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Heirs Of The Earth

We humans have no special rights on the earth.

There is a famous short story by a celebrated Malayalam fiction writer Vaikom Muhammad Basheer on this. All creations, from the little ant to the mighty elephant, and also the arrogant human, all have the same rights over mother earth.

Okay… but then that doesn’t explain the existence of that zapper bat on your table. Or explains that can of ‘hit’ in your tool cupboard. Some hypocrisy this is!

Name that movie! (source)

I agree… I am indeed a selfish hypocrite. But at least I ‘say’ that I acknowledge the rights of other creatures. I also happen to have a right to protect myself from injury and illness. So, yes, I will continue to zap the daylights off of those @%^%&*@ mosquitoes. Rights or no rights.

You should expect some unwelcome guests (and some welcome ones too) once you start the miniature ecosystem on your window sill.

A couple of years ago, I had a big bunch of cow peas growing on my terrace. These were the thick, long variety that grows upto two feet in length. One of the tastiest dishes I can think of is the simple stir fry of these nice legumes with a bit of shallots and green chillies.

One day I heard a commotion from the terrace. Upon inspection, I found some five or six parrots having a feeding frenzy for the peas. Cow pea is one of the favourite things for them parrots. One of the chores for us boys in the village was to build scarecrows to ward them off.But this overgrown village boy chose to just watch these magnificent creature. I don’t know the scientific name, but these were the bigger variety called ‘five colour parrot’ in Malayalam. They were all screeching and cackling, like my kids do when they see ice cream. This should have been an unexpected treat for these guys.



I can buy all the cow peas I want. They may not be as organic, or as tasty as the ones I grow, but I can get them when I want. But for these poor birds, the only way to get this delicacy would be from my terrace so I let them enjoy it to their fill.

One of the policies I have with my gardening is that I will not deny the right of any of gods creatures to mother nature’s bounty. I hardly use pesticides. When I do, it would be against the critters that harm the plants. Like the aphids that suck the sap and kill the plants.

Here is how you make a simple and pretty benign ‘pesticide’. Take some mild soap. The famous 501 bar works good. Do not use the synthetic detergents. Use only the soap. Dissolve the soap in water, to get a thick solution. Then add neem oil into the solution and whisk. The oil will form a colloid. Add oil till you see free oil. You can keep this potion in closed bottle for months.

To use, dilute the mix to 1:100 and spray. This is a natural, biodegradable contact pesticide. It kills all kinds of creepy crawlies, and since it is neem oil and soap, you can safely use it on all kinds of plants including fruit and vegetable bearing ones.

And make sure that you use it against only the villains. Leave those butterflies and bees to enjoy the nectar. Watch them, and they will make you a better person.

Photo Credit: Abhishek Jain

A kind contribution from Dileep Kumar for Housedelic.