The fence grows a little

After several days of drift, Babu decided to bring matters to a head. For March 30, he announced breakfast, lunch and tea on the house if the team worked all day. They began at 6am. I got there at 9.15am, having picked up Raju at Tambaram. Work was in full swing. We had tea and lunch under trees in the nearby grove, chatting away. A few posts were transported on Babu’s diesel Royal Enfield Bullet.[Sendhil is riding pillion holding the post] Kadhirvelu, the grizzled elder was a role model for the rest, with his diligence. By 5pm we finished planting 71 posts! The total score was 257, encircling 15 acres.

Then I remembered a missing post at the north eastern corner. This point is often deemed the auspicious one in a plot, the Saturn’s Corner. All tasks are commenced from here. This spot was wild and overgrown with thorns and bushes, whe we began. One post was needed to be planted there. We got busy digging a hole. The Bullet fetched a post and it was planted. We were done.

As we were leaving we spotted a snake slither away from us towards a casuarina grove to the north. The team shrieked in horror. Sendhil, in full fright, called out to his mates to ‘come, let’s kill it’. I reined them in and becalmed them. I pointed out that if the snake’s intent was to attack us, it would not be running away from us. They held back with great reluctance. Just then we spotted a second one, nearer to where I was standing, a little away from the rest, towards the snake. This is had regular geometric marking along it 4′ length. Both snakes were the girth of my wrist.

The spotting of the second one alarmed me not so much because there were two now, but because none of us had noticed the second one in nearer distance as we stood watching the first. We were surprised. There was some menace in the air. My lecture on the usefulness of snakes stoppped mid-stream. But I stood my ground. I raised an arm above my head and rotated it like a windmill blade. Snake One, stopped crawling, raised its head, saw the motion and made a u-turn. The second followed the first into the casuarina grove. Everyone relaxed.

We walked away animatedly talking. Kadhirvelu the eldest slowly said, that it was auspicious to have noticed them at Saturn’s Corner on a Friday. In any case, we must not kill snakes on Fridays. I guessed, we might have disturbed its habitat close to where we dug for a post. Maybe there were baby snakes in a nearby pit. The mother snakes might have been agitated.

The pointReturn site is not totally uninhabited after all.

Postscript: Back in the city I called my wildlife filmmaker friend Shekar Dattatri and described the second snake I had seen quite well at close quarters. He made a guess but asked me to verify at a few sites. I did and uneasily concluded I had had a tryst with a Russell’s Viper, not the friendliest of that species.

2 thoughts on “The fence grows a little

  1. Dear Mr DV Sridharan

    I have a few doubts recurring in my mind. I think you have answers for it.

    I believe each human has Gandhism inside them. Gandhism comes as soon as we take our first breath, but gets its name only at primary school when our teachers talk about the man who lived for it “Gandhi”. It disappears when we start studying science. Latter, it appears when a fellow being is suffering, and disappears when situation is solved. It takes 35-65 years for Gandhism to be understood and to come out…. in its matured form. Finally, by the time we want to be Gandhi, the average Indian life expectancy expires. Gandhism dies without being utilised. I believe Gandhism is always there inside us from birth till death but it hardly comes out before we die.

    So, how to make Gandhism to be matured by the age 25, so that it can take its action from 26… peaks by 35… maintains its effect till 45 and sets example by itself till it dies is my question?

    Mr Sridharan, after 60 yrs of Independence, Gandhism lives only in the symbolic form; people would have forgotten the basics of Gandhism.

    I believe the effort taken by you could set an example for adults, including me, to know what the principles of Gandhism means.

    I request you to talk more about Gandhism and its principles to School children as I believe “the efforts to see a change around you” can happen only when children are allowed to know what you mean to do. I hope you understood what I mean.

    Senthil Kumar Thiagarajan

  2. I have been enjoying this blog for the past 2 days making notes of the useful details you have provided. This blog and your experiences have certainly provided me (and iam sure many others) with a lot of useful information… Especially the earth blocks and the special pans, i was looking for similar information, though not for immediate use.

    And yes Sir, that was a Viper ! And you were lucky it was not that pissed off !

    Wish you all the very best in your endeavour !

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