A Movable Feast
In the misty hills of Chikmagalur this year, we saw leeches for the first time and in the book in the story titled Off the Deep End the author writes about their rainforest camping trip in Agumbe, Karnataka. They have a way of protection from the leeches 😊
“Nothing had prepared me for this – the extreme leech experience. The whole forest floor seemed to be alive and seething with eager little rubbery vampires.”My Husband & Other Animals by Janaki Lenin
All the narratives are charming, but a few remain unforgettable – The Curse of the Tree Frog, A Leopard Comes Calling, Money or Nothing, Little Creature Discomforts, Watchers at the Pond, A Few Years of Solitude, 21st century Idli, Evolution by Fire are a few favourites 💕.
“Death occurs because there was once life; something has to die to feed the living. The eternal dance of life and death drives not just plants and animals but even stars.”My Husband & Other Animals by Janaki Lenin
I am thankful for stumbling into this book; it’s both broadened and enriched my mind. I have never been drawn to any book on wildlife until now. It’s a really fabulous read !! The book was first published in 2012; I am happy that the book found me finally 😌
Till next post, take care !!