If you have a taste for analogies, you might not be surprised to learn that one of the most famous music bands of its time shares its name (almost) with the most widespread group of insects. As I write this, beetles are simply swarming all over the place in my room.

The famous biologist J.B.S. Haldane was once asked what he thought of God. He replied that this person might demonstrate 'an inordinate fondness for beetles'. The insect kingdom is as numerous as the rest of the entire living world put together (except bacteria), and among them, the beetles are the most numerous. Amazing creatures these. They come in all sizes and bizarre shapes, with horns, claws and all kinds of ornaments. They come in metallic, incandescent, fluorescent and dull colours, and were once venerated by the Egyptians.

As the monsoon over Pune takes a break, swarms of little black beetles are flying everywhere. They land in my bed, my coffee, my hair...everywhere. The little time that these adults have to produce their new generation is not being wasted to stop and smell the roses. Sex is heavily in the air, with complicated courtship rituals. After the frenzy is over, exhausted, they fall to the ground like sputtering aircraft, their gossamer wings no longer able to bear their weight. As they wait to die, they leave me to wonder why nature has such whimsical wondrous ways.


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