When it’s flowering season, bees are drawn to the blooms. And in search of the liquid gold they produce come these men from Bihar. Armed with little more than the knowledge passed down generations, they harvest honey from the hives and turn saviour for many a troubled city dweller.
"We are a group of six but there are about 40 of us who come down to Chennai four to five times a year when it is honey season," says Ramchandra Mandal. The 40-year-old, along with his younger brother Bhunesar, 35, son-in-law Arjun, 25, and friend Rambabu, often does the rounds of the city, distributing their cards. "Whenever there is a bee hive to be removed, we are called," he says.
What’s more they do not charge for their services. "We give one kilo of honey to the owner of the campus or apartment complex and then sell the rest, usually to the people gathered there and make our money," says Mandal.
These men, who have been trained since their childhood to handle bees and hives, are not afraid of getting stung. All they use is dry coconut leaves, bucket, knife and a rope. "We use the rope to climb up the tree or apartment buildings," says Bhunesar.
It’s fascinating to watch the men at work. First, the dry leaves are used to smoke out the bees. After that, the men use their bare hands to "wipe" away the bees. With a clean stroke of the knife, the hive falls into the bucket positioned strategically below. The honeycombs are then squeezed and the honey filtered before being sold at Rs460 a kilo....Read more
Source web page: Times of india