By (author): Rajesh Valluri
When a man-eating tiger was on the prowl terrorising villagers in the area, the local landlord, or Zamindar as they are called in India, took it upon himself to get rid of the menace. Being an avid hunter with years of experience behind him, he was angry and frustrated that none of the usual methods to hunt the beast were successful. After his fellow villagers couldn’t get anywhere near the crafty and dangerous animal, the Zamindar upped the ante, and gambled another man’s life to bait the tiger. This is the story of how his gambit unfolded.
There is the story of a Monkey who wanted to show its gratitude to a bus driver who saved its life. What about the homeless man who specializes in catching venomous snakes in peoples homes? There is also a story which is very close to my heart, that explores the common bond between all living beings, hunger, love and compassion for one another.
When the westerners think of tigers, snakes, deer, they invariably think of zoos and may be the animal planet. The people of India have a completely different outlook when it comes to things like these. As kids who were raised in certain parts of rural India, we practically grew up with such animals living in our backyards. There are tons of interesting encounters with these animals, and tall tales we were told by our elders. This is a collection of some of those stories.
Indian villages are an intriguing cornucopia of life’s varied experiences. There is the good, definitely the bad, and sometimes plain absurd. From that comes generations of folklore which can range from being an amusing anecdote, to a silly hyperbole, to downright creepy.