I dropped down to my waist as I realised, quite lately that it was a snake that I was about walk over at. I staggered backward letting out quick screams.
My mom who was in the cowshed doing chores, quickly hastened out to my side. We both stood and watched the boneless thing creeping away at our opposite. We followed it, maintaining enough distance so it couldn’t reach us, if in case it tried to leap over. It was longer than me, I guessed, perhaps even than my mom. Mid portion of it was fat//, all the food eaten must have been settled in there. When the sunlight was over it’s body, we noticed smears of yellowish and I remembered what a cousin brother had me told the previous day, that snakes with yellow shades are said to be king snakes and according to what he added further, this also bore thick cross lines, in black against it’s pale yellow skin. But we couldn’t conclude to anything, because they all looked the same at the end of the day.
It took a long right turn from one side of the wall to the other, and then once again was back to it’s straight movements, leaving curve trails, it’s soft skin reminded me of the sardines and about how I used to refused to eat them sometimes because of this very reason. It wasn’t rat snake, we mumbled among ourselves. We could easily differentiate because them and the garden snakes were often seen in our farms and fields. In no time, my mom was ahead of me. We walked until it was sighted getting into the chicken house and it was now confirmed that this damned thing was after eggs. I wanted to wait until it returned, so I’d know where it was heading next, but it wasn’t going to be easy cause there were a lot of other directions for it to get through. Hence, it wouldn’t be a surprise to spot it again on my way, and this thought took me no time to run off from that place.
Mom had disappeared. I met her near the washing sink, dripping the clothes. She wasn’t as afraid as I was, but definitely worried that the snake’s still not left our property and is somewhere hiding.
I was writing something in my glaring room. I heard my mom call from inside the kitchen. She wanted me to check on the salt in the kheer she had prepared. I suggested that maybe a sprinkle more of salt would make it just perfect. And while she went inside to get some more of it, I stood there by the gas stove, looking out through the horizontal pillared window.
My gazing paused and I froze!
Both my mother and I were now watching it again, the same hissing. It had come out of the shed and was snailing directionlessly, sometimes towards our side.
‘Shut all the window doors, Sheethal’ my mom instructed.
I raced from one room to the other, slamming all of them harder than necessary as if doing so would make any difference. And ran back to my mother, who was standing still, at the same place and staring at it, moving back and forth.
Looks like it didn’t find the eggs, my mom said, and hence it’s still searching, she continued. For about half an hour it kept meandering in the same place, space that seperated our home from the bathroom and sheds for cows and hens. And when it tried climbing on the walls, a cold shiver tingled down my spine. But it wasn’t after humans, it wanted eggs and was looking for one.
It had been quite sometime after it left, mom had watched it leave from the back gate while she was hanging the dried clothes at the washing sink. But I couldn’t stop thinking of it, every detail of it. Snakes always feared me to death. And today everything around looked like a snake. The fallen sticks, leaping dry leaves, rattling and everything feared me that it was back.
‘Come for lunch’ mom’s voice.
‘What special?’ I took my chair in the dining room
‘Sardine fries’ I sank into the chair.