If you suffer from melissophobia, or the fear of bees, this video is definitely not for you. It shows professional honey collector Suk Mahammad Dalal tapping a massive nest of bees without any protective gear. Incredibly, he then stuffs handfuls of the insects inside his vest to keep them out of the way while he collects their precious honey. Dalal, 31, who has been collecting honey for the last 15 years, says he has become immune to bee stings. He doesn’t feel the pain, though the stings sometime leave behind minor swellings around the lips. “I just need a hot cup of tea to recover from them,” he says. Dalal used to work as an assistant to a doctor, who practised Indian system of medicine, in Kolkata. Fed up with his poorly paid job, he noticed that the doctor was using copious amounts of honey in the medicines, he prepared. “From my childhood I was good at climbing trees. I had seen beehives hanging from the trees in my village, Chingeni in Bankura. So, I went back home to become a bee collector,” says Dalal. The initial days were scary as the stings hurt and left behind swollen limbs. “I was once bitten by over 300 bees and became unconscious. I was tempted to return to Kolkata for my earlier job,” he says. But he persisted and slowly the pain disappeared and the limbs stopped swelling. Dalal says while he likes to get playful with the bees, he takes care to not to hurt them.
(c) Arshad Ali