When possible, it’s good to get a first-class ticket if you wish to avoid the crowds. Not always easy, but they are available if you ask the ticket-seller. On one of my rural train rides (after experiencing the Calcutta-Mumbai Express), a man dressed in traditional Indian attire joined my compartment, where thus far I’d been alone.
He had the strangest animal with him on a leash. I’d never seen anything like it before. It had a long snout and was very restless. I couldn’t keep my eyes from this creature, who although on a leash, was definitely wild. “Do not worry”, said the man. “Does not bite. Only cobras.” “What is it?” I asked.“Oh, you do not know? This is a Mongoose. I am a doctor and visit patients in rural villages where there may be King Cobras. That’s why I have my protector and friend with me. Did you know the Mongoose is the only animal that will take on a Cobra and kill it?
Coming soon, Part Three: Encounters with Wildlife
Henri van Bentum