The cell phone and bees? Whats the connection, you might ask.
If you already know the connection, you are welcome to waste your time somewhere else.
If you dont, like I didnt, then read on. My thanks in advance for reading this piece. And apologies to those who work for mobile phone companies, directly or indirectly. Nothing personal here.
Before we explore the connection, first a little backgrounder.
I discovered the connection between the cell phones and bees while watching a Bollywood film, My Name is Khan (MNIK).
I know that sounds weird but please dont laugh it off.
MNIK is a remarkable film (albeit with typical Bollywood songs) set in the US, kind of Indias Forrest Gumponly here the main character suffers from Aspergers syndrome. But like in Forrest Gump, this Karan Johar film focuses on an individual character, Rizwan Khan (played by Bollywood superstar Shahrukh Khan) who happens to be a broadminded Muslim. Rizwan, despite his deficiencies, is affable and is a great mechanic, who finds success and happiness in the land of opportunity, that is the US of A. Then 9/11 happens and his life goes topsy turvy just because he happens to have a Muslim name. The Holy Grail that Khan is after in this movie is a meeting with the US President. He wants to tell the President that though his name is Khan, he is not a terrorist.
That is the plot of the film.
But dude, where is the bee in the movie? Where is the cell phone? Good question.
No, I didnt lose the plot. Here buzzes in the bee. In one of the scenes of the film, Khan asks another character not to use her cell phone while jogging in a park. Horrified, she asks why. Because the cell phones signals (radiation) confuse the bees, they forget their way back to their beehives and they die. Then he says, Albert Einstein once said that if bees disappeared, man would have only four years of life left.
I was stunned to know this. Was Khan joking, trying to impress the girls? Thought that this was a lie, a scriptwriters poetic licence.
I came home and googled it. And lo and behold, there it was: Are mobile phones wiping out our bees?
The storys standfirst was: Scientists claim radiation from handsets are to blame for the mysterious 'colony collapse' of bees.
I read the report by Geoffrey Lean and Harriet Shawcross in The Independent, dated 15 April 2007 (possibly Shibani Bathija, the films writer, had read this article too). The facts given in the report startled me. I quote some facts from the report here:
Sign up for CIO Asia eNewsletters.