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Showing posts from April, 2013

Checkmate!

To battle is ingrained in the very DNA of life. From the smallest microorganisms to the largest mammals, to the multitudes of marine creatures to avian life; each species, each individual, is locked in a battle, every day, for the entirety of its existence. A battle for survival, to eat or to avoid being eaten, to exist for just a while longer. The earth, then, is a vast battlefield, with innumerable duels taking place at any given instant.

There is one species that excels at battling. Humans, after all, won the battle against all other life forms decisively. They used their superior intelligence to vanquish even the largest, the fastest, the most ferocious and the most poisonous of beasts. But, having vanquished all other types of life on earth, what would the restless battling spirit that is so ingrained in all life, ask of them? Battle a more worthy foe, of course. Each other.

Over centuries the craft of battle was honed, through countless massacres and righteous victories. To cap…

Sea Walking in the Andamans

I stand on the sea floor, off the coast of North Bay, a small island near Port Blair, the capital of the Andaman Islands. Facing a coral reef about 20 feet below the water surface, I am surrounded by hundreds of fishes, from tiny Nemos that nestle among the corals to large foot long grey ones gnawing at my fingers and jostling with each other for a morsel of fish feed. I experience near weightlessness, with the heavy air helmet I'm wearing pushing me down so I stay on the sea floor. Walking is a slow deliberate process, and I step gingerly on the shifting sand floor, trying to keep a firm footing, while minimizing the amount of sand I kick up in the water.  Corals come in numerous shapes, sizes and colours. The ones here were orange with finger sized and shaped cilia. Nestled among them you find dozens of fishes and sure enough, as had been promised, there was Nemo, the orange and white striped clown fish. How strange that it was unaware of what a celebrity it was, its species kn…