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Importance of snakes

Khushwant Singh, Aug 10, 2012 : 21:43 IST
I never murdered a snake, but killed a few by mistake by running over them. One was a large King Cobra in the Shivaliks which was crossing the road running from Kalka to Ambala.

Another a python between Dharampur and Kasauli. I ran over an adder on my bicycle in England going from my lodgings in Welwyn Garden City (Hertfordshire) to the Dellcot Tennis Club. One large one on a road in northern Italy. I came across a few while taking my evening strolls in Delhi and Kasauli.

I saved the life of one snake being chased by some boys armed with sticks and stones and lectured them on the important role snakes played in keeping the balance of nature. If all snakes were killed, the world would be infected with rats, mice and other vermin. I was provoked to write in defence of snakes after reading a learned article by Romulus Whitaker who runs snake farms in Madras Zoo and a snake-cum-crocodile farm on the coast of the Bay of Bengal.

We have around 300 species of snake in our country. Of these, only four are poisonous: Cobras, kraits, vipers and Russels vipers. Between them, they take of toll of around 45,000 human lives every year. The mortality figure could be brought down if we had snake bite serum readily available in village dispensaries. It needs to be injected in the body almost immediately after the sting to be effective. Delay in doing so proves fatal.Always keep in mind that snakes never attack humans; they only act in self-defence when attacked by humans. You respect them, they will respect you. Our ancients had it right: they defied snakes and called them Nag Devtas (Snake Gods)

Poet editor

Amongst the monthly journals, I receive is Poets International edited by Mohammed Fakruddin from Bangalore. Much of its selections of contributions sent by poets from different parts of the world are beyond my comprehension. I have not been able to come to terms with Zen or Haiku. But the latest issue of June 2012 has one by the editor which I found very moving:
Stranded in a thick forest in dark night,Away from my city under skylight;Found myself walking all alone on roadExcept tense mind nothing I could afford;
Darkness scared me, but my courage withinEnriched my thoughts to face crisis, mind’s strain;Being helpless, yet while walking, at onceHeard roaring machine sound at a distance;
The sound reached on road gradually near me,It was an old bus which made me happy;Stretched my hand up helplessly to stop itFor a life; the driver slowed down a bit;
A hand from inside through window reached me,Caught the hand, stepped on footboard in jiffy;There was no door, but found it to my right,In moving bus, I entered with delight;
Occupied the rear seat beside a manWho lend his helping hand, like star of dawn!Lifted me up, in the wilderness at last,From the abyss where I found myself lost!

Right cure

Morris, an 82-year-old man went to the doctor, to get a physical check-up. A few days later, the doctor saw Morris walking down the street with a gorgeous young woman on his arm. A couple of days later the doctor spoke to Morris and said, ‘You’re really doing great aren’t you?’

Morris replied, ‘Just doing what you said, Doc: ‘Get a hot mamma and be cheerful.”The doctor said, ‘I didn’t say that.... I said, ‘You’ve got a heart murmur, be careful!

Medical expertise

Medical Professor: If a girl becomes unconscious, give her lip-lock to blow air in her lungs and keep on pressing her chest with both your hands. Any questions?Santa Singh: How to make her unconscious?

Eye trouble

A woman filed a case against a hospital stating that after treatment her husband lost interest in her. Doctor: We only corrected his eye sight and did nothing else.

(Contributed by Vipin Buckshey, New Delhi)

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