My Bee Hive
Early November, 2011, one fine morning, as I sat reading a book near my balcony I saw huge swarm of bees heading towards my balcony. I rushed indoors quickly and through the glass pane witnessed the drama taking place on the edge of the roof of my balcony. Hundreds of them settled there, they seemed to be inspecting the place. Within minutes the buzz subsided and just few were flying around the spot. I guessed they didn’t like the place to build their hive.
I was wrong! Half an hour later there were thousands, it was like a huge dark cloud. I was spell bound, never having witnessed such a scene before I was on a clicking spree from behind the safety of my glass pane. By evening they settled to form a huge lump and the next few days there was continuous activity. I somehow managed to water the plants and move away the smaller pots. For two months their activity went on. Their most active hours were between 10 to 11 in morning and then 3 to 4 in the afternoon. Watering and cleaning up the place was done during their rest hours. The beehive size grew bigger and bigger and formed a ‘L’ shape on the edge.
My balcony got a new scent, not of flowers but of honey. It got sweeter each day. Each time looking at it I would wonder how much honey it will have! I had no mind to break it, in fact my daughters were more keen in their activities. One day three men came knocking on my door saying they will get rid of the bee hive from my balcony for Rs. 2000. I made it clear to them I was not interested in getting rid of the bees. By now I had started to like the bees, the smell in my balcony and the photo opportunities I was getting once in a while. The men were like: has the woman gone crazy!
After lot of arguments like: this was the way they made their living, and they would give me honey for free and that they extracted it the cleanest way, I agreed. Soon they walked in with a bunch of some kind of leaves and dry hay in between those leaves. They set the bunch on fire and smoke rising from it disturbed the bees. What surprised me was that the bees seemed to have become docile. The men were removing the bees from the hive with bare hands and none of them were stung. A couple of them sat on my hands which were holding my dear camera; now I could neither react with a jolt lest I damage my camera, nor scream out of fright! One of them gently took away the bees. Whew!
The hive was a thick one, which they cut with a knife and honey was oozing out of it. On an impulse I put my finger in the honey and licked it. It was sweet! It was not so thick like the one we get in markets, the Dabur variety, it was thinner and light golden in color. They extracted around 30litres of honey from that hive, I kept 5litres for myself and rest of it they sold. They even took a portion of the honey comb saying the queen bee was inside it.
The edge is now bare and I miss their activity which I used to watch often. How disciplined the bees were! Neither did I disturb them nor did they harm me. For some days the bees came searching for their home which I had destroyed, I do feel guilty… not sure whether I should actually feel so.
They must have made a new home somewhere else hopefully!