Maurice Udumbe

In my university, Amrita Vishwa Vidyapeetham, you can take two roads to go from main block to the IT block. Like most people you can walk along the tarred road that takes you through the MBA block towards the IT block. Or you can take the narrow muddy road that goes in front of the ashram. This road is just wide enough for a jeep to pass through. Its a scenic route with trees, birds and of course snakes. And here is where I found Maurice Udumbe. Well, at least thats what I call him.
Waiting for Mommy
There is a huge sandhill just beside the road, and I found him, sitting very inconspicuously in a tiny hole. Initially I thought he was a snake, but when I started zooming in, I began to realize that this is a monitor lizard. Monitor lizards are also called “Udumbu” in Tamil and Malayalam. Hence the name Maurice Udumbe(Ind v Ken, Coca Cola Triseries, 28 May 1998, the only time when Kenya beat India with Man of the match – Maurice Udumbe, hitting 5 sixes that day).

In Maharashtra, they are called ghorpad. If you were studying in a CBSE school, you might have probably had a lesson about the great Maratha king Sivaji (not Rajnikanth) and the battle of Singhagad. Legend has it that Sivaji’s general Tanaji used a giant monitor lizard to scale the steep walls of the fort.

It seems that little Maurice here has a long way to go before he can do something like that. When he turns mature, he will lose his dull orange color and become black. That does not mean that Maurice will start doing drugs and listen to hip hop and gangsta rap, I was just saying that his color and scales become darker and becomes a shade of black and grey.
These lizards are very solitary and they are not spotted much. The local people believe that eating the meat of monitor lizards gives them strength and stamina. They are also hunted for their skin. I hope Maurice does not end up as a health food. In this photograph, he looks like Bob Marley singing “Don’t worry about a thing. Cause every little thing is gonna be allright” Lets hope it does, for all endangered species.



  1. Dear Professor Shiv,


    — Mourice Udumb.

  2. stuntmanshiv said

    Aaadu udumbe
    Unam teedu udumbeeee
    (…violent guitar solo….)
    taana tinam taana tindiyum taaro
    takata tinam taka tindiyum taaro

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