In many ads about germicides, it is claimed that so and so soap kills 99.9% bacteria. This means that if there were 100000 of these microscopic beings, after treatment 99900 will be killed but still 100 will stay alive. One thing they don’t tell is that bacteria growth is exponential and within no time they will multiply again. As the number of surviving bacteria will be less and amount of food is same as before, their proliferation rate is very high and they will grow within no time to large numbers. Only limiting factor against their growth is the starvation when the food is exhausted. Don’t be fooled that they die when the food is exhausted. No, they become dormant and wait for the food to become available again and again they revive.
The fact is we are born with “conditions apply’ tags and we are bound to play host to millions of bacteria who live inside and outer skin of our bodies. Many of these are beneficial to us.
What the bacteria lack is size they amply make up in sheer numbers.They live everywhere and there is no escape from them except immunity levels which are different from person to person and also with age.
Lack of knowledge of general people is used by the manufactures to fool them.
This was in Panvel Mumbai
It is a happy augury that lots of sparrows are seen these days on the trees, windows ledges of our house, The sparrows were becoming very scarce and the world was forgetting about them. I bet many of our children today having seen the bird. There is an incessant chirping to be heard in the early morning. It is hint from them that they are hungry and requesting for the food. We scatter the rice, Bajra and Jowar in the bottom of our windows. Lot of sparrows vie with each other for the food. They push and shove. Soon the pigeons also land and scare the sparrows. Similarly the squirrels come especially for Jowar. Sparrows dart away and scatter like bullets at the slightest sound or arrival of anyone of us nearer the window.
In the morning they are so desperate for the food that sometimes they forget that we are scattering the seeds, they come darting and get scared and without landing maneuver to fly away to safety on the trees branches in front of the house. The credit for all this goes to my wife who never forgets to maintain the uninterrupted supple of food from the market. In the summer, she arranges the water in small containers for the birds whose throats have parched in the scorching sun. They quench their thirst and eat food. There is plenty of seed and they don’t have to forage for food here and there.
But here up in North India where we were born and grew up before moving away for earning the bread for our families, once plentiful sparrows are gone somewhere away. About 35 years ago, there were so many sparrows living in our homes and in the evening there ensued a great cacophony in the boughs of the mulberry tree which was in the open space of our home. They fought with each other to occupy the best perches. They made nests inside the houses which were not pucca houses and raised their chicks there. I am very much surprised that there is not a single sparrow to be seen here now. On the contrary, hundreds of mynahs flock to sit on the ledges or supporting rods of the platform roofs at railway station in Chandigarh. So much so that if you go there to catch a evening train, you will hear a deafening noise of their quarrels for claiming the best beds for the night. Difficult to understand the changes occurring in the surroundings.
I grew up in a village. In my childhood days, there were lush green fields around our village. The land was very fertile and only animal manure was used to boost the crops. Water for irrigation came from the canals and a schedule for distribution of water according to the area of land a farmer had was fixed. We used to go to fields everyday after our school. We took many detours on our way to our field. In the summers, we took dip in the cool refreshing waters in the canals in which cattle also cooled themselves. We stole red ripe tomatoes, raw and ripe mangoes, maize corn and sugarcane etc in the winter seasons. I clearly remember that in the compound of our home, there were heaps of haystack. We burrowed in to them, it became very comfortable. There were two or sometimes three buffaloes in our home for milk.
Everyone was having a plenty of time for leisure in those days. Old people use to sit under the banyan trees with cool shadows and whiled away the time by gossiping. Nothing could remain secret as the village was so well knitted. Women used to go to fetch the water into the pails from the village wells.
Though we were not rich but we had not a single worry in the world. We chased the ducks and other animals. Our parents will sometimes chide us for running here and there running over the crops. We climbed on the the branches of trees. Many a times someone will fall down and break his arm or leg.
There were plenty of sparrows in our houses. In the morning and evening there would be incessant chirping in the houses as they settled for the night. In the morning, they acted like alarms for the day breaking. The sounds we heard in those days were of the birds, dogs and people. There was hardly any radio. There was no electricity and we used the kerosene lamps . People ate very early in the evening and went to bed. They would rise very early in the morning. After taking tea or lassi and few rotis they will proceed to their fields with their bullock carts. When they returned, there was dry fagots, branches of trees, fodder for cattle and vegetables in the cart. Things began changing as the Chandigarh city began to expand. Industries came along and spread poison in the air and water without scruples. Green area began to shrink. With the electricity came noise which distracted these small creatures.
The sparrow have a good presence in the Punjabi literature. Sparrows, though very small in size, gorge on food very quickly. There is a idiom which says that “Now it is of no use to repent, because when the sparrows foraged and eat all the grains in the field”. The unmarried young girls are compared to the sparrows. In some sad folk song, the girls are telling their father that they are just like sparrows and will fly away someday which is an illusion to their marriage and will never come back. There is a tingle of helplessness in their narration.
Now, I live in the town near Mumbai. It is happy to note that the sparrows visit the windows of our house everyday thanks to my wife taking care of them with seeds and water. Also there are lots of pigeons. Squirrels also come but they like slightly rough and bigger seeds like groundnuts. Pigeons like Bajra and rice. Sparrows mainly gorge themselves on the rice. There are vacuous crows which are the loudest and the meanest and most efficient eaters. They generally don’t like the grains and forage into the food thrown by the residents into the refuse collector bins. Occasionally, they grab a frail or injured sparrow or smaller bird than themselves and eat it. We also hear the cuckoos.
It is almost the end of the month of January. Though, in the North of India, it is very cold with winter at its zenith, weather in Mumbai is quite hot in day time. Due to this, biological clocks of the trees and plants here run ahead of their counterparts in the North. I discovered this through the bees.
Since, last many days, in the evening, there are few bees buzzing and hitting the wire mesh of the windows, trying to reach the light inside the room.The reason dawned on me one day when I was looking at the tree opposite our window. It was full of flowers and bees visit these flowers in search of nectar. Occasionally, some bees which are greedier and over stay till dark forget their way and are doomed to die. If the bees were birds, they could have negotiated the way to their home as birds can see even in infrared but bees cannot.