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Showing posts from April, 2016

A River Runs Through It

The distinct nests of the Crematogaster ants, like oddly shaped footballs suspended precariously from the edge of a branch or jutted between two, remind me that I am in a familiar landscape. They’re quite rare to come by in the central Indian highlands where I now stay. These pagoda nests, as they are called, stand out starkly up in the trees. They are called pagoda nests because their papery roof-like structures made from wood pulp appear to be piled one above the other, like a pagoda temple – an adaptation used by the Western Ghat species of Crematogaster ants to drain off the rain.
I’m looking at a forest that is seven years older since I last saw it – and it looks beautiful – the hills that roll in front of me are straddled with lianas embracing their host trees, and the fruiting of figs has brought together the most iconic of this forest’s species together. The smell of the forest is the only thing that hasn’t changed in all these years – it is still indescribable but remains un…