Thursday, March 1, 2007


Finally a snake sighting, though I didn’t see it myself.
I was about to set off on my evening jaunt around the university campus when I heard these cries of alarm coming from the garden below my apartment window. I looked down and saw three men milling around one of the flower beds. I knew right away what was going on, grabbed my camera, and hurried on down.

Snakes are everywhere, but it's not often we catch sight of one. Sensibly, snakes prefer to go under cover, away from human and other predatory gaze. Human snake predation is primarily premised on fear, isn’t it? Most of us are convinced that the snake we’re looking at is deadly—just in case. It’s called “playing safe.” I mean, you never know, right?

But I’ve never been attacked by a snake. Have you? I saw a few when I lived for two years in Nigeria, West Africa, and gave them a wide berth. I've seen snakes in England and America, too. They scare the heck out of me; but that's because I'm ignorant.

Fortunately, the snake the men sighted in the garden of the guest house got away. I hate to kill anything—except mosquitoes. I enjoy killing mosquitoes. I hunt them down. I have a whole arsenal of weapons handy at all times. Any mosquito that strays into my apartment is soon toast. But I carefully step around or over most anything else, just as I stepped around this mother and her puppies while out walking yesterday. Don't you just love how that one little guy's guzzling away!

Incidentally—and surprisingly—I can’t remember ever in India being bothered by flies. Why is this? The climate is hot and dry; maybe that helps. Maybe, too, the free rein given to cows and dogs and bullocks and goats makes them bait for the flies, better grazing ground than me. All I know is that I can’t recall ever seeing a fly in my apartment. I’ve been caught in the flight path of one or two on my daily evening walks, but I’ve never been plagued by them, not by any means.

I wonder what it would be like if I were here during the monsoon.....

During my walk today I was glad I had my camera with me. I usually do, because when I don't I invariably see something priceless that I wished I could snap for the ages. Tomorrow I'll tell you all about the games people play around here. Stay tuned :)

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