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Tuesday, 9 April 2013

my friendly neighbours

MY FRIENDLY NEIGHBOURHOOD  ( i have been very lucky with padosis the two legged ones but the ones I am about to tell you are the no legged ones)

   My father was a mines manager  and used to be posted in remote areas in the jungles of Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra.

We used to live in big sprawling Bungalows of the British Style which had huge sprawling compounds .This gave us the opportunity to  live very near Gods own creations I am not exagerating when I say that I had a deer,and peacocks as pets and also had two tiger cubs which we later gave to a zoo .
Anyway the friendly neighbours I am going to tell you about were SNAKES  
.anecdote 1.
This one I remember more than the other experiences of childhood.

 We were sitting in the verandah suddenly  something "different"   , fell on the floor from the thatched roof ---and slithered into the drawing  room a huge brown snake exactly the colour of this font ; the choukidar was summoned and we huddled up in one corner of the verandah , mute spectators to the chase going on inside the room . The snake first hid under the sofa then moved on to the dining room under the dining table making it difficult for the choukidar to hit it but as the excitement   grew it decided to  hide under the fridge --and thank God for that because we had 'refrigerators ' in those days which used to work with the help of kerosene oil lamps and this lamp proved hot enough for the reptile to get panicky  and rush out thus enabling the choukidar to kill it.

got married

Was preparing lunch;  hubby was in morning shift  would come home at 2.30 pm and there just outside the kitchen window was this snake looking intently at something, our eyes met --I wouldn't remove my eyes for fear of losing sight continued my cooking with my head turned at 180  was  only when my husbands car neared  the gate that it decided to go away .

After a few years we   shifted  to another sector  a  particularly snake   friendly area.

First thing on our priority list was to get   the whole house properly wiremeshed as baby snakes liked to play on our window sills.

this was when both my daughters were in their  teens and we  became  more of friends than mother and daughter.  Every first saturday of the  month the three of  us would go shopping . It was one such saturday  we returned at around  3 pm and as we entered the house  here was this  beauty  spralwed on the dining table,half hanging actually !!
imagine our horror- ugh !! we called our maids husband from the servant quarter  he was an expert at handling snakes  he swung it across the table so forcefully that it banged on the wall and then he  killed it . 
 We didnt use that dining table for about a week .

incident  b.

I was in the garden talking to the mali  
when a huge snake came in from somewhere  -startled  I jumped out of its path - it got distracted and instead of going straight it turned and entered our drawing room  and proceeded towards the bedroom --my elder daughter was in the bedroom I called out to her ,warning her about the reptile  she ran out of the room  came face to face with the snake -snake turned around and went towards the kitchen ---

  the maid was in the kitchen
  counting out the cutlery:
  back turned the snake
 and hid  in absolute hurry;


 anyway the maids hubby was called and a fiery battle ensued in which the victory naturally was our the HUMANS  We had killed the snake for none of its fault

but then that is gods way
either we die or they .

It was actually sad to see the  helpless  snake run helter skelter and also try to bare its fangs but "Paleshwar"  the servant was an expert.

that day the room was full of poisonous fumes which had emanated from the snakes body during the battle. It was a huge snake full 5 ft . and my daughter had a slight temporary numbness in the right leg which had almost touched the snake.

These were all mostly snakes of the 'dhaman ' variety which I suppose don't bite but lash you with their tail.

But in the new house that we later shifted to ; abided cobras and we had to be very alert.The garage used to be their favourite hiding place; in fact I used to plug whatever space there could be after putting down the garage- shutter at night .One morning as I removed that "long cloth -snake " which used to plug the space a small water snake which was hiding in it slithered up  my hands ugh!! I shiver even now .

there are many anecdotes but I will spare you the trouble of reading them all .

Though have you noticed never did any snake hurt any of the residents --in fact they mostly brought good luck .

Once I was witness to a romancing snake couple in my rose bed and my servant said   it will bring good luck --it did --my daughter got through her Premedical entrance exam and got admission in one of the leading medical colleges of the  state.

Paleshwar taught me how to differentiate between a poisonous snake and a non poisonous one  the poisonous ones are slim and very fast  they come and vanish .( all poisonous things I suppose are slim and fast)

I even learnt to hold snakes by the tip of their tail and throw them out of the garden.

we used to have snake skins strewn all over the garden and would look forward to a heavy downpour of money --but it never happened.

once when a particuar snake which used to reside in our garden shed its skin at  our neighbour's my daughter said

'kill the idiot rahta hamare ghar hai aur skin unke ghar mein dalta hai !!"

hahah lovely days we used to have --and you know as late as 2003  we used to have  monitor lizards every rainy season in my garden I  worried a lot suppose it got hold of any of the walls !!!   .We have had it. You all know about SHIVAJI  and his pet I am sure.

In fact it used to be quite a sight getting up in the morning and seeing  families of snakes  basking in the cool sunlight to go way as the sun got hotter.The best time to meet them used to be either early morning or between 3 and 5 pm.

The monitor lizards always visited us at around 8 am  after a particularly heavy rainy night.The first day when I saw them I thought they were baby crocodiles but then  there was neither a sea or a river near our house   -so it had to be a giant lizard a monitor?. In fact I saved  them from people who wanted to kill them and use their skin for 'dholaks" I told them  not from my garden at least .

.They could try their luck when the reptiles left my premises.Maneka Gandhi kindly notice

Like I told you in the beginning I used to plug all vacant space under doors and shutters at night--in addition to this my last chore of the day used to be sprinkling BLEACHING POWDER all around the house its smell repelled them --just like the smell of rajanigandha attracted them

I even tried putting garlic around the fence --I had remembered christopher lee THE PRINCE OF DARKNESS---but I suppose garlic drives away only human vampires..

oh !!yes !!! there was this particular variety of snakes which moved sideways .  fat ,thick and short ,grey in colour..

Any way inspite of the danger we used to love our surroundings and we used to call them our friendly neighbours.

In addition to these we had lovely birds visiting us ;a new flock with every change in season --and scores of parrots would sit on the maize plants I had in the  garden their colour the same as those of the leaves.   koels in summer would come visiting  the mango tree . .We could here them all right but getting to see them was difficult.  And of course round 4 pm the   doves  would come pecking in my garden.

Oh yes those MYNAHS!!! so many of them and guess what !! it was their shrill cry which used to warn us of a snake near about.

Those small birds  used to hover round the flowers even sit on the petals .and suck its nectar.

Talking of honeysuckels and flowers the beetles ""BHAWRAS" were not to  be left  behind  all of them so NADAN  hovering on the"phool ki  kalis"

Now in this concrete jungle those things are nostalgia.And we are  grateful that we have some nice padosis belonging to  the HUMAN SPECIES which is very very rare.

Ps---apart from snakes lizards ---e also used to have tiger,a nd leaopards as guests  resting in the huge compunds of our Bunglows 


  1. Very interesting.You have had such an adventurous life.All these encounters would be enough to scare anyone!
    But see,once again,animals are better than us because they do not attack unless their life is in danger.On the other hand we have sons killing fathers or mothers for money!

    1. Thanks a lot Indu ji
      yes I have had a very adventurous life--not only the wild animals but have even had transactions with dacoits etc ----but in those days even dacoits used be more civilised than the civilised today
      and now that I have remembered them would be writing about those incidents too

      thanks once again
      warm regards

  2. What a hair-raising post!I've had my own share of rendezvous with the dreaded reptiles but it doesn't even come close to your experiences. You can write a full-fledged trilogy.

    However, the best part of it all were the tales about Ikshadhaari shape-shifting cobras and their photographic memories of enemies!

    1. Umashankar ji

      Thanks for the comments ---do let us have a glimpse of your encounters with the reptiles in your inimitable style of writing. I am sure everyone would love to read about them

      and good wishes

  3. Interesting tales. Keep'em coming.

    1. Hi

      thanks for appreciating.

      welcome to my blogs


  4. Nice read . You should join Discovery or Natgeo Channel . LOL .

    Travel India

    1. Hahah Vishal

      thanks for the suggestion and thanks a lot for appreciating

  5. Replies
    1. Thanks a lot Tomichan Matheikal

      and good wishes

  6. very intrestin experiences you have had with snakes i must say...i had one as a kid a snake was sitting in our backyard with a swallowed frog or rat which was quite visible...

    1. Alka

      Wow That must have been some sight to see the snake and its prey ---would have sent shivers down my spine .

      thanks for the visit and the appreciation


  7. wow, Rajni! You had such a profusion of wildlife right at your backyard! I'm so jealous as I love Nature! Some 'fun' episodes related to snakes, and I'm so glad you didn't have all of them, especially the non-poisonous ones, killed!

    1. Thanks Roshni

      so glad to see you
      do keep visiting
      and am enjoying your A to Z series