Moryanam - The Hunter

May 21, 2009

‘Moryanam’ (Konkanised version of Marian Machado) as he is popularly known in and around Pernal, is one individual who has spent most of his youth in jungle than any other man. Having hunting as a profession does contribute to this fact. Meat was part of the menu on daily basis for the family; be it rabbit, wild boar, porcupine and so on. But how it was served was a different story! Having eight mouths to feed was not an easy task in those times but there was never an occasion for sadness. 

The prerogative of women was limited to the daily house chores in and around the house and looking after the kids, cows and cowshed. Having house at the edge of the forest does come with disadvantages. Wild animals frequented the backyard in search of food and shelter. 

I had heard for umpteen number of times the tales he would say. On many occasions he came across the bad spirits(‘Naad’ as we call in Konkani) hanging down from the trees and when shot at them with his gun he would find a patch of algae on the trees and the Naad vanished. I had also heard of the times when he came across spirits carrying torches(Sood) made of coconut leaves and paddy, walking the forest in one line, sometime as many as hundreds. There was also an occasion when he came across a person who he thought was his neighbor but had his legs twisted backwards. It would take steps forward as he stepped forward and backwards when he took them backwards. To be precise, it would mirror his actions. He recalled a similar incident and without a doubt knew it was not a human. After taking few steps backwards for about 25 feet, he took strides home. 

Let alone the gun, monkeys, which were the dominant menace would run for their lives upon hearing him clear his throat and would venture back once their memories faded or generations changed. Monkeys are unique; as in they are never scared of ladies. This occurred to me umpteen numbers of times as whenever my granny would try and drive them away from the coconut trees, they would in return mock at her. But when a young boy (like me!) threw a stone or tried to drive them away the monkeys would run for their lives. 

Any menace created by the wild animals in the neighborhood would be reported to him and he would set out to fend off the menace. And whenever he ventured out in to the jungles, the family was assured of sumptuous meals for the coming 2-3 days depending on the hunt.

Getting a call to fend off the wild animals was normal. But this time it was different. Summon this time was from the District Forest officials. Reason: Nine cheetahs were on the prowl. This was the first time he would face such a huge challenge. And there was no one else who would take leadership for the task. A young man with a vigor and enthusiasm as him was hardly in sight. The government had made a right choice.

Cheetahs are nocturnal. They have a great night vision as well as day vision. But they come out hunting mostly at dusk. Having taken the challenge to drive the cheetahs away, he organised a troupe of 5 men who were close allies in the game. Men would hardly venture into such a mission alone but in groups.

There he was; amidst the cold night, carrying his country made single barrel manual gun, one that was the most sophisticated in the 50’ and 60’s. The bullet was handmade out of jute and iron pellets. The loading process for this particular gun took upto 10 minutes. By this I mean the man had only one shot at the animal. If the shot missed he would run into gauntlet. The inside of the barrel needed right brushing for the sake of smooth flow of the bullet through the barrel. A white paper sticker was stuck at the entry of the barrel for the sake of knowing the direction of the barrel in the darkness.

He shivered in the cold night and hugged his prized muffler around his neck. It was indeed freezing. The dew glistened in puddles under the intermittent torchlights. While carrying a Nippo battery powered torch in the left hand and the gun in the right, there never was a luxury of taking a shot through the scope with the help of two hands. You had only one chance to take the shot. You had to aim with one hand and his hands were adept. 

It was funny how quiet the forest was at that time of the evening although they could hear an occasional sound of crickets screeching in the darkness of the night inviting a potential mate. Eyes of nocturnal creatures did shine in the darkness reflecting the light. Foxes and wolves gave howls with brief intervals. May be the animals were aware of the presence of the cheetahs. 

Some of the men shivered to the bones while others took excuse of the cold and made a makeshift tent to lie away in the cold night. He had wandered far off from his group along with a mate. Suddenly, he could hear foot steps behind him. He risked a glance behind him but could see no one. Still a lucky night, he thought! He was sure that he heard footsteps. The air smelt funny. Could the footsteps be furtive? Up ahead there was a long stretch of wild grasses which was a perfect camouflage for the cheetahs at any occasion. Cheetahs would definitely know of his presence before hand and would attack the intruder of their territory. 

From a distance he saw a pair of eyes; could be 50 feet away. The contours of a cheetah were visible from a distance. He and his mate started to crouch. For their defense they had a tree in front of them to stand up to and take a shot. But the cheetah proved cleverer and walked away from the scene. I learnt that cheetahs are shy and tend to walk away if they come to know of the presence of humans as they like to hunt solitary. He followed the cheetah and from a distance could hear the growls and pointed the torch towards the direction.  He reached the dark area and slowed slightly looking for the area that was still darker in order to take a clear shot at the cheetah. 

Bingo! There it was. He ducked in, staying close to the bushes. He had a clear shot at around 70 feet where he could see the contours of the cheetah against the moonlight. He had only one shot. He asked his mate to take a shot and his gun stood as a reserve shot for the second round incase the shot was at the wrong place. His mate took to the scope while he stood pointing his gun and the torch towards the animal. 

BHAM! The bullet went off. 

‘Damn’, he missed the shot. The Cheetah started running away upon hearing the noise of the gunshot and he had only one more shot in the gun. He charged towards the cheetah with gun in one hand and torch in the other while his mate stayed to refill the gun. There was no turning back; he had to take the shot or face the cheetah. It is tougher to take shot on a moving animal at 40 KM/Hr and while you too are moving. With one goal in mind and sharp shooting, he let go of the bullet from his barrel. 


A shot between the spine and the neck and the animal fell to the ground and rolled around 15FT before getting still. He stopped. His mate who had refilled the gun took a shot again. The animal was already dead by then. 

He refilled the gun and shot a round of fire in the air signaling his victory. They all gathered and tied the feet of the cheetah to a long log of wood to carry it back home. It weighed close to 300 kilograms plus, which was a daunting task to carry for 11KMs. 

The news of the hunt spread through the villages like wild fire because it was the first time that anyone in the vicinity had such a big game. The animal was taken on procession from Udupi to Pilarkhana on top of an Ambassador(a car from HM which still runs Indian roads along with Mercs, BMWs and Marutis) with people congratulating him all through the way. The meat of the animal was distributed and there was a mad rush among the public due to a rare curing ability the meat has for many diseases.

(The lone photo which survived 45 years was taken in Udupi-Asha Studio. The picture was digitally restored as it had lost some quality.)

Government honoured him with a prize money of Rs.300/- and he became a celebrity hunter. He still has the single barrel manual gun at home(which currently is under the custody of the police station due to general elections). He often speaks of the adventure whenever he is in the mood of talking. 

That was the story of Moryanam-The Hunter.

Well, the other cheetahs did not venture into the Pilarkhana forest since.

Marian Machado now lives with his wife, Lucy Machado in Belman and still recalls his experiences in the wood. Since this event he has juggled between many jobs which range from tailoring to hunting to growing and selling beetle leaves. 

I, for myself take pride in my grandpa for him being a great hunter. I make it a point to feel the gun that shot the Cheetah whenever I visit him. Nowadays, I get reminded of his adventures whenever I visit the Jebel Ali Shooting Club in Dubai. While I am not a professional hunter, I consider myself a lineage of hunter, Moryanam.

by Deepak Machado - Dubai
(Deepak M Machado hails from Belman. He is a banker by profession and currently is based in Dubai. His hobbies and interests include reading, writing, acting, photography and playing games such as ping pong). He is an MBA by qualification from Mangalore University and has a BA Honours degree specialising in Economics from Loyola College, Chennai. He has served on the editorial boards of several magazines while in college and later. He can be reached at
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Comment on this article

  • Valerian Machado, Jalamel, Shirva

    Sat, May 30 2009

    Thank You very much for naratting the true story very well...I was very lucky to touch the dead leopard...the rifle which was used to hunt the animal is still with me safe..Barrel has become very thin...Its one of the precious treasures of our dad...

  • Wilson Machado, Shirva

    Fri, May 29 2009

    well done deepu.... you narrated the story well.... Proud to be his grand son and proud to be born in Machado family...

  • Shawn, Bahrain, Mangalore

    Fri, May 29 2009

    Well Done Deepu, You have done a great job by writing this article. Abba is a great person & thankyou for showing his bravery to everyone.

  • Deepak M Machado, Belman/Dubai

    Thu, May 28 2009

    I thank everyone for the responses through the comments. The article was in no way a glorification of my grandfather''s life or his deeds. The history is based almost 40-50 years back hence this article is to be read at its historical context. I do sympathise with animal lovers and am an active member of WWF(World Wildlife Fund). Only thing I would appreciate is that readers not to use pseudonyms or abbreviations of names while commenting. Thank You.

  • WA, Mangalore

    Wed, May 27 2009

     I felt very sad when I read this article .Please do not write articles like this . Becuase of these people all animals are disappering now a days.

  • Babita Dsouza, Dubai

    Thu, May 28 2009

    Wow Deepu, That was a great piece of a memorable event which I am sure all of us will remember with pride. For those who feel its a shame then I would say keeping in mind the situation those days (about 30-35 years back) this was a needed action and requested by the Government itself. We would strongly condemn if this was for fun and had to happen in the present times when these animals are in line of extension. Well the ones who have lived through it know what it was then ... Kudos to you Deepu for reviving our memories and giving the details of the event which even I wasn''t aware ... I am really proud of my Grand Pa.

  • joegonsalves, U.S.A. Mangalore

    Tue, May 26 2009

    Deepak... You have flare for writing. You have been very realistic too. I know something about guns having been a kind of shikar myself during my early days in Delhi. I used to go hunting with an Anglo-India Friend by the names Arthur James - a teacher by profession. he was very good hunter and I learnt quite a lot of shooting from him. I have supplied many Manglorean families with venison, wild rabbits, partridges, doves etc. My favorite hunting place was Faridabad where game used to be in plenty. Talking about guns - a single barrel muzzle loader was indeed a good sportsman''s weapon. One could load this weapon the way one needed to depending upon the kind of prey. Mind you.... one had only one chance and if he mised the shot or wounded the anmal the hunter would become the prey. I continue to retain my double barrel breach loader. Just now I have cleaned it, greased it and kept it aside to be presented to my grand-son Samir Saldanha the only grandson in Mangalore. In the ordinary course this very good gun would have gone to my son Franco Gonsalves but unfortunately he has settled down in U.S.A and hence the next claimant is Samir and I would be happy to present it to him. Incidentally, I was not aware that cheetah meet is edible. I have learned something today..Thanks for the story Deepak. Joe Gonsalves

  • Fr. Gabriel Mathias, Shirva

    Sat, May 23 2009

    Good write up, Deepak. Being his nephew and now nearing sixty, it brought back old memories of childhood. Having seen the photo as a child, it is etched in my psyche. While hunting is forbidden these days, the deed should be seen in its historic context.

  • Samitha Dale Machado, Kuwait

    Sat, May 23 2009

    Well done Deepu,this article is really interesting...Iam proud of my grandpa.

  • Stanley Machado, Pernal/Kuwait

    Sat, May 23 2009

    Well done Deepu, Realy I appriciate your job, thanks for the article... I am realy proud of my Dad.

  • Dinesh Correa, Pernal / Sharjah

    Sat, May 23 2009

    A brave, but equally friendly, humble person. When he was in his sixtees, he talked to even "Chaddi" worn guys like me at Faima higher primary school and talked like a good friend. Serious in appearance but very soft in nature. Pride of Pilarkhana.

  • Denis Mathias, Shirva/Dubai

    Sat, May 23 2009

    I was Moryanam''s neighbour and as a young boy, I had the priviledge to accompany him in his hunting trip. During the day of course, not at night during my school vacation. I did not dare to venture outside at night after hearing all the ghost stories from ladies sitting together in the evening, which was their favourite pass time. I still remember that manually loaded gun taking aim at wild birds. He was a young man full of energy. When he killed a leopard, our elementary school at Pilar conducted a field trip to view the dead animal displayed in front of his house.We did not have any Leopard scare after that in those forests. They had that Leopard skin in his house and I do not know whether it is still there. It has been a very long time since I have seen him. Through this article I know now that he is in Belman. I wish him and Lucybai good health and happiness.


    Sat, May 23 2009

    Hi Deepak, Great style and interesting narrative. It is really amazing that, we have so many talented young writers and Deepak you are one of them. Hats off to you. It is really awesome, brilliant and superb peace of writing sliced with melodrama and suspense and reality. I anticipate some more articles from you Deepak. Good Luck and God bless you.

  • wilson, dubai/mangalore

    Sat, May 23 2009

    People have made mistakes in the past, due to ignorance, illitracy and wild behavior. Even though this still exists, running these articles make readers feel this is normal. Absolutely not! hunting is not normal. it shows the animal instinct in some humans. pleasure by killing! All over , people are being more and more aware of cruielty to animals ,protection of endangered species and in general to protect our mother earth. what are we teaching our children by these acts!

  • Jason D''Souza, Bangalore

    Sat, May 23 2009

    Santa/Hussein, this is a 50 year old story and hunting was legal then since there were plentyl of forests and wild animals. Hunting was very much essential for the livelihood of one''s family and it involved courage to venture into the woods in the darkness of night with primitive weapons. However in the modern times the forests have been reduced, wild life is endangered and it is illegal to hunt under the Wild Life Protection Acts. Those of you interested may google Jim Corbett who did hunt dangerous animals but was a pioneer conservationist.

  • Roy Mendonca, Cambridge

    Fri, May 22 2009

    Hey deepu, great article man!!! I feel priveleged to be a part Moryanam''s family! and i wish one day i would be able to use grandpa''s gun for real, not just pointing at monkeys ha ha. Grandpa you are great I love you

  • Bosco DMello, Goa/Mumbai

    Sat, May 23 2009

    Very well written. Keep up. The narrative reminded me of my Dad who was a hunter(of snakes) in the village and the pride of the villagers for saving lives. Ofcourse, it takes a great deal of courage for acts like these and unfortunately not found in city folks like us.

  • vinod wilfred tauro, MADANTHYAR,DUBAI

    Sat, May 23 2009

    Dear Deepak Good write up, and nice description of a brave man,Keep it up. Yes it is real golden olden days, even we used to Shikari or Bont Ambudchi etc.,below Gadai Pator,Belthangady, now only we can remember and think of those days.

  • Santa Singh, Amritsar \ Camp Mangalore

    Sat, May 23 2009

    Shriman Mervin, Mangalore You cannot call your ancestors brave just because they killed animals using guns and deception. I tell you again do not glorify cowardice as bravery. If you have guts go to some forest alone fight with some animals and come back in one piece. Its easy to write nonsence here without being brave yourself. Why would you go to forest in the first place and kill animlas, which is their abode.

  • ALWYN LOBO, Mangalore/ Dubai

    Sat, May 23 2009

    It''s well narrated story and had good time reading it. I really admire the guts & confidence our older generation had,also the Ghost story was good

  • Joseph, India/Tibet

    Sat, May 23 2009

    When you cut/trim the branch of a plant it will grow back again or if we take a fruit of a plant grown directly from earth or indirectly from the will grow back again. But when you cut the head of an animal/human or kill will not grow back again, they will suffocate, suffer, cry and die. And the same bad-karma will reflect back to those who destroy the creation of God. Quote: "For as long as people massacre animals they will kill each other. Indeed he who sows the seed of murder and pain...cannot reap the fruits of joy & happiness." -Philosopher Pythagoras BE COMPASSIONATE TO HEAVENIZE THE WORLD...Save the planet, Be Veg, Go GREEN

  • Bryan Machado, pernal/mumbai

    Sat, May 23 2009

    Excellent work deepu.....I never knew so much details of the story....did grandpa tell you this story.....or let me know.....the way you have put it is really awesome.....we should be really proud to be his grandchildren.....we will definately take his legacy ahead....thanks deepu...

  • Jeevan Santhosh D''silva, Belman/Bangalore

    Sat, May 23 2009

    Though I am hailing from this same place Belman, I never knew the other side of Moryanam. Deepak it would have been nice if you had shown the readers his current picture as well. Anyway, nice article...Keep up the good work in bringing the unknown facts to us !!!!

  • Rony & Aboline D''Cunha, Koppa - Dubai

    Fri, May 22 2009

    Deepak, what a great story narrated in a thrilling style causing shivers. This reminds me of many such shikhari stories in the ghats like Koppa & surrounding Malnad areas. .Even in our place, we had two famous hunters called Vishenthmam and Ligoo mam who were known for their bravery,especially to hunt the tigers and keep away the wild elephants and bisons from destroying the rice fields, sugarcane plantation and coffee plants.These days I understand that the Karnataka Govt.,through their Forest Depts., has left some young cubs in the wilderness with a multi purpose objective of rearing them and also to safeguard the rare wild animals from hunters and also to save the valuable sandal wood trees & tusks of the elephants from the poachers.So Be careful....

  • Lozil, Belman

    Fri, May 22 2009

    Nice Write up Deepak... Liked the way You narrated the story... Keep the good work going...

  • defeny machado, Bahrain

    Fri, May 22 2009

    Deepu this article is really good and interesting . Well I  always heard that grandpa killed a cheetah but never in detail and I am really proud to say that he is my grandfather. Grandpa you are the best. lLove you.

  • Ashley Machado, mangalore

    Fri, May 22 2009

    Hey Deepak, Good article especially since its a Machado.. Also just to let you know - there are no cheetah''s in India. it was a leopard.

  • Leo Dsouz, Pezar,Mangalore / Navi Mumbai

    Fri, May 22 2009

    The adventureous life of our elder generations really makes us proud. There are many personalities in different fields of life in the older generation to remember. Thanks to Deepak Machado for giving us a change in reading that too a real story, which is valuable in the present days masala reading.

  • Rajesh Sequeira , kulshekar

    Fri, May 22 2009

    Deepak , I was fascinated by your writeup . You have great talent my friend .Good you have exposed it. Best of luck we would like to have some more

  • Steevan A D, Pernal, Dubai

    Sat, May 23 2009

    I heard about Moryanam and his great hunting adventures from my grand parents .Today I am thousands of miles away from my homeland, I  feel proud of pilarkhana, Moryanam and people around pernal. Thanks Daijiworld for bringing this.

  • Vincent D''Souza, Belthangady

    Thu, May 21 2009

    The article is interesting to read as prior during my younger days, it was precisely heard when narrated by some parishioners. I did accompany some Hunters during some expeditions, but never saw anything resembling a Ghost or Devil. Only could hear the Night Music of the Creatures in the Forests and Movement of Animals. Is it only some see the Ghosts? Why not the others?

  • Mervin, Mangalore

    Fri, May 22 2009

    Mr. Santa Sing and HNK if a wild animal threatened your life and life of your livestock, would you still not defend yourselves, your family or would think it is HARAM to kill and run away? You''d be a coward if you did that. The animals were a threat to the people and the govt requested to kill as per the article. Now does that suffice as an answer?

  • Sampath, Sullia

    Thu, May 21 2009

    Thank you Daijiworld for publishing this article. It is a nice article from Deepak.

  • Hussein Nawaz Khan, Puttur/Saudi Arabia

    Thu, May 21 2009


  • Mamtha , Mangalore

    Thu, May 21 2009

    Wow Deepak written it beautifully. you have narreted it so well that i got glued to the PC to read the full story. Indeed our grand parents were really brave, they had the guts to face be it a ghost or a deadly beast. Hats off to your Grandpa.

  • Ullas Fernands, Siddakatte

    Thu, May 21 2009

    Very well written article.It''s interesting to read Moryanam''s hunting story.Deepak keep writing.

  • Deena Machado, Belman

    Thu, May 21 2009

    That was indeed a great article, which I thoroughly enjoyed reading it.It was very interesting to read about hunting experience and past things. Finding time for everything is the greatest achievement for a human being. You have the gift to think so creatively. Keep it up. Very well written about Marian Machado -excellent work. I feel proud to say that I am part of your family.

  • H M Pernal , Mangalore

    Thu, May 21 2009

    Thank You Deepak. Very good write up. I know Moriyanaam. I was very small then and one of his daughters was my classmate. When we went to high school the family shifted to Belman. I think still they have some property at Pilarkana. I wish Moriyanaam good health. Even my god father was having a gun and was a great hunter. His sons were not able to retain the gun and licence. Now there are only monkeys in pilarkana forest. Wild animals are very rare.

  • Marvin, mang/bangalore

    Thu, May 21 2009

    Really a good article deepak, and narrated really well.. In this modern age we youngsters hardly get to hear such stories would really appreciate if you could narrate more of his brave tales ,it would really inspire people..keep writing deepak .

  • Santa Singh, Amritsar

    Thu, May 21 2009

    I always keep wondering if we are glorifying the misdeeds of your ancestors as bravery. The cruel thought of beasts being baited and killed  chills my spine . Ordinarily would we not call it cowardice ?  It is good to be Human and humane.  Isn't it ? 

  • Pamela, Mangalore/UAE

    Thu, May 21 2009

    Indeed a very engaging and appealing write up. It was facinating to read about the hunting experience and also to know people and things of the past. Hope to read many more articles from you,keep up the good work.

  • Kishore & Roshni Noronha, Pamboor/Dubai

    Thu, May 21 2009

    Well done Dipu, very Well written article.we expect more articles from you...keep up the good work.

  • Kevin, Suratkal/UAE

    Thu, May 21 2009

    It feels nice when someone tries to dig stories from the past which would have otherwise , be dead and gone.We are so lost in this modern and materialist world that, we dont have time to appreciate small things like chirping of the birds or the first ray of the sun in the morning when it rises.

    Deepak''s attempt to portray life and difficulties of people in olden times is worth appreciating.All the kudos to the budding writer. Be it a leopard or a cheetah..its a wild animal ... Deepak we expect more articles from you...keep up the good work.

  • Kiran Gonsalves, Kundapur/Kuwait

    Thu, May 21 2009

    Dear Deepak, very nice article and equally well narrated. We can surely narrate this story (real) to our children. The modernisation of lifestyle has made us to lose the touch that we used to receive while listening to such stories from our elders. Keep it up Deppak.

  • Kevin, Suratkal/UAE

    Thu, May 21 2009

    It feels nice when someone tries to dig stories from the past which would have otherwise , be dead and gone.We are so lost in this modern and materialist world that, we dont have time to appreciate small things like chirping of the birds or the first ray of the sun in the morning when it rises.Deepak''s attempt to portray life and difficulties of people in olden times is worth appreciating.All the kudos to the budding writer.

    Be it a leopard or a cheetah..its a wild animal ... Deepak we expect more articles from you...keep up the good work.

  • Roy Vijay D'' Silva, Cordel / Dubai

    Thu, May 21 2009

    It is a Leopard and not a Cheetah. That Gun is known as a Muzzle loader.

  • Sonia Nimpa, Belman/Dubai

    Thu, May 21 2009

    Well done Dipu, very well narrated. Being his youngest daughter I am proud of my father and thanks to you for bringing this story. We all have been grown hearing this story and many more. Though it was happened before mine & your birth, your narration here is fantastic. Keep it up.

  • James Philip D''sa, Belman/Kuwait

    Thu, May 21 2009

    When I opend Dailjiworld I saw Moryanam the hunter headline and immediately started reading the article. It was nice to read about him. My brother Late.George D''sa worked with him as a tailor and use to go for hunting with his son''s. I have also enjoyed eating wild meat which my brother use to bring from his house. May God bless Moryanam with good health and long life.

  • Noel, Mangalore

    Thu, May 21 2009

    Liked the story. Anyone who knows of a story where they have seen ghosts or''masthi''( female) ghost>i am

  • Rakesh, Mangalore

    Thu, May 21 2009

    Brave man. Good article. Liked the narration of the hunt.

  • M. Georgeana, Pilar

    Thu, May 21 2009

    Yes Mr. Rohan, I am very close to Moryanams'' place, I didnt hear this before from anyone.

  • Joe, Bangalore

    Thu, May 21 2009

    Thats not a cheetah. Its a leopard! :) Whatever the case, he indeed was a brave man!

  • Rohan, Pernal

    Thu, May 21 2009

    Well written article. keep writing Deepak. Have heard about Moryanam, but the story is news to me.

  • Venkat, Mangalore/USA

    Sat, May 23 2009

    What''s the point in glorifying the habit of hunting or meat eating?

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