Nehru - Toward Freedom (1936).pdf

The warder and some convict overseers and other

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The warder and some convict overseers and other prisoners caught hold of him and tied a bit of string round his neck. The parents (presumably) of the little one saw all this from the top of the high wall, and their anger grew. Suddenly one of them, a huge monkey, jumped down and charged almost right into the crowd which surrounded the baby monkey. It was an extraor dinarily brave thing to do, for the warder and C.O.'s had sticks and lathees which they were brandishing about, and there were quite a crowd of them. Reckless courage triumphed, and the crowd o hu mans fled, terrified, leaving their sticks behind them ! The little monkey was rescued. We had often animal visitors that were not welcome. Scorpions
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were frequently found in our cells, especially after a thunderstorm. It was surprising that I was never stung by one, for I would come across them in the most unlikely places on my bed, or sitting on a book which I had just lifted up. I kept a particularly black and poisonous-looking brute in a bottle for some time, feeding him with flies, etc.; and then, when I tied him up on a wall with a string, he managed to escape. I had no desire to meet him loose again, and so I cleaned my cell out and hunted for him everywhere, but he had vanished. Three or four snakes were also found in my cells or near them. News of one of them got out, and there were headlines in the press. As a matter of fact I welcomed the diversion. Prison life is dull enough, and everything that breaks through the monotony is appreciated. Not that I appreciate or welcome snakes, but they do not fill me with terror as they do some people. I am afraid of their bite, of course, and would protect myself if I saw a snake. But there would be no feeling of repulsion or overwhelming fright. Centipedes horrify me much more; it is not so much fear as instinctive repulsion. In Alipore Jail in Calcutta I woke in the middle of the night and felt something crawl ing over my foot. I pressed a torch I had and I saw a centipede on the bed. Instinctively and with amazing rapidity I vaulted clear out of that bed and nearly hit the cell wall. I realized fully then what Pavlov's reflexes were. In Dehra Dun I saw a new animal, or rather an animal which was new to me. I was standing at the jail gate talking to the jailer when we noticed a man outside carrying a strange animal. The jailer sent for him, and I saw something between a lizard and a crocodile, about two feet long with claws and a scaly covering. This uncouth animal, which was very much alive, had been twisted round in a most peculiar way, forming a kind of knot, and its owner had passed a pole through this knot and was merrily carrying it in this fashion. He called it a Bo. When asked by the jailer what he proposed to do with it, he replied with a broad smile that he would make bhujjiz kind of curry out of it!
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