Ants in a Cosmic Universe

The children peered into the list of ideas I had for my blog while on the whirlwind trip to the other side of the world. Predictably, some of my better ideas drew a smirk from the teenager. When pried she rattled her laugh and said, “Maybe add an article or two on lame titles? Really! What is all this with the Ants and the Cosmic Universe? Who writes stuff like that?”

“I do!” I said. “I was pretty happy that morning when I got up early and went a-walking through the woods by the resort. There were jackfruit trees, pepper wines and uh, many other trees.”

I threw my mind back happily to that early morning saunter in the Western Ghats. How beautifully the little creatures had turned my haughty look skywards to ground wards and then back again? The saunter of humility it turned out to be.


The best part of the walk was the fauna that was up with the sun ready to greet a new day. There I was sleepy still, but happy that I had not wasted this glorious morning in bed. I had to do a double take when I saw dry leaves croaking and leaping about. Was I dreaming that I was up and walking while snuggling up cozily in bed? It has happened before. (When one wakes up and finds that that early morning jog by the lake never actually happened except in one’s dreams, it is disappointing.) It turns out these were clever frogs who had mastered the art of camouflage. They were the ones who attracted my attention ground-ward.

Till then, my spirits and outlook were sky bound – admiring the suns rays filtering through the tree tops, looking for butterflies, and the clouds flitting lazily. The clouds had opened up a few minutes earlier, drenched the hills, and then having done their job, decided to flit and laze for a while.

The teeming life on a tropical forest floor is endlessly entertaining. The temperatures were not too high yet, and many creatures had decided to get their spot of exercise, fresh air and Vitamin D before it became too much Vit D. The ants were bustling. Really, if ever we need motivation on a dull day, look no further than the role ants play in this cosmic universe.

They bustle, they plan, execute and deliver, they seem goal-oriented even when walking off with your bread crumb two hundred times their own weight from under your nose. Hundreds of them, in apparent harmony, with a shared vision of some kind, and an indomitable spirit.

This remarkable combination of spirited vision and lack of personal ambition is a balm to souls who mire themselves in the human world. Humans value competition as the means to make us better, but in the grand scale of the cosmic universe, wasn’t shared vision a loftier goal? I suppose Leaders try to cry themselves hoarse with speeches dripping with this sort of guff, but their own personal ambition thwarts the message somehow.

Everyone must spend a day every now and then in the forest re-aligning our spirits, and learning a thing or two from every single organism.

I said something like this to the children, only not as coherently and got another eye-roll as a response. I tried another angle.

Star Trails of the Milky Way Galaxy

Imagine these ants come out at night, and probably admire the stars. The beautiful canopy that changes. That was us isn’t it? Even as recently as a few hundred years ago, even while territorial battles were being fought, we admired the changing skies and built myths around it. “The myths you guys seem to enjoy so much!” I said.

“Remember, I came back from the walk and pulled all you children out for a walk through the woods? To see the beautiful forest in its glory?”

“Yes! We remember! There were no cosmic universes – just Appa giving his flora and fauna tour. He didn’t even know the names, just making up some stuff, and pointing to the dry leaves and saying – Imagine these as frogs.”

“Well, by the time you guys came, the frogs had gone back into their burrows or wherever? I don’t know – where do frogs live? ” Soon, we were discussing the abodes of frogs and I told them, “But you saw so many more butterflies!”

“So, Butterflies in a Cosmic Universe?”

“Or, moths in a cosmic universe more like. The butterflies go to bed. Where do you think butterflies live? Their cocoons must long be gone.”

I decided to let things rest. We are in a Cosmic Universe. We must live and let live and you know, share.

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