My Husband & Other Animals — By Janaki Lenin
Publisher: Westland Books
Price: Rs. 275 INR(Paperback), Rs. 170 INR(Kindle Edition)
Buy here: https://amzn.to/2OGZJVt
Rom felt that all the trappings of the human world interfered with his ability to find king cobras. So he discarded his watch and shoes and stripped down to a loin cloth. Not the best attire for his first brush with the devil nettle!’ what’s it like being married to Rom Whitaker– herpetologist, wildlife conservationist and founder of the Madras Snake Park and Madras Crocodile Bank?.
Janaki Lenin, his wife, tells us, ‘There’s never a dull moment’. In this compilation of stories, Janaki– also an animal enthusiast– gives us a peek into the zany and unpredictable world that Rom and she have built together, deep in southern India. They battle tree frogs that insist on colonizing their house, travel to the wilds of the world pursuing venomous snakes and monster crocodiles, devote precious hours to befriending Gila monsters, playing with porcupines and taming opinionated shrews.
Entertaining, playful and downright amusing, the essays shed light on the kingdoms of beasts and plants. They provide flashes of insight into animal disposition, relate human stories about the world and our place in it and demystify nature’s secret code. Most of all, they highlight Rom and Janaki’s wide-eyed wonder at sharing this diverse planet with all creatures, large and small.
About the Author
Janaki Lenin has always had an interest in animals but living with Rom took it to the stratospheric level. They lived in the Madras Crocodile Bank for a few years, surrounded by thousands of crocodiles, snakes, turtles, and lizards. Rom and Janaki made documentaries about wildlife in wild places for a living.
When they moved to their farm in rural Tamil Nadu, Janaki thought it would be a perfect retreat after the many arduous months of filming. Instead, a whole new set of challenges popped up from pesky tree frogs and adamant Russells vipers to a dog-eating leopard. She thinks shes made her peace with the many wild creatures who have staked claim to their farm, but who knows what tomorrow may bring. Rom and Janaki live with four dogs, a pair of emus, a flock of geese, and a pig. Its her childhood dream come true.
My take on this book
Janaki Lenin is no stranger to those who have followed her essays in ‘The Hindu’ newspaper over the years. This book is a collection of such essays/stories with each spanning 4–5 pages. There are a total of 90 stories talking of tree frogs, crocs, snakes, leopards, babblers, even nettle. Each essay speaks about one species and remarkable, generally unknown facts about them. Some are about the author’s own encounters with one of these animals.
The writing is perfect and high on wit while giving out wonderful details of wildlife, their natural traits and the kind of research that goes into understanding their behavior. If you ever wondered how animals and birds trace back to their home even after being taken away hundreds of miles, whether in the jungle or in the cities; how citizens keep even the most amazing snakes as pets, what happens when you stay on a farm and frogs come home in hundreds, how bird species get their names — this book comprises of all this and many more stories.
If you are a animal, nature lover this is a must must read. Even if this is the first time you are gonna read about wildlife, this one should not be missed. A fun ride into the wild and woods, by the end of it, the reader would learn about a handful of new animals and plants. While I complete this book, the next one is already out — ‘My Husband and Other Animals 2: The Wildlife Adventure Continues’.