It’s Winnie the Pooh’s favourite treat, it’s sweet and sticky, and it’s all produced by an industrious and intelligent insect, the honey bee. Yes, it’s the honey! Bees and man have had a close relationship ever since the beginning of human civilization and honey collection is one of the oldest professions. While due to modernization, people are choosing more comfortable career options, the tribal villages of Sundarbans still practice honey collection to make a living. I was lucky enough to become a part of one such adventure during my last visit to Sundarbans National Park.
It takes some mettle to wander into the dense forests of Sundarbans, which are popular for harbouring the Royal Bengal Tigers. A scout informs us of a hive he spotted not too deep in the jungle and we’re off.
The honey the men are after is guarded by some of largest and most aggressive bees in the world. I don’t know what I am more nervous about. The fact that we’re looking anxiously for the Tigers or the fact that we’re going to disturb a bunch of bees who don’t like being disturbed, wearing not exactly modern safety gear. With a piece of cloth wrapped around our faces, we look like robbers preparing for a heist, and a heist it is.