My Husband and Other Animals

front cover

Paperback. 296 pages. Publisher: Westland. 2012.

Rom felt that all the trappings of the human world interfered with his ability to find king cobras. So he discarded his watch and shoes, and stripped down to a loincloth. Not the best attire for his first brush with the devil nettle!

What’s it like being married to Rom Whitaker herpetologist, wildlife conservationist, and founder of the Madras Snake Park and Madras Crocodile Bank? Janaki Lenin, his wife, tells us, There’s never a dull moment.

In this compilation of stories, Janaki also an animal enthusiast gives us a peek into the zany and unpredictable world that Rom and she have built together, deep in southern India. They battle tree frogs that insist on colonising their house, travel to the wilds of the world pursuing venomous snakes and monster crocodiles, devote precious hours to befriending Gila monsters, playing with porcupines, and taming opinionated shrews.

Entertaining, playful, and downright amusing, the essays shed light on the kingdoms of beasts and plants. They provide flashes of insight into animal disposition relate human stories about the world and our place in it, and demystify natures secret code. Most of all, they highlight Rom and Janakis wide-eyed wonder at sharing this diverse planet with all creatures, large and small.

Buy on, or Flipkart or any online bookstore.

What others are saying about the book –

Rahul Dravid, Indian cricketer —

“A thoroughly entertaining set of essays on life in the wild! With nuggets of information on all creatures – from massive bears to invisible parasites – and countless anecdotes, each more uproarious than the next – My Husband and Other Animals is unputdownable!”

Gopalkrishna Gandhi, former Governor and author —

“The legendary M. Krishnan set a near-impossible standard for nature and wild life columnists. Janaki Lenin has got there with effortless ease and the added appeal of a very feminine sensibility tromping both barefoot and in the most rugged footwear.”

George Schaller, wildlife biologist, Wildlife Conservation Society, New York —

“With insight, verve, and deep feeling, Janaki Lenin writes about the creatures around her, from tree frogs and snakes to her dog and husband.  Her essays are a delight to read.”

Timeri N. Murari, author of The Taliban Cricket Club

“I’m an ardent follower of the wildlife encounters – some threatening, some hilarious, some heartbreaking – of Janaki and Rom in jungles in India and around the world and read her weekly column with some envy, wishing I was with them.”

Stephen Alter, author of In the Jungles of the Night: A Novel about Jim Corbett and Dalliance of Leopards —

“Janaki Lenin explores the familiar and unfamiliar aspects of nature with a knowledgeable sense of humour and a sharp eye for detail.  Her columns in The Hindu follow the tradition of Gerald Durrell but also wander off the beaten track, blending personal and scientific observations on India’s diverse ecology and natural heritage.”

Pradip Krishen, author of Trees of Delhi and Trees of Central India —

“Janaki Lenin has honed a rare talent to be both engagingly accessible and scientifically authoritative. She is fast becoming our homegrown David Quammen.”

Mark Tully, author of Non-stop India —

“Great stories of the ups and downs, the pleasures and the perils, of living on the edge of the jungle.”


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