It’s Monsoons in Mumbai, which means a lot of very good things, but also means that you’re suddenly very aware of the food chain around you, ignored in any other season.
First, you have the tiny, tiny insects that get in your books and die almost instantly, leaving you with black marks all over the pages. Then there are the fuzzy grey ones that hover over any food item that has the misfortune to be kept in the open for longer than half an hour. Then, of course, you have the more recognizable insects like ants, spiders and cockroaches, with their more specialised cousins, flying ants, spiders and cockroaches. I seem to attract the latter quite a lot.
Speaking of flying, you will also be made aware of exactly how many different types of insect bodies you can possibly stick wings on. We’ve learnt some entomology in school and now in Community Medicine, but nothing beats actually getting to live with these creatures.
Of course, we should not fail to mention our slightly larger friends, lizards and rodents. I’ve been known to name and domesticize my lizard neighbours, but I can’t seem to bond with the ones I have now. The rats around my hostel are so adapted to medical students by now that they know exactly where to find my ramen and exactly which important textbooks to gnaw. I want to internalise my textbooks too, but I have to say, my commitment falls far short of theirs. The resident squirrel outside my window does not show academic leanings, thankfully. However, it does prefer my textbooks to shit on, so maybe it’s still developing its interests.
All in all, it’s a wonderful way to teach yourself that not everything you read in a textbook is true. For example, that human beings are supposed to be at the top of the food chain No, you’re not. You’re a nutritious food source for an entire ecosystem.