Buzz, learn and lead, Chapter 1

A story in four chapters presenting the potential for a fast-forward in evolution through a guided tour.

Chapter 1

I want a Change

You will agree with me that I am in a rather serious kind of predicament. Yesterday I was in my own cell in our hive, eating honey, pollen and my special larval food of royal jelly secretion loyally administered by some of our worker bees. I am no longer in the larval stage, but mother has been insisting on continuing larval rations for me for a few more days. Today I am out in the wide world like any worker bee, not having either the equipment or any training in collecting nectar on my own. I have also learnt that I certainly do not have a home to return to.

I was exactly like my queen-sisters at birth, as I came out of my egg with my long body expected to become longer and larger because of special feeding. This would have continued uninterrupted ceremoniously till the day I would feel like mating any one or more of the silly looking drones in the hive. In any case they looked silly to me! Something must have gone wrong when I came out of my egg last of all in that hatch- event some three weeks ago, making me more rebellious and more questioning. Every morning when the forager gang stepped out to collect nectar, I would look at my mother as if to ask whether I could go too and she would somehow know my unspoken yearning and freeze me into inaction. For conveying my desire, every time I had to get into the range of her lateral vision and set up a whirring dance, and promptly get away looking at the gleam of anger in the eye that was close to me.

This had been going on day after day for the past twenty days and I had been eating much less than my permitted rations, hoping to stay slim enough to go out whenever I was permitted. No such luck was coming my way, however, and this morning I decided that enough was enough. I just flew out of the hive when the workers came out. They paid no attention to me but flew in a beautiful expanding spiral path to this lovely valley so full of flowers in dazzling colours and captivating scents. I followed with great care. The workers dispersed to different flowers to do their nectar gathering. All except one, that is. She buzzed and kept in slow motion close to me and found that I was lost in admiration of the floral splendour before me without choosing any one kind of flower to work on.

I could see a friendly question hovering in the halo around her head. Silently she changed course and proceeded in a different direction and I knew I had to follow her. Her path was once again in near circular spirals taking us out of the valley on to a human habitation. There were some clean looking cottages and a snow clad mountain loomed in the distance. The rock-faces close by were lush with both conifers and leafy trees and the top of the distant snowy peaks gleamed partly golden in the morning sun.

My good companion entered one of the cottages as if fully aware of its identity and settled on the matted locks of a silent man seated in deep meditation. I felt like joining her and did so and immediately knew that I could now communicate all my thoughts with the worker. So could she and it was she who started talking to me silently without using any of the few signals of dance language which had been our limited means of communication so far. It also appeared that the totally silent human below us was furnishing us with a lot of information without our asking him, enabling the two of us to carry on our silent communication. Several thoughts whose form and structure would have been quite alien to our limited vocabulary now seemed to flow with great facility into and out of our minds.

My pal told me, “Sister, I know that you do not care to become a queen bee. But you are physically equipped to become only that, alas! You do not have my kind of working tools, such as pollen baskets or wax-secreting glands, not to mention a well-developed honey sac. You cannot collect nectar even if I teach you how. Of course I can collect for the two of us and we can stay here at least till I die and my master here will not mind our resting on his head and enabling us meanwhile to learn as much as he must have decided we ought to know about several things.

I asked her innocently, “Why? Can we not go back to our hive?”, and she seemed to shake from one side to the other to indicate a full-fledged No. She then said, “No, indeed. You have deviated from hive-discipline and will not be admitted back into the hive. I have come away from the gang and will find it difficult to get back into my signal movements and communication dance routines without the right smells about me. In any case I have decided to stick with you till I die. The hive will not miss us, however. Your mother has been laying eggs regularly and when they hatch there will be a good number of foragers like me and enough number of princesses like you with royal qualities. But tell me, you had all the luck and had been born a princess. Why did you run away from an easy life?”

I said, “Do we really understand why some of us behave differently from the routine crowd? What about you? You should also have ignored me and gone after your flowers, should you not? Alright, I do not think we should go back on our progress and worry. Tell me, how did you get to know this sage? He must be a great man indeed, if simply by sitting on his hair we are able to think clearly and talk to each other through our minds.”

Before my friend could answer, I got the answer from the sage himself, once again by mind to mind transport. He was talking to both of us simultaneously, it appeared from his words. “My children, neither of you had anything to do with your having arrived here. I brought you both to sit on my head. I like a bee or two in my bonnet, I do.” He seemed to laugh and he continued, “Through you, princess, and you, my labouring friend, I want to create in this Badari forest up in the Himalayas, a highly evolved strain of bees, not merely by the nature and strength of your genes, but by giving you a visual education in evolution of life in different forms. You will watch with my help and learn how some extraordinary qualities with the stamp of real greatness have evolved in different forms of life.”

The worker asked him and I heard it in my mind, “Sir, I agree that we are really lucky to have been found by you and hope we can prove worthy of your trust in us. But, as you will surely know, by the time you finish teaching us, I could very well die and princess here could also get fairly close to old age. Of course you know that we worker bees last just some five to six weeks if we are born in Spring, as is the case with me, though if we are born in cooler months , we could last four to six months. This girl here is longer lived if she gets to be fed suitably, but typically a queen bee can last only a couple of years or three at the most, you see.”

She paused a while and continued, “Sir, do you mean to imply that we bees do not have great qualities? Or, are you going to tell us that great attributes of some other species will help us better through our lives, which I suppose you are planning to extend to an extent through your powers?”

The reply was felt in our minds with the soothing effect of a balm and I wondered whether the face below me was lit with a compassionate smile even though the sage was still deeply in meditation. I knew I could never even begin to comprehend his special faculties which enabled him to keep his eyes closed and his mind in meditation while also engaging in a thoughtful conversation with both of us.

He said, “I see that you have asked for clarifications on three different issues. First let me assure you that your life expectancy is irrelevant. You will not even need any nourishment till you finish learning with me and we can think about your future when you are ready to be launched into it. Second, like every other living species, you bees have also fine-tuned your characteristics over millions of years and some of your qualities are outstanding and serve your communities very well indeed. It is the occasional rebel in any community that sees a flaw in a highly evolved system and when that happens he needs to learn if he can, or to rise to a level from which he can teach, knowing that he may fail in either objective. The answer to your third query will be obtained by you yourselves at the end of the ‘learning’ process. In this process, till the rebel and the group get together into equilibrium, there is always scope for the rebel to look at a few alternate models, some of which may enter into his calculations fully or in part towards newer ways, or help him to slide back into his older routines with a wiser head.”

There was a meaningful pause before he continued, “I told you that I brought you both to my side and that I hope to create a new bee strain by mere addition of knowledge. My aim may have been much simpler. In the course of my meditation, the high level of traumatic vibrations that I felt emanating from the young princess may have helped steer the pair of you to me so that some solution has the chance to emerge. Or destiny may have a grander scheme. The educational tour we are about to take may bring about a general awareness, of what prompts living beings to take quantum leaps to greatness, not only in you but in a few other forms of life which we are bound to learn about in due course. Relax and go to sleep now.”

-to be continued

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