«10 minutes dead» – NOT my kind of snake…

Everyone who knows me knows that I am extremely cold sensitive and that I hate winter and is a constant nag back in Norway from November to March. But, the frost and the cold jave at least one major benefit; we don’t have any venomous animals. Or, we do have the Common European Adder (“huggorm”), but it is not considered to be that dangerous (but, of course, it being a snake I still don’t want an encounter with one…).

A few years back I spent some time at an orphanage in rural India. I slept fairly well on a thin mattress on the kitchen floor with, but that rapidly changed the morning a colorful snake was discovered right outside my glass-less window. When I asked if it eas dangerous, I was told in really bad English “Yes, 10 minutes dead”. Imagine hor relaxed I got when a couple of the men in the village cought the venomous monster and let it loos just across the street, like 20 m away (WTF!!!) in my opinion at least 2000 km too close.

The morning after a scorpion was found outside, so safe to say I armed myself with a pointy stick and hardly slept at all for the remainder of the stay.

Gandhi Smriti – the final footsteps of a peaceful giant

On one of my visits to India a few years back, I visited the Gandhi Smriti museum, the place where Gandhi spent his final days and where he was shot during his morning walk across the compound. In the garden you can backtrack his last steps, which are painted as red footprints on the ground.

Mohandas Karamchand (“Mahatma”) Gandhi, born in 1869, was an Indian activist, fighting against British colonial rule. He was against all forms for violence and fought with non-violent methods, such as civil dispbedience and hungerstrike. Later the pacifisism was founded based on the Gandhi principles.

The person may be dead, but the legend lives on…

India – Goat-throwing and Taj Mahal

A few years back I went to India to visit an orphanage and to travel around in this enormous diversified country and was left with experiences for a life time.

The orphanage was located approx 5 hours of train ride + 1 hour by car from Chennai and was driven by a Norwegian philanthropist. I was to sleep on the kitchen floor and there were no glass windows, but only holes in the wall with bars. The first morning I woke up to a racket just outside my “window”. I went out and saw a SNAKE. When I asked if it was venomous I was told “Yes, 10 minutes dead”. Very comforting considering we were hours away from the nearest hospital. The worst of it all, they took it across the street an let it go! Well, safe to say I did not exactly sleep peacefully for the rest of my stay.

The people in the village was really friendly and invited us into their homes to meet their families. One day some local boys tried to tell us about a festival and something about goat and throwing. This we had to see, so we drove for an hour into the deserted landscape and when we stopped we were greeted by thousands of cheerful persons of all ages who included us in their procession (meaning 1 hour of walk in 40 degrees Celsius, in a sari and wth no water) to the festival area. It turned out they were to do a fertility ritual where they mixed goats blood with rice and ate it to be blessed with a baby. Very interesting, but when they started to throw goats in the air for some reason, we wished them luck and departed.

After a week at the orphanage I went to Agra to view the wonderful Taj Majal and then I spent some days in Dehli before returning back to the cold winter in Norway.