Saturday, September 21, 2013

Python Under My Grapefruit Tree

The Python under My Grapefruit Tree. (published in Story Circle Network June 2009) It was the summer of 1942 at Jiribam district in Manipur state of North Eastern India when one of the villagers came to inform my father that some men killed and brought a big snake. My father went out to see; then he called us to come out, so my mother, grandmother and I joined the crowd. There lay a creature as if in deep slumber. I, seven year old and scared, stood behind my father looking at it, unable to believe my eyes. I was told that it was a python. It had smooth skin with a brown blotchy pattern. Seven or eight people were standing in a circle. One of the villagers was complaining that he’d lost his goat. He was going to the sugarcane field that crossed the stream bordering the field and backyards of the government quarters. When he saw this big snake he called his friend for help. They decided to contact the police department . Police came and shot it. Herpetologist refer two types of python found in India: rock python, found in all parts of India, and regal python usually found in North Eastern India and Nicobar Islands. Pythons are believed to live in cool, shaded areas near rivulets, coming out only at night to hunt for their pry. I remember it was long, may be, about seven feet, I am not sure which type of python it was. After it was shot, three men from the rivulet pulled out the majestic snake, and laid it undr the shade of my grapefruit tree. As a child the image of the gigantic python remained with me as a scary one. As I grew older, I felt sorry for this beautiful snake with dark brown blotches and smooth skin, a creature that God had created with meticulous hand. It met a terrible tragedy by losing its life because it was hungry and swallowed somebody’s goat. But I was glad it could rest under the shade of my favorite grapefruit and hoped the tree gave peace to its soul.

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