‘I lived all my childhood in a small village. Raised by a farmer, my acquaintance with snakes befell early in life. I was one of those kids was thoroughly intrigued by their sheer variety and potency. With dad’s assurances and help, I had taken a liking to them, creatures. I caught them with ease and agility. I even could make them sway to my tune, when required. I was nick named ‘walking-encyclopedia.’ Holding the title of an expert charmer, I got called in to catch them, occasionally. I would go and maneuver the situation.
Raman my friend would invariably be there. That was not it. He wouldn’t just stand there and observe the goings on, but would micro manage the situation and me, tossing free suggestions. ‘Go from your left…, there it is…, hit it…, grab it… but, would never come anywhere closer to 40 feet from the crawling creature.
Befriending him, I tolerated his annoying remarks for long.
People think it is easy to maneuver a snake. Everyone just talks about it after the fact. If they had to do it, they would run miles away. They talk boastfully of themselves once the situation is under control. They narrate how they would have done it or even worse, how I should have done it!
I had enough of it. I decided to teach Raman a lesson.
One day, I got called in. I went, caught my friend and took it into the nearby fields to let go of him. An idea flashed in my head. I whistled and came back to where my friend Raman was.
I was wearing a long sleeves shirt and the sleeves were pulled the entire length of my arms and he could not see the snake twining my left arm.
Raman and my other friends were at a tea stall smoking and chatting. I quietly stood by Raman and said, ‘Raman look here,’ and raised my arm, rolling my sleeve up. He took one look at me, the snake, froze, then spat my arm away, screamed and sprinted away – all in a minute. He could put a record holding sprinter at an Olympics to shame. That was probably the first time in his life, he ever saw a snake that close. He was just two feet from the animal.
Later he told me, ‘Nash, you scared the hell out of me man, you are great. I can never do what you can. I literally peed in my pants. And you’ll be ‘The man that made me achieve that feat… ‘
I said, ‘I am so sorry for doing that. I didn’t mean to scare you.’
He held my hands in his and smiled.