Raindrops Keep Falling On My Web

I really believe there are things nobody would see if I didn't photograph them. The probability of that obviously is very low but laws of probability have often been known to falter at the crucial test of reality. For example, there is a statistical theory that if you gave a million monkeys typewriters and set them to work, they'd eventually comes up with the complete works of Shakespeare. Thanks to the Internet, we now know this isn't true.

One foggy winter morning, I went walking into the marshy lands of Keoladeo National Park, a protected reserve frequented by birds from all over the place. I went looking for pelicans, ducks, herons and the coveted Siberian cranes. It was very early in the morning, I was hoping to be the proverbial early bird and catch the worm, which, for me, ironically enough, were the breakfast hunting birds themselves. The fog was heavy and it was a long wait. So my bored mind wandered down insignificant thought patterns and my eyes no longer being guided by any conscious thought went on to wander on their own. So technically speaking it wasn't me who discovered these spider webs, it was my vagabond eyes. But they quickly caught the fascination of my idle mind as well.

I started to wonder. It hadn't rained. It was just dewdrops. So it must be something that happens almost everyday during these Indian winters. The marshes thereabouts remained very foggy for most of the winters. My next thought inevitably was of the spider, crouched on all eights, huddled in one corner of its web, watching the dewdrops drying out in the almost inadequate warmth of the winter morning. And the dewdrops swaying gently to the cold breeze, like clothes on a clothesline, providing an ironic reminder to the metaphoric water spilt on the best-laid plans. I wondered if the spider, with its biologically complex compound eyes, could see the irony, or for that matter, the beauty that it had managed to trap in its intriguing web of deceit. I went on to wonder at the power of association. Dewdrops looked so much more docile when they rested on delicate petals of a pretty flower. By contrast, on a spider web, the gluttonous intent behind the web themselves, made the glistening balls look sinister, like landmines on a battlefield. I wondered instantly if the spider could still glide across the web, or like a foolhardy soldier, it would become a victim of its own designs if it tried to navigate the dew-laden web.

I began to think about the victim himself. On ominous days, the spider web would be virtually invisible to a merry insect flitting across the dense foliage. However, on days like this, when the web was glistening in all its glory, would the tiny insect be able to recognize the danger and steer clear from it? Or would it be mesmerized by the beauty and be drawn towards it, for after all, the insects do have a bad reputation when it comes to spotting danger in the face of mesmerizing beauty. Even if the insect, drawn towards the pearly gates of the web, landed himself bang in the middle of a messy affair, would the web be still as effective or would the dewdrops have disarmed the intricate deathtrap.

A research once told me that a goldfish has the memory span of three seconds, and I wonder how the respectable group of scientists found it out, or for that matter, what prompted this investigation. I wonder if the same group of scientists could answer the questions that came to my hyperactive mind on this lazy winter morning. I wonder if the spider and the fly realize the mental calisthenics they induced in me. I wonder.

The author, which is me, is a specialist in pricing and revenue management and writes nothing on that subject. No point giving away free what is worth quite a decent salary. In between earning his salary and spending it, he has just enough time to write his chracteristic bite sized snippets of a life less ordinary for similary-hard-pressed-for-time caught in the grind individuals. These snippets serve as an ideal 2 minute mental vacation, as they will often slow readers down to an enjoyable crawl and more often than not leave the readers with a picture in the mind and a smile on the face and the seeds of a thought lingering.

The author can be contacted by email on [email protected]

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