Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Letter from a dead snake

Dear Saloni,

You saw how your neighbours barged into your house raining batons on me. I was helpless before them. I had no clue to understand why was that six fit tall man was hitting on my frail back so cruelly. And others were chucking sticks heavy on my hood

I am no longer alive. I have turned into a soul that every mortal turns into after its death. Still, I am pondering about the sin I committed to suffer such a catastrophic assault that ended my life at your home that day.

As you watched, I had coiled myself beneath an empty cooking gas cylinder, lying in an isolated corner near your kitchen and was silently consuming a rodent. That rodent in my jaws’ pincer grip was creaking feebly while I was chewing it and trying to gulp it down to fill my hungry belly. After all, rodents are our food. And being a krait, I am fond of rodents, frogs and lizards.

While moving out in search of rodents, lizards and frogs in the dark corners of your home, the other day, I discovered that you too were scared of lizards, frogs and rodents. I heard you screaming loudly at the sight of a lizard in your reading room. You got back to normal only after your mom chased the reptile away. I noticed that you were scared of rodents and frogs too.

Your mom first heard the rodent between my jaws creaking and then peered through the hole at the bottom of the cylinder to find me quietly feasting on it. Soon, her face turned red and she jumped commanding you get on to your bed. Then she ran out on the streets crying madly as if your home was under attack of your ferocious enemies.

Scared, you stayed confined to your bed till your baton holding neighbours came in, killed me and scooped me out of your home. You were stone faced. You showed no mercy to me despite the fact that I was getting killed while eating the rodent that scared you. Do you remember me ever scaring you? Ever biting you?

I am sorry to tell you that you have relatives and friends who habitually reel of false tales about us. A krait, I do have poison in my fangs. But the false story tellers have poisoned your mind more than me. Do you know anyone around you dying of my bite? You don’t have. But think on the stories fed to you about me.

You have learnt how venomous I am and how you should keep yourself safe from my invasion. These false and fabricated stories have made you believe that I am your biggest enemy. You abhor me.

I am telling you my true story. You can verify it from your grandma. Even otherwise, I can not tell a lie for few living beings other than the human beings possess the skill to tell lies.

Your dynasty worships 13 gods and goddesses. I am one of your family gods. Your forefathers worshiped me. Your grandma still worships me. Your ancestors offered me food on an auspicious day of the year.

I am enlightening you on your great grandfather whom you have not seen.

You were born and brought up at Patna, capital of Indian state of Bihar. You live in the city with your parents and friends. Your grandpa lived with your great grandma and your grandfather in a village, far away from Patna in the same state. The state has hot and humid climatic condition.

Your great grandpa's village had only farmers, farm lands, trees, bushes and ponds. The village had no road and no buses, trucks and taxis to ply on. Your great grandpa wore wood sandals. He used to sleep on a charpoy in an open field adjacent to a big pool. There was a dense labyrinth of bushes made up of turmeric, flowers, thorns and several other green plants around the place he slept under the canopy of the heaven.

Many others of our race and I lived in the bushes fed by the dampness of the pond. The place was also rich with squirrels, frogs and rodents. We are primarily a nocturnal creature. After your great grandpa falling asleep, we roamed around eating rodents and frogs of our taste in hush and dark hours.

Your grandpa used to get up and go to urinate while holding a sick in one hand and a lighted torch in another. We silently got out of his way to the pool’s bank to attend the nature’s call. He too changed his way if he happened the encounter us. His stick was his permanent companion. But he seldom used it to hit us.

Your grandma, great grandma and several other women decorated their homes’ walls with our sketches and offered us milk and popcorn once in a year. You can verify this story even with your dad. He lived in the village when he was of your age.

This is not to tell you that your dynasty and we always lived at peace with each other. We did hurt each other at times. But it was more due to accident rather than the design. One of us dug its fangs in a man’s feet after it found itself crushed under his hobnailed shoes. The man died of the snake’s bite. But the snake which had got its back broken too died.

But such incidents took place very rarely. Your race possesses precautionary skills, defense mechanism and better protection gears which we lack in. Believe me; I am always scared of meeting you. I flee whenever I see you. I am more scared of you than you are scared of me. I am more vulnerable to you and you are to me.

You are still a kid. I have tried to tell you my true story. I will never enter your home for I am no longer alive. But I hope my story will help you grow as a woman of better understanding than the false story tellers and the cruel ones who murdered me before you.

I have a small suggestion to give you. Your race has many snake charmers who catch and confine us in their baskets. They display us door to door to earn their living. In the process, they pester us and cause us immense sufferings. You should not pay them and suggest them to opt for another vocation which does not involve hunting the snakes and making them live a taxing life.

Lastly, if you can not love us please don’t hate us. Don’t get scared of us. Your panic may eventually lead us to death. We too are the part of the nature and have right to live. I hope you will respect and protect our right.

Yours truly,

Dead Snake

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