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My Husband and Other Animals
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My Husband and Other Animals
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About The Book

What's it like beings married to Ram 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 ballet tree-frogs that insist on colonising 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 de-mystify 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 Russell's vipers to a dog- eating leopard. She thinks she's 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. It's her childhood dream come true.

Foreword

It seems these days as if people have forgotten their biological roots or lost interest in animals and plants or been led astray by modem attention-grabbers, such as celebrities, computer games and Facebook. The biodiversity of Planet Earth apparently doesn't matter any more, and this concerns me greatly.

It's clear that Janaki Lenin feels the same. Trying her hand at documentary film-making, she defied the television executives who wanted human personalities to dominate the screen in programmes about animals. And I am glad she did, as her rebelliousness gave impetus to her column in The Hindu, on which this book is based.

This delightful compendium goes a long way to filling the current gap in popular writing on the subjects of wildlife and natural history.

Like Gerald Durrell, my late husband and one of her heroes, Janaki demonstrates a refreshing breadth of interest in and knowledge of natural history, linking nature to her spouse, to all human endeavour, to God and the Universe!

The topics with which [anaki enchants her readers are incredibly diverse and always fascinating. Virgin birth in reptiles, how to train animals (including husbands), invasions by tree frogs and egrets, the innocuous-looking, but pain-inflicting devil nettle and the fabulous makara and fearsome kirtimukha of Hindu mythology are just a few of her themes.

More than this, Janaki, again like Gerald, uses humour, storytelling and an easy, gentle style to remind us of the links between humans and the other species on the planet. It is upon these relationships that civilization rests, although few admit it or even recognize it today. But think about it... from domestication of animals and plants, to love of the land, to inspiration derived from the intricacy, grandeur and beauty of nature, these connections make us humans what we are.

If our species is to persist, severing these connections is not possible, although, given our track record with the natural world, we seem to be trying hard to do so!

Janaki asks, '... what compels us humans to gobble and destroy our way through Earth's resources until there is no tomorrow?' The answer is that we have forgotten how we became human beings, how we evolved with and depended upon other species.

Janaki asks, 'Are we hell-bent on sending this unique life- sustaining planet to Saturn, the haunted house of Hindu astrology?' At present the appalling answer is certainly yes, but it doesn't have to be. If we can collectively recall our evolutionary history, acknowledge our dependence on the ecosystem functions sustained by biodiversity and behave as if we believe in it, then Earth ... and we ... will survive.

Contents

Forewordix
Genesisxi
The Curse of the Tree Frog1
A Partridge by Any Other Name4
A Leopard Comes Calling7
Money for Nothing11
Danger in Paradise14
Pogeyan Puli: The Smokey Cat17
Feckless Farmers20
Croc Whisperer23
The Drug Runner26
Croc Bank Ants33
Off the Deep End36
Creature Comforts39
The Great Brain Robbery42
Close Encounters45
Take Me Home48
The Endangered Scrub Jungle53
Bird Impersonators56
Snake-bite 'Heroes'59
The Case of the Mythical Malabar Civet62
Immaculate Reptilian Conceptions65
Riding High68
The Beast Within71
Wildlife Idols74
Spare That Rod77
The Cyclone of 8580
Devil Nettle83
The Greatest Reptile Show on Earth86
Birds Too Many89
Run-ins with Snakes92
When Roses are Green95
The Ultimate Common-Sense Test98
Kings of Cool101
Watchers at the Pond104
Snakebite107
Frognapped! - A Frog's Adventure in the City110
Gardening a Forest113
Tales from El Paso116
Jaws III119
Everything's in the Name122
Innocence Lost125
Snakes in Transit128
The Snake Guru131
The Venom Milkers134
Creatures at Play137
The Ethiopian Giants140
Dead Little Birds143
Little Creature Discomforts146
The Playful Porpentine149
Mithun Rustlers152
Good Luck Talismans155
A Letter to IIT, Madras158
Catch Me a Barta161
A Few Years of Solitude164
Appearances are Deceptive167
The Mite-y Peril170
Look Before You Leap173
Fencing with Porcupines176
Monkey in the Middle179
Son of a Wolf182
Threats Bear Fruit185
Animal Crazy188
Naughty Words191
Snakes in Drag194
Ajoba's Story197
A Native Christmas200
The Nose Job203
Burmese Snakes and Latino Plants206
Plant's Poison, Man's Potion209
Bringing up Luppy213
The 'Blarry' Rascals216
The Making of Croc Bank219
A Moveable Feast222
The Price of Gold225
Snake Wrestlers228
Scent of a Dog231
A Tale of Two Sambhars234
21st Century Idli237
Memory Capsules240
The Frog Call Quiz243
Rom, Snakes, and Ray's Tales246
Sting in the Tale249
Summertime252
The Taming of the Shrew255
Animal Suicide258
Palmyra Enigma261
Harin Chattopadhyaya's Birthday Poem264
Evolution by Fire268
An Airboat Adventure in Papua271
Indians Gone Potty274
Is My Husband an Animal?277
Acknowledgements280
Sample Page


My Husband and Other Animals

Item Code:
NAH097
Cover:
Paperback
Edition:
2012
Publisher:
ISBN:
9789381626726
Language:
English
Size:
7.5 inch x 5.0 inch
Pages:
294
Other Details:
Weight of the Book: 200 gms
Price:
$29.00   Shipping Free
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About The Book

What's it like beings married to Ram 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 ballet tree-frogs that insist on colonising 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 de-mystify 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 Russell's vipers to a dog- eating leopard. She thinks she's 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. It's her childhood dream come true.

Foreword

It seems these days as if people have forgotten their biological roots or lost interest in animals and plants or been led astray by modem attention-grabbers, such as celebrities, computer games and Facebook. The biodiversity of Planet Earth apparently doesn't matter any more, and this concerns me greatly.

It's clear that Janaki Lenin feels the same. Trying her hand at documentary film-making, she defied the television executives who wanted human personalities to dominate the screen in programmes about animals. And I am glad she did, as her rebelliousness gave impetus to her column in The Hindu, on which this book is based.

This delightful compendium goes a long way to filling the current gap in popular writing on the subjects of wildlife and natural history.

Like Gerald Durrell, my late husband and one of her heroes, Janaki demonstrates a refreshing breadth of interest in and knowledge of natural history, linking nature to her spouse, to all human endeavour, to God and the Universe!

The topics with which [anaki enchants her readers are incredibly diverse and always fascinating. Virgin birth in reptiles, how to train animals (including husbands), invasions by tree frogs and egrets, the innocuous-looking, but pain-inflicting devil nettle and the fabulous makara and fearsome kirtimukha of Hindu mythology are just a few of her themes.

More than this, Janaki, again like Gerald, uses humour, storytelling and an easy, gentle style to remind us of the links between humans and the other species on the planet. It is upon these relationships that civilization rests, although few admit it or even recognize it today. But think about it... from domestication of animals and plants, to love of the land, to inspiration derived from the intricacy, grandeur and beauty of nature, these connections make us humans what we are.

If our species is to persist, severing these connections is not possible, although, given our track record with the natural world, we seem to be trying hard to do so!

Janaki asks, '... what compels us humans to gobble and destroy our way through Earth's resources until there is no tomorrow?' The answer is that we have forgotten how we became human beings, how we evolved with and depended upon other species.

Janaki asks, 'Are we hell-bent on sending this unique life- sustaining planet to Saturn, the haunted house of Hindu astrology?' At present the appalling answer is certainly yes, but it doesn't have to be. If we can collectively recall our evolutionary history, acknowledge our dependence on the ecosystem functions sustained by biodiversity and behave as if we believe in it, then Earth ... and we ... will survive.

Contents

Forewordix
Genesisxi
The Curse of the Tree Frog1
A Partridge by Any Other Name4
A Leopard Comes Calling7
Money for Nothing11
Danger in Paradise14
Pogeyan Puli: The Smokey Cat17
Feckless Farmers20
Croc Whisperer23
The Drug Runner26
Croc Bank Ants33
Off the Deep End36
Creature Comforts39
The Great Brain Robbery42
Close Encounters45
Take Me Home48
The Endangered Scrub Jungle53
Bird Impersonators56
Snake-bite 'Heroes'59
The Case of the Mythical Malabar Civet62
Immaculate Reptilian Conceptions65
Riding High68
The Beast Within71
Wildlife Idols74
Spare That Rod77
The Cyclone of 8580
Devil Nettle83
The Greatest Reptile Show on Earth86
Birds Too Many89
Run-ins with Snakes92
When Roses are Green95
The Ultimate Common-Sense Test98
Kings of Cool101
Watchers at the Pond104
Snakebite107
Frognapped! - A Frog's Adventure in the City110
Gardening a Forest113
Tales from El Paso116
Jaws III119
Everything's in the Name122
Innocence Lost125
Snakes in Transit128
The Snake Guru131
The Venom Milkers134
Creatures at Play137
The Ethiopian Giants140
Dead Little Birds143
Little Creature Discomforts146
The Playful Porpentine149
Mithun Rustlers152
Good Luck Talismans155
A Letter to IIT, Madras158
Catch Me a Barta161
A Few Years of Solitude164
Appearances are Deceptive167
The Mite-y Peril170
Look Before You Leap173
Fencing with Porcupines176
Monkey in the Middle179
Son of a Wolf182
Threats Bear Fruit185
Animal Crazy188
Naughty Words191
Snakes in Drag194
Ajoba's Story197
A Native Christmas200
The Nose Job203
Burmese Snakes and Latino Plants206
Plant's Poison, Man's Potion209
Bringing up Luppy213
The 'Blarry' Rascals216
The Making of Croc Bank219
A Moveable Feast222
The Price of Gold225
Snake Wrestlers228
Scent of a Dog231
A Tale of Two Sambhars234
21st Century Idli237
Memory Capsules240
The Frog Call Quiz243
Rom, Snakes, and Ray's Tales246
Sting in the Tale249
Summertime252
The Taming of the Shrew255
Animal Suicide258
Palmyra Enigma261
Harin Chattopadhyaya's Birthday Poem264
Evolution by Fire268
An Airboat Adventure in Papua271
Indians Gone Potty274
Is My Husband an Animal?277
Acknowledgements280
Sample Page


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