Wildbuzz | My star, my daddy and love is rose red | punjab$regional-takes | Hindustan Times
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Wildbuzz | My star, my daddy and love is rose red

What do you tell a little girl of five when she tugs at your hand and her eyes implore with the question: Where has daddy gone? That girl is Humaira and her late father was Aikom Singh Dhillon. The prime suspect in the March 18-19 murder of Aikom is Humaira’s mother, Seerat Kaur. Humaira’s uncle, Darshan Singh, and his friends consoled Humaira with the idea that daddy had turned into an angel.

punjab Updated: Apr 23, 2017 12:22 IST
Vikram Jit Singh
Paintings of ‘The Starry Night’ by students of Strawberry Fields High School, Chandigarh.
Paintings of ‘The Starry Night’ by students of Strawberry Fields High School, Chandigarh. (PHOTO: MUNISH JAUHAR)

MY STAR, MY DADDY 

What do you tell a little girl of five when she tugs at your hand and her eyes implore with the question: Where has daddy gone? That girl is Humaira and her late father was Aikom Singh Dhillon. The prime suspect in the March 18-19 murder of Aikom is Humaira’s mother, Seerat Kaur. Humaira’s uncle, Darshan Singh, and his friends consoled Humaira with the idea that daddy had turned into an angel. But she had seen in some movie that the dead turned into stars and paid a daily visit to their loved ones as night fell. So, Humaira turned to her doting grandfather, Jaspal Singh Dhillon, and asked: Which star in the sky was daddy?

“I told her the brightest star was her father. As evening falls and stars appear, Humaira will go out and say ‘Hello papa’. She will also say goodnight to papa star. A few months before his death, Aikom had told Humaira and her brother Gurniwas (11) that he will always be with them. So, whenever we are driving and she sees the bright star, she will turn around and say: ‘What papa said is true; he is always with us’,’’ Humaira’s grandfather told this writer.

The tragedy that has befallen these children cannot even be imagined. But Dhillon is thankful that Humaira’s Vivek High School is most sensitive and counselled her class and teachers to minimise the impact in an environment surcharged with media reports. In fact, Gurniwas was carrying a pet labrador puppy in his lap in the car and asked the domestic help to fetch a newspaper to avert the eventuality of the puppy soiling his clothes. Unfortunately, the newspaper fetched for the puppy by the illiterate domestic help screamed with the headline, “Seerat confesses to Aikom’s murder’’, and Gurniwas could not help but read it.

Stars are beacons of hope and consistency in an uncertain world and are not only solace for those riven by strife and loss. Children also rejoice in gazing at the twinkle of these celestial orbs, whose radiance takes many light years to reach their tender eyes. At the Strawberry Fields High School, a painting competition for Classes 7 and 8 resulted in startling imitations of one of the most famous works of western art, ‘The Starry Night’, by Vincent Van Gogh. In their colourful articulation, all these little Vincents were celebrating humanity’s timeless, mystical connect with the cosmos.

LOVE IS ROSE RED

Male Fan-­throated lizards display blue courtship colours while engaging in territorial combat. (PHOTO: DHIRAJ ZANVAR)

Most of us are frightened to death by the glaring red display of the Oriental garden lizard (kirla, girgit). Though one has not heard of any human bitten to death by this ‘bloodsucker’ lizard in the style of a cobra, a few humans may have perished due to a weak heart or fainted at the sight of it perched quaintly on a rose bush! To put all misgivings to rest, this ‘khoar kirla’ - as also all other lizard species of India - are not venomous to humans. Some kinder souls, who are not so virulently disposed towards these harmless creatures and do not besmirch them as bloodsuckers, may falter by believing the colours serve to camouflage. But even this is not true.

I asked the eminent expert on lizards, Varad Giri - in whose honour three species (Giri’s bronzeback snake, Giri’s day gecko, Giri’s geckoella) are named - to decode the colours of these demonised lizards. “The orange red colour is developed in only males and during breeding season. In some adult females, there is an orange tinge on the head but it is not prominent like that in adult males. Juvenile males never get breeding colours. These bright colours are for attracting females. Some species like Fan-throated lizards have a fan under their throat, which turns a bright blue colour in males during breeding season. Most agamid lizards have cryptic colouration through the year but during breeding season, males develop breeding colours and the primary function is mate choice,’’ said Giri.

A male Oriental garden lizard in red mating display. (PHOTO: ABHIJIT NAYAK)

Unlike agamid lizard species, chameleons change colour for crypticity (camouflage) as well as mate signalling. “Colour change in chameleons is a dynamic mechanism and is not governed by seasons like that in the Garden lizard,’’ explained Giri.

(vjswild1@gmail.com)