Thursday, July 17, 2014

Upside down world

One of Chennai's wondrous sights is actually a pretty commonplace activity. If you stand on the Thiru-Vi-Ka bridge at dusk, you will be treated to a sight of bats - a few thousand of them - setting off on their nightly forage. Not many people see it, because it is peak hour for humans also, rushing across the bridge at the end of the workday. The bats, of course are just starting their 'day', and they fan out in all directions but east. 

More properly, they are the Indian Flying Foxes (Pteropus giganteus), also known as the Fruit Bat. Almost all of them come out of the grounds of the Theosophical Society, which is at the southern end of the bridge. Inside the grounds, the ficus, tamarind and other trees provide plenty of roosting space for these bats. They hang upside down, in large colonies and fill the air around the trees with their incessant chattering. 

So the next time you go walking inside the Theosophical Society's gardens, do not assume the sound you hear is of running water. Look up. Check out all those black patches on the trees. And of an evening, watch those black patches take flight. It is certainly a spectacular sight!

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