July 5, 2006It could be the most spirited interspecies escape since The Rescuers. But unlike the 1977 Disney movie, this situation is anything but fun.
Photographed Friday in the northern Indian city of Lucknow (India map), a mouse perches on a frog in waist-deep (for a frog, anyway) floodwatersa small sign of the early arrival of annual summer monsoon rains.
So far, more than 30 people have died in India as a result of this year's monsoon-driven landslides and floods. Last year's deluge killed some 1,000 people in the financial center of Mumbai (Bombay) alone. Today polluted, knee-deep waters are raising fears of a repeat disaster among the city's roughly 17 million inhabitants.
In drought-stricken areas, too, frogs were playing the role of rescuer.
According to the Indo-Asian News Service, some rural Indians are holding frog weddings in the hopes that the amphibians' bliss will inspire farm-saving storms. After marking the bride and groom with vermillion and turmerictraditional adornments in human Hindu nuptialsvillagers take the supposedly happy couple to a nearby pond to honeymoon.
"If we get the frogs wedded, the Varuna, the god of the oceans, will bless us with rains," Beni Prasad, a farmer in the village of Khapa, told the news service on Sunday.
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