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Karma by Dr.

Gopal Baratham

Rattlesnakes are full of surprises. At their rear end they have a noisy apparatus which distracts enemies and causes them to strike at their tails instead of their heads, where their brains…and their fangs are. As with other snakes they have no noses and smell with their tongues, so when you see a snake gliding across the grass, his tongue darting ahead of him, he is not trying to frighten you: he is merely taking the air. The most surprising thing about these creatures, however, is their capacity for love. When they mate the male inserts his bifid penis, which resembles two light-bulbs stuck together, into the female and they stay wrapped around each other for nine whole days. During this period, they seek neither food nor water, nor do they appear to excrete, for they have a common orifice, called the cloaca, which houses both their genitals and their organs of excretion. Using the orifice for one function precludes their using it for the other. Such commitment to love is difficult to find anywhere. When mating is done the penis is withdrawn into the cloaca and it becomes impossible to distinguish male from female. This story, however, is not about reptiles. It’s about humans. It is a story of Ganesh and Gita. Ganesh resembled the elephant God of his name. he was a stocky fellow, with a low hair-line and an enormous nose that led his face. Gita, on the other hand, was a song, beautiful and slender as a note played on a single-reed instrument. They were the most improbable of couples. At the time when Ganesh and Gita lived, men believed in God and God believed in Man. That is to say, God deceived Man at every turn, played cruel tricks on him but, nevertheless, called on Man to serve His unknowable purpose. Like the people around them, Ganesh and Gita were Hindus: devout Hindus. They believed in the cycle of birth, death and re-birth, the spiral of karma, which if you lived your life correctly carried you upwards towards everlasting enlightenment but if you didn’t dragged you down to the level of beasts. As soon as they set eyes on each other and, much to their dismay, Ganesh and Gita fell in love. Their wasn’t the eye-evading, flower-throwing love that culminated in day-dreams and poetry. It was a love that demanded sweat and smells, sticky secretions and the exchange of unfavorable body fluids. Even with God around this would have been alright. Except for one thing. They were married. But not to each other. As a young lad, Ganesh had married the bride appointed by his parents. And he couldn’t complain about the girl chosen for him. Vasantha was as light and sprightly as spring rain. Gita had done likewise and her man, Prem, was a model of propriety and husbandly love. So they had no reason, no excuse, no case that even a Californian court would countenance to find each other. But find each other they did. And, when they did, they couldn’t believe what they had found. It seemed absurd that flesh could sing so sweetly that time stopped; incredible that the circumscribe pleasures of Eros could make them cling to each other for days, nights and days again. Dripping, dancing and in positions that

moved a little and made him firm again before she let him speak.would have made houris sweat they spent time. “You and I have been good Hindus. Ganesh. “That would be proper and it would not offend the code of dharma?” They questioned even as they clung to each. hurled themselves into the swollen river. She was a song and songs.” She continued when Ganesh was securely inside her. even as she rejoiced in her love for Ganesh. “God is telling us that a child wants to be born. They erode joy. dressed in a plain white sari. “He is telling us that out of the unformed elements of the universe a life is crying out for an existence.” Songs persuade and it didn’t take Gita long to convince her lover that the course she planned was the right one. Once. in the touching but somewhat stupid way that elephants have. Then. “Yes. But questions unanswered are more damaging than those attended to.” Gita felt her lover begin to shrivel inside her. It could be that we were designed for each other and would be husband and wife but for a man’s misreading of the stars. So. “And to return as rattlesnakes…?” Fear at what Gita was about to suggest made it impossible for him to complete his question. if one could call what felt like eternity time. The rains came and the river rose. And is that not what we really want?” “How can we be sure but we have to trust in God. We are the vehicles of the purpose. you mean?” asked Ganesh. even before the ebb of their pleasure was complete. “We must die now and go back to our former lives. But they were good Hindus. except for this one transgression. We have. now clearly terrified. and Ganesh. And like all religious folk they questioned what God intended by causing them to come together. That is why we are as we are. we were rattlesnakes. interrupt ecstasy. as though God had intended it.” she said. she found in a magazine an article on rattlesnakes. worried about its significance. “It is clear. questioned even when breathless with pleasure.” “Kill ourselves. “It could be that the astrologers were wrong when they matched horoscopes. When we are born again. Some memory of this remains. All God can do to punish us for our present failing is to return us to our former state. She put her hand over his mouth.” said Ganesh in his simple way. obeyed all the dictates of dharma. she searched for its true meaning. in a yellow silk dhori. the astrologer had warned that water would be . as we all know. “that in our past existence. in a pleasure that flowed between them like swing of the sea. At their birth. we will be born as rattlesnakes. as she lowered herself on to her lover. suggested. work in a roundabout way. Religious folk. Joyfulness could never be its own reward. Gita.” “Then why not a child from you and Vasantha or one from me and Prem?” Gita questioned.” Gita was not satisfied with this. Rose till its muddy waters invaded the huts of the poor living on its banks.

it would be pointless spending nine days entwined with a stranger. The air is so dry that human skin flakes and becomes like scales. She shot out her tongue to get the male smell that would make her orifice damp and the eggs in her belly churn. when she found him. Her Ganesh. Her belly was heavy with eggs and she was aching for a male who could make them come to life. *** The desert in Arizona is hot and arid. As always. Gita was glad that she was a snake. The astrologer was. God has the last laugh. She yearned for a male. She knew she had to be careful. Ganesh seemed disturbed by her action. Because of this neither had learned to swim. Almost ashamed. But she had to be careful to avoid the attention of other males in heat. . But she knew it was Ganesh. She yearned for Ganesh. indeed. Of that she was sure. Nothing happened. But not any male. Dawn was beginning to break and Gita had almost given up hope. But Gita was not put off by this. But as female rattlesnakes. She couldn’t wait for the bulb of gristle to spring out and lock into her opening. Instead the odour she got was exactly the same as that which came from her own body.dangerous to them and they should never go near it. So she slithered across and began wrapping herself across his body. right. Nevertheless. She flicked out her tongue to smell him again. and she would find him. even though the stones grated against her belly and threatened to tear up her soft underscales. Whatever the eggs told her body to do. Nothing emerged. she waited till the cool of dusk before she emerged from under the rock where she had found shade. As karma promised. He was around. Ganesh and Gita drowned. There was no sharp male smell about him. He was lying against a rock. So she avoided the flats easy paths that randy young rattlesnakes took and stuck to the rocky high-ground. dangerous to non-swimmers. Water is. He had always been a little shy. of course. they had been reborn as rattlesnakes. She pressed her damp orifice against his and began the gentle gyration that would cause his penis to protrude. somewhere.

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