By Vibou Ganguly
Kohima (Nagaland), June 29 : Catching a grasshopper is something many children enjoy for the thrill it involves. But in the State capital of Nagaland, Kohima, several people of all age have occupied themselves, especially at night, to collect grasshoppers in bags and bottles. eople in Kohima are observing the unusual phenomena here these days, as a huge number of grasshoppers have invaded the city. These grasshoppers are spread in different parts of the town, especially visible where the high mast streetlights are present.
The insect gathering becomes all the more interesting as after clipping their wings and legs, the insects are fried and savored as a special Naga delicacy.
Children collect grasshoppers under the high mast streetlights, as the insects are found in plenty around them, attracted by the halogen light.
Catching a grasshopper delights the kids, as they can also sell them in their neighbourhood. Some even run a roadside stall serving these as snacks.
Meanwhile, several connotations are being made about the meaning of arrival of grasshoppers here.
While some compare it to the signs of end times in the Bible in Exodus, many others view it as an imminent famine is lurking, like Mizoram in the neighborhood that was in the news for Mautam, a phenomena of population explosion of rats that takes place every 49 years.
According to the local residents, the invasion of grasshoppers in hordes is a strange phenomenon while some see it as a sign of imminent famine.
"These grasshoppers are taken as a delicacy in our Naga cuisine. This phenomenal incident has taken place after such a long time. Others are taking it as a famine or drought which is imminent if these insects are spotted in the place," said Asale, a resident.
But some elderly people of the town observe that the insects look different from what they used to be. The legs, wings and body parts are longer than the usual grasshoppers.
On an average, the size of a grasshopper is four-and-a-half inches long and the wings measure more than an inch.
"Because of high mast lights, I feel it is not a precursor to famine. I believe it is just a trend. In a way, to think over it, if so many grasshoppers would have gone to the fields or jungles, it would have been a threat. But fortunately these are concentrated in towns, so people are catching these as much at night. The energy spent is worth it, as it can be cooked and taken. So we need not fear it, it may be good." said Medovizo, an elderly resident of Kohima.
Interestingly, the grasshoppers are scattered in different parts of the town except the jungles and the forest.
But after a detailed study of these grasshoppers, the Department of Agriculture has dispelled the fears of famine and other oddities.