Thursday, March 5, 2009

#12. Remebering snakes, scorpions and monitor lizards

Reading about a so-called snake catcher demanding a large sum of money from a Bangalore resident who had to shell it out for him to catch the snake from his house reminds me of an incident year before last at my residence. There was a young servant who one day comes and tells me that at the rear entrance to our house, there is a huge snake. Decades ago when I used to go to my father's village in Latehar dist in Jharkhand during summer vaction when the holidays spilled over to the rainy season, we used to get a number of snakes and scorpions in our tiled house. I remember that even the tribals of those interior areas were not able to catch the snakes and we generally allowed them to go out of our house. I remember one large cobra hissing when he saw people around. Another few fell into the well. In such cases the bucket with the long pole and a stone at the other end (I forget its name now, it was probably called daandi in local language) was kept in the water for an hour or so, and when the snake was in the bucket it was pulled and thrown away from the body. I remeber one such snake turned and tried to attack on the servant, and that man dared not go near it. It could be a krait. Scorpions were mostly killed- the small greyish and the large dark brown ones. Any way this time I took my walking stick, and hoped for the best. I am no snake catcher, and I do'nt know how to deal with an emergency if it comes. When I reached the entrance from the front I saw that it was a biggish monitor lizard..It suddenly charged at me sensing danger. The only thing that came to my mind at that time was to reverse the stick and hoped that I will be able to fend it off like with a hockey stick. Any way seeing the stick in the air, the monitor veered its course and ran to the back garden. I tried to search for it, but I couldn't trace where it went. Later in Daniel's book I read that monitor lizards though not poisonous have curved teeth which gets stuck when they bite you, and is difficult to extricate. I remebered from the story about Shivaji's attack on some fort where the monitors were used to climb the walls of the rampart.