Chronicles of Andamans

            I was clue less, Snorkeling? What does it mean? I mean it (the word) must have existed all this while. I should have come across it, may be in some novel,  movies, some conversation…somewhere. Nope. Never heard anybody say ‘we snorkeled’, till we got relocated to Andaman and Nicobar Islands. You know how it is, we were not too familiar with the word ‘Tsunami’ till it actually hit us with a bang in 2004, right? At least I was familiar with the word ‘Andamans’, not like that shopkeeper who asked us, while we were trying to search for a road map of Andamans, ‘Is it in India?’
         However exotic it may sound, my initial months over here were totally prejudiced against it. No Mc Dees, no Dominos, no Pizza huts and Pizza corners, no Ice cream palours, or any other eating joint close by. Come on, We need a break from my cooking! No high rise buildings, (of course earth quake prone, island, what did I expect?) no malls! no colleges, no theatres, this is criminal. Help! Help!
         It was dark and dismal the first few days. The road was totally covered with all kinds of insects and creepy crawly things, mostly with shells. I had to watch out where I was putting my foot down. I dreaded hearing a ‘crunch’ sound coming from right under my foot. It rained incessantly. It was just too bright, for my liking, early in the morning. (4.30 am!). It was dark by 5 pm. There went my walking routine. I didn’t want to walk ‘crunching’ along. I kept imagining a centipede crawling up the bed, may be it is inside the shoes, within clothes, here, there, everywhere.
        The silence all around was unnerving; I could hear only the sound of crickets and various insects making a noise in fact a racket, reaching a crescendo followed by a sudden quiet. No sound of vehicle or people. My ears started aching because of the silence.
         From a response ‘Its ok’, to the question ‘How do you like the place?’ to, ‘Wow, it’s amazing’.... lay the journey of discovery. How it happened, when it happened, I have no idea, I am clueless.
         The beginnings, the twitch towards falling in love with this place might have been this sight.

        This snail was so completely camouflaged (with design of the tiled wall it was descending) that I detected it quite by chance.

Or it could have been this moth, on returning late one evening......

May be this one....

or  this ....

might have been this one...

what about this?

    In fact there are so many that I can't possibly put them all here!
..........except maybe just this last one

One last one promise..

             I have decided all of them need to be looked at, at least once, so I have made a slide show of them & 'planted' them on the right side of the blog.

            The insects of Port Blair had me on my toes, forcing me to run and fetch my mobile and keep it ready, just in case I found one of the endemic species. Ready, to capture their beauty while they posed patiently, I slowly but steadily fell in love with them.
.....And thus began my journey of discovery of the Emerald Islands, Andaman and Nicobar.........Ooop! Snorkeling? May be in my next article...