Tuesday, December 03, 2019

It's always nesting season for ants

In the silver oak, the black kites have begun nesting for the second straight year, but in the trees around this place, the fire ants are always nesting, regardless of season. They find trees with large leaves - even plants - and glue them into nests, even until the leaves dry and the trees shed.

I imagine these nests rattling the mild breeze that sometimes seizes the trees in this season.

The fire ants have colonised everything. They're in t he guava tree, all long the walls, on every creeper and vine. We've tried vinegar and oil,soap, all the things internet forums say work on fire ants. I think it was in Harini Nagendra's and Seema Mundoli's book, Cities and Canopies, that they talk about how an infestation of fire ants is a symptom of a micro-ecology out of whack. I don't know why that makes sense, but it does in an intuitive way.

Think of the government institute close by that plays music all day long and well into the evening, supposedly to help their employees with stress relief. Think of the LED lights, some of which strobe most distressingly when they're nearly done, that makes the night brighter than it's supposed to be for all creatures but urban humans.

That's not even taking into account the kinds of plants people keep - all green leaves, no flowers or fruits - and the lawns that need litres of water to maintain (and a ton of pesticide, for the termites).

I hate the ants. I don't know how to get rid of them without also destroying all the other insect and animal life the lives around our house, though. Cutting down the trees that host the nests? Large-scale pesticide application? Please!

If anyone knows how to keep the fire ant population down, please let me know!

Monday, December 02, 2019

The fictional self

None of these thoughts are original but I've been thinking them for a few days and since I don't want this blog to be only a graveyard of remembrances to people who've died, here's what's been on my mind:

Interviews with artists, writers, musicians - the whole category of people about whom you want to know more because you experienced a work you liked or lots of other people liked. And because curiosity is a collective, besetting sin.

How exhausting it must be to reveal something of oneself each time. How much easier to curate a handful of things - not untrue - to share, and share so many times that it becomes an ingredient in a recipe, a thing detachable, a fiction edited with a critical eye and separated from oneself so that the rest can remain one's own, unknowable.

Each creative person's way of giving nothing away to the people they meet, because they give far too much away of themselves in their work. Look for them there.