My friend Kavitha had two sons, Raju and Premu.(All names changed.)
Raju was getting into so many “situations” as a boy, that Kavitha wonders how he grew up to manhood, without getting maimed or killed, by all his atrocious activities.
One incident which still gives her the jitters is the one concerning snakes.
When Raju was in the sixth standard, Kavitha’s family had gone to stay at an estate of a relative in Kodai, for the summer vacation.
The relative had warned them that they might spot a snake or two in the garden and the gardener would deal with them and asked the boys to keep away from all things creepy and crawly in the estate
Now Raju’s interest was kindled and his greatest desire was to spot a snake. His wish was granted soon enough, when he saw a snake albeit a very small one. The gardener was summoned and he immediately hit the snake with a stout stick saying it was a poisonous one.
The snake appeared dead. The gardener went to gather some twigs to make a fire and burn the presumably dead snake.
Kavitha who had gone into the house, heard loud screams from the watchman and other staff in the estate,
” Thambeeee!! Put that down.”
“Throw it away. Throw it away.”
“Don’t do thaaaattt!!”
Rushing out, she saw her eldest son, holding the still snake by its tail and twirling it round and round high above his head and laughing like a killer with his spoils.
Kavitha says that her heart stopped beating for a second or two on beholding such a sight.
The gardener rushed out and made him throw the snake on the ground.
“It might not be dead. Never pick up a snake like that, even if you think it is really gone.”
Sure enough, when the gardener attempted to burn its body, the snake came to life and rushed hissing viciously out of the fire. It was beaten to death one more time and burnt till it turned black.
On coming back to Chennai after the holidays, Kavitha opened her son’s suitcase to put away his clothes.
There, on top of all his clothes was a plastic bag containing a souvenir from his estate holiday
It was the remains of the DEAD snake.
P.S: Kavitha’s mother was a woman steeped in religious beliefs and tradition. She asked Kavitha to offer milk at the snake hill in their temple to atone for her son handling a snake.
Much to Kavitha’s surprise, Raju accompanied her to the temple and went through the ceremonies diligently.
Later she heard him boasting to his class-mate on the phone.
“I went with mummy, to save her if a snake came out of the hill”
Image by OpenClipart-Vectors from Pixabay