Several years ago, when my friends Bindi Gandhi and Anjali Sardeshmukh were IndiCorps fellows, working on public health initiatives in Ahmedabad’s Ramapir no Tekro slum, they lived in a wonderful house on the campus of the Gandhi Ashram. I called it “The Zoo,” in appreciation of its diverse and plentiful fauna. They had mice, rats, lizards, geckos, bats, cockroaches, ants, centipedes, roaches, and pretty much every other manner of creepy-crawly. Despite working to exhaustion to improve sanitation and hygiene conditions in the slum, they permitted the drainage ditches around the house to become blocked, creating a mosquito breeding regime so potent that one could hardly breathe without committing mosquito mass murder. (The surviving hordes of mosquitos exacted their own revenge.) The water tank was infested with millions of tiny worms. There was even a peacock who lived on the roof – how auspicious is that!
I could continue the roster, but you get the idea. I left them a notebook to record the comings and goings of all the different species in the place.
Continue reading ‘Fauna’