Sunday, 30 June 2013

The Return of the Leeches

At first, you think it's rainwater that's soaked your feet. Take your shoes off and you see your socks are bright red. A black slug is writhing on your ankle. Your skin crawls, your blood flows, but however hard you try, you can't shake the thing off.
'Mountain Rain', Watercolour by Sheela Roy

A leech, the season's first. Other people rely on the met office and the newspaper for formal announcements of the monsoon. In the hills, the job's done by leeches. They are called "joke" in Hindi — somehow they never make you laugh. It is a mystery where leeches come from in the monsoon and where they go to once it's over. There must be people who know this. I don't. About a week or so after the rains set in, the leeches begin to emerge. Out of air, dropping much as the gentle rain from heaven does upon the earth beneath, leeches fall quietly off leaves and trees, they pour out of the grass and pine needles and they march with starved determination towards warm blood. Ours.

Read the rest of the article here in the Indian Express, Sunday 30 June 2013

1 comment:

  1. Joke? Certainly not! My first Himalayan leech filled my boot with blood, and after that it was a procession of the little bloated beasts on my feet and arms and neck. The fact that we were camping didn't make things any easier; they leaped on us as soon as we opened the flysheets each morning. Not my happiest memories!

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