The bees begin migrating from the nearby countryside as early as late January. Their honey appears along with the tight white clusters of blossoms that frost the tips of the khalsi trees. For the subsequent three months, the bees build their nests, dangling from the branches like inverted cockscombs and cloaked in thousands of defensive bees, each just under an inch long. On our first afternoon together, Nurul Islam told me that he had once inadvertently upset a hive with the smoke rising from his cooking fire. The swarm descended and stung him sixty times. “The whole of my body was swollen,” he said, “I had a high fever for three days.”
If you think your job is tough, you don’t have anything on this group of Muslim men who collect honey. If the excerpt above doesn’t scare you, the men must also watch out for tigers.