Slime ball

Greater Indian Hornbill (c) Young World, The Hindu, 2012


Bah! What a silly story of pipers and snakes! If one has heard of the Theory of Evolution, then one would know that fish evolved to become amphibians. Then came reptiles followed by we the birds. Obviously, a great improvement in design and looks. However, there is one chap in my habitat who has defied evolution. I often wonder why that is so? I don’t know but I do know he could have improved his looks in the millions of years he has been around.

Living fossils are those plants and animals that are still here today and they closely resemble fossils dating back hundreds of millions of years. Alligators, crocs, cockroaches, army ants, lung fish and horseshoe crabs are some of those who haven’t changed at all. They could have mutated into something better looking; not that they could not have become beautiful but surely less ugly! So could have that amphibian in my forest.

I wish it were a bad dream but I know it isn’t. I did really see him in the rainforests of the Western Ghats where I live.I do not know how to say this tactfully. Oh my God, he is the ugliest thing I have ever seen in my whole life as a Great Hornbill! I have no words to describe this slime ball!

Are you eager to know more about him? Well, he is dark purple, about seven centimetres long and squeaks, unlike other frogs that croak. His body is fat, no, obese, that’s what it is, with a small, really small head. What is wrong with his face? It shows! That’s the problem! Ever seen a frog with a pig-face? This weirdo does have a piggy face! With pointy snout between two tiny, black, beady eyes, he looks bizarre.

This purple frog is an endangered animal. Thankfully, we don’t get to see too many of them here in the forests. Just between you and me, I wouldn’t be too upset if he were to become extinct. Though this loathsome fella has been around ever since the Pangea broke up, some 100 million years ago, he has been “discovered” only in 2003. Scientists are perhaps the only ones who are delighted to see him and click his pictures. They have given him the name Nasikabatrachus sahyadrensis, from the Sanskrit word for nose (nasika); batrachus, meaning frog; and Sahyadri, the name for his mountain home.

You wonder why no one had seen him before. He is kind enough to remain buried a few metres underground most of the year except for about two weeks during the summer monsoon when he hops around squealing to find a mate. Sometimes I wonder if he squeaks in horror at the looks of his mate.

Pity, the forest has no mirror to shock him into silence.

Greater Hornbill

Published as part of a series titled ‘Aristotle’s Mailbag’ in Young World, The Hindu, dt. July 31, 2012


One thought on “Slime ball

  1. Hey, hold back your nastiness, hornbill! We must maintain a high standard of dialogue. Write
    well and leave the nasty comments to me.

    Equus Asinus

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