My husband Mohan was a little late back from office today. I heard the horn of his Gypsy near the back gate - he seemed to be pressing it with some urgency. Then I heard raised voices. Oh no, I thought. Holi is still two days away, and someone's wandered into the bungalow compound, drunk out of his senses.
It wasn't an intruder, but someone had blocked Mohan's path into the bungalow. That's why he'd sounded the horn. He needed help, not for himself, but for the poor creature that was making its way across his path in some pain.
It was an injured snake, a 'dhamna' or rat snake. Mohan saw it in time, and stopped his vehicle while the snake crossed slowly to safety. When he took me back there to take a look at it, it lay still. As we began moving away, it started trying to move under cover somewhere. Someone had probably stepped on it, or thrown a stone at it. It's spine was broken, and we could see an open wound.
Mohan called for the Factory Assistant, Kingshuk Chakravorty. Kingshuk is gifted; he has a way with snakes. He picked up the dhamna, and it allowed itself to go limp in his hands. However, he said we couldn't save it. He left it in the tea area, where it could lie unseen until the end.
Kingshuk examines the snake