Sneaking snakes

It is not unusual to spot snakes in Indian villages and we all know well that the foreigners identify India with snakes and the now extinct snake charmers. Then, why such a brouhaha when a tiny and ‘sportive’ one was found welcoming the guests in the Commonwealth Games village? We urbanise the village by building modern townships and still play the game of naming it a ‘village’ with no regard for its natives. Didn’t D H Lawrence treat a snake as a guest and feel honoured when it came to quench its thirst from the pit in his house? He didn’t kill it fearing curse from God as it happened with the Ancient Mariner (of his poem, ‘Snake’).

In the village where I live we frequently come across cobras. Every time my neighbour returns home after a brief visit to another city, the first thing he asks me is: “how many did you see and how often” referring to the menace of these reptiles. And every other day we watch TV programmes about a variety of snakes and their behaviour.

I have heard about lizards getting inside the personal computers. Recently I saw the photo of snake Shyam rescuing a python from Infosys, Mysore campus. Last year I read about a cobra being found around a computer in Wipro’s Hyderabad office, three years back one tiny snake accidentally entered into my friend’s PC and got electrocuted. Poor fellow, unable to swallow the mouse, reached the website looking for ‘spider’ and tragically lost his life! On another occasion when this friend of mine returned home after a trip from abroad, he noticed the discarded skin of a snake inside his washing machine. Did it know that someone would wash its ‘chattai’ in the machine? Are they becoming tech savvy?

In and around Mangalore, which is called the Parasurama kshetra, I heard that the locals, to whichever faith they belong to, never kill the snakes. And as we worship the statues of cobras in temples and feed the cobras with milk and pray on naga panchami days, early this year devotees in a Siva temple, Tamil Nadu, watched with reverence a cobra entering the sanctum-sanctorum, resting on the deity, a siva lingam, praying the lingam and without disturbing any one. This was widely reported in the media.
Pious, sportive and tech savvy, like us the snakes too are in every field.

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