Insti Wildlife for Dummies


Wildlife in insti. How do I begin? Well, I’m certainly not going to yammer about the wonderful biodiversity we have with all those hundreds of species, like the palm civets (which kept mysteriously popping up, dead, outside the Elec department), golden jackals (I don’t think anybody in insti has seen them yet), gerbils, chitals and Indian Star tortoises, not to mention the insects and reptiles and birds. There have been enough lectures and books and signboards already.

The “birds” are a matter of gross suspicion, though. In spite of the boards at every corner advertising all these unique birds, I have yet to come across any avians other than the crows, kites, and the occasional owl, in spite of all the long walks all over insti at various times of night and day. Sometimes I think the students of the BT department have a hand in this. Maybe there’s a secret facility deep within the forest creating mutant birds (yes, I’ve been watching too much Sherlock).

If you’re a student, you would have come across monkeys, cats, deer, blackbucks and cotton-stainers. For those who are unfamiliar with that last name, cotton-stainers are those spotted red insects that most of us have dubbed orgy-insects (faithful readers of T5E will remember this from an article by Liza. It’s how I know the fact, admittedly). These red-coloured critters settle in cotton bolls, where they feed on the cotton. They cling on to these bolls, and get crushed during the harvesting process, staining the cotton red. Hence the name.

And cats, OhGodWhy. Those of us who aren’t cat people don’t enjoy their persistence in our lives very much. Also, I find that they are experts at employing emotional blackmail, especially when you have food in the immediate vicinity. They do that whole Puss-In-Boots thing with their big innocent eyes, and if you turn your head away they just walk over and stare at your face till you give in. I don’t like them, but I have come to respect this talent of theirs. Especially because I have been trying unsuccessfully to get free food for myself for quite some time.

This leads us to think, naturally, of the monkeys. Oh, the stories. The number of times we (especially Sharav-ites) have dreamed wistfully of blowtorching the whole lot of them. They’ve ransacked our rooms, scared the hell out of us, surrounded our means of escape from hostel in multiple ways, held choir sessions exactly at 3 am, waking everybody up, and cavorted around with each other (putting this extremely extremely mildly) a little too often, and too in our faces, for any comfort.

It has to be mentioned though, that our hostels (especially Sharav) have been monkey-habitats for a very long time, since before insti really came up, even. And monkeys apparently have long ancestral memories, which is why they refuse to move away from these particular hostels. No matter what methods are employed, the monkeys cling faithfully to their old homes. It’s we who have ransacked their homes and settled in. When you see it that way, you can’t help but feel a little (just a little) guilt and sympathy.

Which leaves us with the deer and blackbuck. What’s to say? It’s surprising how quickly we move from delight every time we see one (Oh, those early freshie days!) to the apathy that settles in soon enough. I should probably write about a analogy that I heard comparing the albino blackbuck to the kind of guys girls would like to date in insti- difficult to locate, with some people wondering if they are a myth. (No offence to anybody, although I agree this sounds a little sexist).

I was going to have an elaborate comparison centered on us students and how we could possibly classify as another breed of wild animals (I am sure a lot of profs would concur), but I find myself out of time and space. ‘Til next time!

Isha Bhallamudi is a fourth year student of the Humanities and Social Sciences Department in IIT Madras, majoring in Development Studies. Having recently discovered the joys of being off Facebook (which didn't last very long), she can be found reading, listening to strange music or making lists.

Write a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *