Leave frogs in wells please!

Andhra Pradesh is now officially Andhera Pradesh. We are back in the Dark Ages – we have no power and no water. Well, we have power cuts and rationed water, to be precise. So my entire life (by which I mean the measuring out of my day in coffee-spoons) is now structured around those two hours of power cuts and those precious hours when potable water gushes forth from the tap. No packaged drinking water for me, thanks to the pesticide scare. Not that I think (Aquaguarded) tap water is any safer. It’s really a devil-and-the-deep-sea kind of choice. Middle-class boom it seems. Superstar India it seems. I’m not amused.

But we, the people of Andhra Pradesh, do not despair easily. We are nothing if not feisty. We leave nothing to chance. So, while the Centre for Atmospheric Sciences & Weather Modifications (CASWM) of the Jawaharlal Nehru Technological University is undertaking cloud-seeding operations, a few women in Hyderabad are roping in frogs to help bring the rains down on us. The picture says it all.

Courtesy: The Hindu, Andhra Pradesh/Hyderabad News/ July 15 2008

These women got together and performed holy matrimony, Hindu-style, on two frogs. Seriously. The Hindu reports it. And I am trying to fathom what this is all about.

Now, I know that rain and croaking, mating frogs kind of  happen together. But I’m assuming it’s a metonymic relationship – you know, one of association and not of cause and effect!  Did they think that “marrying” them would encourage them to mate?! And bring forth the rains? 

My background in Biology tells me that frogs mate anyway, and with multiple partners, without the social sanction of marriage!  I’d think the whole ordeal of marriage would probably kill the drive. In fact, the story goes, one of the frogs took such a fright that it ran away, and had to be caught and brought back. Consequently the marriage, originally scheduled for Sunday, was brought forward to Monday! And, apparently, no one one knows whether the runaway frog was the bride or the groom. Croak! Have they at least made sure it was a male and a female that were married?

 And where, pray, amidst these merry goings-on was that champion of Animal Rights, the SPCA? And Hyderabad’s very own Blue Cross? Huh? Huh?

I’m not making fun of anyone or any practice here. Even though my jaw dropped right to the floor when I read the story. And even though I’m guffawing even as I type this. My heart goes out to those poor frogs locked in holy monogamy till death do them apart, when actually Nature had ordained them for healthy polygamy .

This is a one-off post. Written only because I think it is a story worth recording. Maybe I’ll write a poem on this, Prasanth. Croaking frogs do not a monsoon make. Or some such thing!


Update: Not even the dead are spared the travails of the power crisis in AP. The Hindu informs  me today that crematoriums are beginning to feel the heat, with bodies piling up thanks to delays due to prolonged power cuts. So I’m going to be plagued by this even after death?!

Forget the frogs, I now have an existential dilemma: Should I live or die?



  1. Quirky Indian said

    Hopefully there are no such beliefs which involve mice or rabbits mating!

    Can you imagine what would happen to Andhera P and the rest of India if it rained every time a mouse or rabbit got the urge?

    Should I start building an ark?

  2. asmokescreen said

    @ QI:

    No. I most certainly do not want to imagine.

  3. prasanth said

    I suppose it would be reminding the obvious when I mention the incident of the woman and the tree she married.

    But on a serious(:) note, some 15-18 years ago, Kerala was witness to a yagna which aimed at ensuring rains. I am not sure of the details but a group of reputed academics studied the process and made some observations regarding the possible connections between the process of the yagna and rains. Most mallus(including me) know of it because a pretty well-known movie was based on this.

    I am not very certain about the conclusions of the study..so take that part with a pinch of salt…but it seems pretty interesting.

  4. asmokescreen said

    @ Prasanth:

    You know, yagnas for rains are not unknown in AP. We’ve done it, too.

    But … academics were involved in that one? Yikes! I cringe for my ilk! 🙂

  5. prasanth said

    It rained heavily yesterday and the frog community on campus was croaking with full throated abandon…leaving me to speculate on the following possibilities
    a) They are croaking because it rained
    b) They are croaking because they are happy that it rained because they had all croaked the previous day.
    c) They are happy that it rained before many more of them were captured and united in holy matrimony
    d) They are happy it rained before an academic captured them and tried to conduct experiments on the connection between their croaking and rainfall.
    e) They are happy because someone is writing a poem on their croaking and the rain and how wonderful/painful the world is in general.

    Take you pick. 😉

  6. asmokescreen said

    @ Prasanth:


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