July 2, 2008 @ 11:06 pm
During this particular trip of ours, we had stopped at Halebid to check out the majestic architecture of the temples there. A little ahead of the more famous temple, is a smaller and lesser frequented one. We visit this temple too, and not surprisingly the architecture is very similar to the main temple.
On our way out, near the gate, we see a small but keen crowd gathered. Everyone was looking at a slight opening between the temple’s outer wall and the sparsely grassed ground below. A lot of noise and a lot of chatter all around. I enquire and am informed by one of the kids, with a broad grin, “Haavu! Haavu!”.
Which meant that there was a snake over there. I peer over the crowd and see six (yes six!) baby snakes. I have always found snakes to be beautiful creatures and was thrilled at this sight. Six small creatures of life looking around and confused with all the people around. The crowd is getting a little restless and one of the stronger looking men suddenly makes his presence known.
Wearing a red shirt (I couldn’t help observe this symbolic color), the man picks up a long and thick wooden stick and brings it down with all his force on the congregated small babies. The snakes, instinctively, make a dash into all directions, not quite knowing what would help them. The man in red, the lower part of his shirt fluttering with the breeze, took aim and brought down the stick with continuous brutal blows on each one of those six siblings. Chasing every escaping snake, he ensured that he killed all within just a couple of minutes. It was a sense of achievement for the man and the crowd cheered him on. The little kid who had informed me earlier about all the commotion was jubilated. My friend and I tried shouting at the man in red, asking him to stop the mayhem, but our voices were drowned in all the hustle. Six lives vanished into thin air, wiped out.
We got back into our car, shocked at what we had just witnessed. The kids waved us goodbye with their wide smiles and we were off on our way.