UKArchive



UKArchive ID: 14953THE SNAKES OF PULLOONI by chrisk
Originally published on January 6, 2006 in Non-Fiction

The house In India, now a place for snakes.



THE SNAKES OF PULLOONI
By C R Krishnan



One of the places I wanted to visit while I was in India this time, was my father’s house, ‘PULLOONI’, the place he was born. I had not been there for some 25 years.
It so happened that there was a wedding of one of our clan members and my cousin invited me to join him and his wife together with my friend John Barker from UK, who was staying with me. The venue was not far from the old house.
The wedding was a grand affair like most Kerala functions; guests numbering to 300 or more and every one are given food, a feast on banana leaves.
John was quite adept at using his fingers and though the food was chilly hot he managed to eat well and ended the lunch with delicious sweet milk pudding.
After leaving the function we went to see the house. The sight that greeted us was unbelievable. It was virtually falling apart and the places where we used to play, as children were overgrown with tall grass and stingy nettles, a very suitable abode for cobras and other poisonous snakes.
The stairs, bricks and windows were all standing precariously, ready to collapse on any one who ventured to enter.
My cousin explained to me that nothing could be done to the house as there were about sixty people who had the right to the land where it stood and they were distributed all over the world. To get every one to sign the document that would enable some one to renovate the place was therefore impossible.
I peeped into the room where my father and his siblings were born and the place where we used to play and sleep as kids. The last time I was in that room, it was used to lay the body of my grandmother, which was about to be taken out to be cremated. She had delivered all her seven children in that room! The beautiful shiny floor was now damp and fungus ridden.
John was busy taking pictures of what was left and walking about among the overgrown plants. I shouted out to him to be bewaring of snakes and then to my surprise I saw a snake right inside the room and disappearing into a hole on the side of the wall. This reminded me of the last scene in that great film ’Pather Panjali’ by Satyajit Ray. An abandoned house now a place for snakes that could kill you within minutes with one bite. The house will eventually be flattened when the government takes it over. However they are reluctant as any one of the sixty people involved may dispute the take over.
In any case I am not going that way, ever.
By the way I forgot to tell you, my cousin and I, are part of that sixty lot!




© chrisk (chrisk on OLD UKA)
UKArchive ID: 14953
Archived comments for THE SNAKES OF PULLOONI
niece on 06-01-2006
THE SNAKES OF PULLOONI
Chrisk,
The old houses of Kerala had a charm of it's own...was this one a "nallu-kettu"? Fortunately I have been able to see a few of them...the last one I saw was my father-in-law's ancestral home which is supposedly haunted by his aunt's ghost. No one lives there anymore, but the house is still there.
Regds,niece

Author's Reply:
Niece
It is a 'Nalu kettu'. For the benefit of our European friends it means there is an open roofless place inside the house , like an indoor garden! That means the house was quite big.

Gerry on 06-01-2006
THE SNAKES OF PULLOONI
Chrisk, a charming little tale. The only snakes I have seen in India were coming out of baskets lol.

Gerry.

Author's Reply:
Gerry
Its okay in the city area, you are quite safe. However overgrown grass, nettles and the like are the places where they come out to look for their prey. They don't attack humans deliberately but then we step on them! Thank you for appreciating my story.
chrisk




thehaven on 07-01-2006
THE SNAKES OF PULLOONI
Descriptive and sad journey down memory lane.

Mike

Author's Reply:
Mike
Thank u mate. It is sad.
chrisk

wfgray on 07-01-2006
THE SNAKES OF PULLOONI
A nice little story.

Author's Reply:
Wfgray
Thank you for appreciating the story.
chrisk

soman on 07-01-2006
THE SNAKES OF PULLOONI
Chrisk,

I find the comparison with Satyajit Rai's great classic film very apt indeed! I too am familiar with the type of mansions you describe, once throbbing with life but now fallen on bad days and left to the mercy of the four winds. A poignant recollection!

Soman

Author's Reply:
Soman
Wish I had a lot of money, you know, like a lottery win or something like that. I would have done something to that house. Certain parts of the building still looked strong. The photos which John took
are amazing. Thanks for the comments and the rating.
chrisk

e-griff on 07-01-2006
THE SNAKES OF PULLOONI
another dose of charm! 🙂 G

Author's Reply:
e-griff
Thanks. May be good for my next book?
chrisk

Romany on 08-01-2006
THE SNAKES OF PULLOONI
Sounds very interesting - quite poignant I imagine, for you. Any chance of you or John subbing a photo, if it's not too personal a thing for you to share that is?

Author's Reply:
Romany
Thanks a lot for your comments.
I can send a few pics of the house to you.
To which e mail?
chrisk

Micky on 08-01-2006
THE SNAKES OF PULLOONI
Nicely done ,chrish
very enjoyable peek

Micky

Author's Reply:
Micky
Thank you. Its straight from my heart.
Grateful for the 9.
Regards
chris

Jen_Christabel on 09-01-2006
THE SNAKES OF PULLOONI
A lovely slice of Indian life - nicely done Chris
Jen :o)

Author's Reply:
Hullo Jen
Thank you.
Lovely but sadly though! I am never going to see that place again. All I have are pics!
Kind regards
Chris

eddiesolo on 14-03-2006
THE SNAKES OF PULLOONI
Hi Chris,

Nice write, enjoyed very much.

Take care.

Si:-)

Author's Reply:
Hi Si
Thanks a lot, sorry about the delay in responding. Sad sight it was though.
Regards
Chris