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I was born and brought in an Industrial town. It was happy little town with a population of less than 80,000 people.  There were 2 schools, 2 police stations, 1 hospital, 1 University, lots of houses and around 25 basketball courts. People were crazy about basketball, including me.

Childhood is the time, when curiosity and dreams are your reality. And the reality is something far beyond our imagination. We believed in the Government and had faith in police, unlike now.

So, I was in 5th grade back then and our summer vacations had just begun. It was 8 am in the morning and I was in my room doing homework. My room was a small one. Rectangular in shape. The walls were Navy blue and had white windows. There was bed at the end. A table and chair just in front of the bed. A big window to the right of table and a cupboard to the left. The window was facing our garden.

Our garden was a huge unattended piece of land. We had rose bushes and there were few hundred basil plants. I was in my room, studying , when something strange caught my attention. I ignored it and focused back on my books. BUT curiosity got better of me, I kept looking at the strange fruit hanging from the basil plant.

I have never seen such fruit before. It was orange and black in color. “May be its overripe or rotten” that’s what I thought. “Curiosity kills the cat ” they say and this time I was the CAT. My inquisitiveness grew bigger and bigger and finally I decided to walk out and take look.

SO I went out to the garden. With every step, the fruit was growing bigger. I walked a few more steps. Then stopped. I was awestruck . It was beautiful . Oval in shape, orange and black in color. “You must touch this fruit immediately” my mind said. AND I followed.

I went a step ahead, placed my hands on my waist and observed it for another moment. Then I took my right hand and slowly moved forward to hold it. My palm was almost 3 inches away, when I felt a soft blow of warm air, at the bottom of my ring finger.

My right palm was still in the same position. Within a fraction of second, I saw a red “split” tongue coming out of the fruit. “Wait a minute, fruits don.’t have tongue ” and then I saw those black eyes “RETREAT !!! RETREAT !!! ITS A SNAKE” voices in my head screamed.

A cold current flowed from head to toe. I was frozen. As if someone hypnotized me or attacked me with a freeze ray gun. I stood there for 10 seconds but it seemed like an eternity. When I was somewhat stable, I ran straight to the kitchen and told my mom everything.

She came out with a stick in her hand. I was behind her. We searched for a while, but the snake was gone. “May be it went to its mom as well” I thought. I came back home and got a slice of chocolate cake as a reward.

Few days later , I saw that snake again in my garden. This time I was much for comfortable and knew it wouldn’t harm me. I named it “Mr Bill”. I raised my hand and waved slightly. Mr Bill brought out his tongue, as if to say “Nice to meet you too”.




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