This is a very old incident, when Raka and I were still hobby hikers. We are still beginners in a way, but then we were really green. We had gone on a hike to Sudhagad, which is a well-known fort in Maharashtra near the famous Pali, which has a temple of Lord Ganesha.
Sudhagad is one of my all time favorite places to stay. The feeling of having an entire plateau almost to yourself is extraordinary and the natural life is amazing. Snakes in particular.
After a refreshing hike to the top once, we had reached with just enough time to cook dinner and rest for the day. We were some 15 enthusiasts sleeping in a line a local temple on the top of the fort. This is normal.
The first thing I remember the next morning is the sound of a dull thud near where we were sleeping that I would have ignored, if not for a vague and very sleepy comment about a snake fallen from the roof. Didn’t make any sense, but it sounded interesting and I scuttled across the last sleeping bag to investigate.
There was a snake – a boa! It was coiled tightly around a rat and they had apparently fallen like that off the ancient beams over our head in their struggle. The rat was scared and struggling, but the snake seemed oblivious to its great fall or our group now crowded around the two watching eagerly the stuff we only saw on TV. In fact, it seemed unconscious of everything but its helpless victim. Not once did its coils loosen, or its head turn away from its prey.
A friend got out his camera and got busy clicking pictures or this rare observation of nature that had fallen almost on our heads. In the meanwhile we were watching. Fascinated.
The snake ignored us all and went about its breakfast like it had all the time in the world. It killed the rat and swallowed it whole and then took a couple of twists and coils around itself for good measure. Finally full and sluggish, it slowly crawled outside to find a nice shady place to digest its meal in.
Over the years, we saw many snakes, had quite a few story worthy experiences, but as our first close experience of the workings of nature, this one is special.
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