06 July 2009
As a child, i was a crazy fan of the bollywood blockbuster "Naagin". The whole concept of the beautiful Sreedevi being a lovely heroine and a powerful snake-goddess all at once fascinated me. My mother tells me that i was dangerously close to getting into some serious trouble because i had developed this peculiar habit of pouring out my glass of milk in front of the ant hill in our back yard. Apparently, i was 'feeding' the Naagin 'living' in the ant hill. I say i was hypnotized by the divine Naagin herself! Pictured above is what i found in a tiny tribal temple deep inside the Nilgiri valley, a young Naga (snake) which has been devoutly smothered with turmeric powder. I'm not sure if the legends surrounding this young, but powerful god is true. But what i do know is that the tribe in that area has nurtured a deep sense of fear commingled with love and respect for him. Considering that these tribes mostly thrive in the forest areas, they have maintained their sense of awe for nature and all its children, especially its reptilian progeny. I was obviously the odd stick at the temple, with the usual black instrument slung on my neck. In a matter of a few minutes, an old woman came up to me and in all seriousness proclaimed, (translated from Tamil) "Feed him. Offer him milk. And he will materialize before you. You need his blessings." I'm sure she was a Naagin fan too!