It's a little unusual for my blog to go silent around Diwali, that special time of the year when we fill our homes with the endearing aroma of sugary syrups and hot oil! Like every year in the past, I had plans of making chavde, chakli, chivda, and nankatai. Perhaps even besan ladu, which I last made ten lunisolar years ago. But the universe had other plans for me.

Last week as I settled into my chair, with a hot cup of tea, to start the week on a rather cheerful note, there was a thump on the garden window right next to my desk. Pressed against the glass and slowly sliding down was a fat garter snake. Did I freak? Did I scream? Did I run for my life? Yes. Even though I knew that there was glass between us and that it could not come inside? Yes. I ran out of my house until I realized that there were probably more snakes out in my yard than in that window, so I ran right back in again. I made an incoherent phone call for help and since it sounded like I was in cardiac arrest - which I was - my husband dropped a client meeting to rush home.

He found a thin snake curled up in the foliage, probably more frightened than I was. But that was not the snake I saw pressed against the window. Since I am prone to hallucinating when it comes to the slithery denizens of our 'hood, my story was taken with a pinch of salt, until a fat tail made a downward descent when the lovely Laura Labato, Animal Control Officer with Louisville Police, was explaining what our possible options were. But I wasn't listening. I was in pain, without being in physical pain. It is a curious affliction, this phobia.

All I could think was: In my window. Next to my desk. In my family room. In my basement. In my space.

Critter Control decided to take us up on an urgent and emergency basis, which means a good $70 more than their usual charge. Jake the snake guy removed the thin long one and promised to come back on Wednesday to remove the others, who had by then gone back into hiding. Wednesday? 48 hours later? But I made it.

In order to retain whatever was left of my sanity, I decided to look at everything in a positive light. The snakes were being removed on the first day of Diwali, Dhanatrayodashi.

Instead of buying gold, as is the custom, we made Critter Control richer by several hundred dollars for snakeproofing that window. Ouch! As soon as my Book Group pals found out how much I had spent, they each offered their various services, including their children, to remove any critters that might make their way into my home or yard for a deep discount.

With such a fantastic start to Diwali, there was not much more that I could top it off with. I was paralyzed into inaction and the plans I made in my head became increasingly overwhelming with each passing minute. My birthday hike of almost 9 miles and an altitude gain of almost 3000ft seemed like a piece of cake in comparison. So I decided to do nothing and blamed the universe instead.

I needed to get this off my chest so that I can move on. I promise to be back with a post about a beautiful evening I hosted to celebrate a close friend and her pregnancy, and maybe even a recipe!


AnuG said...


I've been reading your blog for a couple of months and love the posts! It's awful to have had a Diwali like the one you just described (tho I'm a not-averse-to-snakes person). I do hope the year begins critter-free for you! Looking forward to more recipes when order is restored :).

Anonymous said...

been there, done that. I live in Dabolim , Goa which apparentely has the HIGHEST POPULATION of vipers in the world. Weve had snakes in our house 3 times...but Im none the wiser...thankfully have moved into a 1st flr house so hope and pray they dont come avisiting me anytime soon!!!!

fuquinay said...

Oh goodness! It made for a lovely photo, but I know how you feel. Well, sorta. You know, we had about four snakes here at one time--caged in the basement. They never gave me the creeps because they were caged, but dang—when the two black snakes escaped because Marty left the cage open, I nearly died. And when I came down to open my armoire doors and found a snake lunging at me, I was—well, like you sound now, only scareder. Luckily Marty was home that Sunday sleeping (until awakened by my scream!).

And then there was the matter of the giant black snake, the same one, getting loose a second time a year later, due to Marty leaving the lid off the cage yet again, slithering across my mosaic shop.

All is well, and we are snake free, and I hope you are the same.

Shilpa said...

:(( So scary. I remember at my home in India, we see snakes all the time. One day I saw one which came in living room and I was so scared for a long time. Even when I see ropes at home, I get scared thinking they are snakes!!!.

Sayantani Mahapatra Mudi said...

thats so scared that I cant even watch movies with these crawlies...even reading this post gives me goosebumps...take care dear, you are brave

Unknown said...

When we were little, the labor was divided and my sister was in charge of clearing snakes from the house, and I was in charge of preying mantises. I was always jealous that she seemed to have more occasions than I did.

Still, there's no reasoning with phobias, and you did what was absolutely necessary to make your space feel secure. And that is worth more than gold.

May your life settle back to comfortable.

Aparna Balasubramanian said...

I can imagine your terror! Like Sheba said, looks like there are a lot of snakes in Goa.

Now I live on the 2nd floor, but at our earlier house, snakes were a part of the deal for our neighbours and us. A small one once crawled in and dropped down on my then 3 year old, and disappeared. We turned the whole house inside out looking for it!

You certainly had a memorable (not) Diwali. Hope your next one has less exciterment. :)

john k.Tas. said...

dear Manisha, sorry to learn of your snake of a day! we raised our kids on a mountain property, in very rocky country (much loved by snakes), and over 20 years of up close experiences, i went from scared witless to respectful and maybe even cavalier about snakes . we had two highly venemous types (tiger and another ). i had urgent calls to come home , like your husband. well done.regards, john k. Tas.

DesertNails8 said...

Charming story. You have my sympathies!

There are bark scorpions in my apartment building and when I encounter one inside I think it is the big grandfather of them all.

Once I've caught it and put it in a jar, it appears much smaller to me, once the danger is over. (Bark scorpions are the most highly venomous scorpion on the north american continent.)

Then I take the jar to the apartment manager's office where the manager thinks it's quite large as I'm waving it in his face requesting more be done.

Anita said...

I have had no close encounters with wild snakes and I pray it stays that way. If you have recovered then we are all waiting for that promised recipe! :)

Kulsum said...

I would have done what you did! Lets blame the universe for such a start to your diwali :) But glad u had a party, so it makes up for everything.