Who’s the intruder here?

It was a quiet summery July evening at our newly constructed house, away from the din of the central part of the city. For a long span of 30 years, we had lived in our small ancestral house amidst the hustle and bustle in the heart of the town. But after his retirement, my father had spent the entire sum of his lifelong savings on getting a fairly spacious house built in one of the fast developing colonies with large swathes of dense green foliage all around in the city outskirts.

Lying restfully on the couch in my room that memorable placid evening had just turned me somewhat languid, when I began hearing the loud earsplitting shrieks of my niece from the courtyard. Shrugging aside my blanket of indolence, I ran towards the source of commotion in the courtyard where the whole family had already gathered.

Panic was writ large on every face as an earthy brown and golden coloured snake had come out of its burning burrow and settled comfortably near a cool mud flower pot in an isolated corner of our shady courtyard. Though no one dared to go near the viper, a flurry of activities was happening all around.

The family folk ran helter-skelter in search of clubs and sticks to bludgeon the animal to death. Meanwhile, when everyone was busy arranging the ammunition to deal with the intruder, I calmly fixed my gaze on its beautifully recoiled, curvy slender figure. It would occasionally raise its majestic head to the least threatening degree and flicker its two-forked tongue.

Without any weapons for their safety, everyone had so far maintained a respectable distance from the infiltrator. The snake, too, unaware of the lurking danger to its life, coyly clung to the bushy flower pot with an elegant equipoise. But no sooner had the family with a mission armed itself with all sorts of stout clubs, iron rods, hockey sticks, cricket bat and what not, than they came closer to the innocent intruder and took their positions at all possible vantage points.

There began a rowdy skirmish. Though the calmly coiled snake tried its best to find an escape route and slither safely away, all its efforts went in vain. Having beleaguered it from all the corners, its majestic head was cruelly crushed and reduced to pulp.

In a moment of frenzied action, the intruder was no more alive to flicker its tongue and rear its hog-nosed head. But while being trampled under the mighty foot of man, this innocuous so-called “intruder” must have certainly thought of a valid question: “Who, in fact, is the real intruder in this part of the land?”

Standing motionless, my little niece watched the spectacle of blood and gore from very close quarters but her glum face was an indicator enough that she did not approve of the snake’s killing.

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Who’s the intruder here?

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