Category Archives: Reptiles

A City-Bred Cobra

First of July 2017 will remain etched in my memory for many years to come. 

It was on this day that I witnessed a black cobra striking a pose for the shutterbugs, just like Aishwarya Rai on the red carpet at the Cannes Film Festival (see pic below). If this doesn’t surprise you, here’s something more. The cobra arrived at our car workshop in great style, like a VIP,  in a BMW car!

The car’s owner (see pic above, the man wearing a pink shirt) pointed to the car and said, “I saw the snake entering from the bottom, near the axle. Please get it removed.” 

In spite of the gravity of the situation, he didn’t sound too perturbed and he seemed to have complete confidence in our capabilities.

My team and I were, however, very much taken aback as we had never handled this kind of a problem before. We were, in fact, already quite frazzled. Our systems were paralyzed as implementation of GST, the new single tax structure,  the so-called ‘Good and Simple Tax,’ was in progress. Our staff members were malingering around as work had ground to a halt. 

The matter was immediately escalated to top management as the After Sales Manager had left his job a month ago. Their advice was, “Let the Head Technician handle this.”

It was in the middle of this chaos that the car was quickly transferred from the flat bed truck to a car lift. It was obvious that something had to be done fast before the cobra leaped out of the car and slithered into our premises. 

Once the car was hoisted for inspection, our Head Technician flashed his torch into the underbody. The cobra reacted very strongly to this by raising its head menacingly through the axle, keeping its tail stubbornly coiled around the shock absorber. The Technician stepped back with a start and exclaimed, “Yes, it’s there.” A lot of employees who had been watching the proceedings earlier with great amusement hastily retreated into the safe confines of the closed office doors. The Technician also gave up and came inside.

Being a Customer Relations Manager, I had to get this sorted out soon. So I walked up to the Technician and suggested that we call in the wild life guys. After a frantic Google search and desperate telephone calls, we managed to contact the right people. They said they will reach in another 40 minutes, so we need to remain at a safe distance and watch out just in case it crawls away. They kept their promise. They were poised and confident and as you can see from the photos, even the cobra seemed to be quite awe-struck by their personalities. In just 30 minutes, they managed to draw the snake into a red bag, but not without letting us click lots of pics while it stood with its head held upright, proud and dignified, every bit a naag devta (Serpent God). 

I hope this cobra is well and safe. Because of fast urbanization, a lot of snakes are being thrown out of their homes. Homeless and starved, they crawl around and find themselves in precarious situations like the one I have described here.

Copyright: Jasbir Chatterjee

The Story Of An Alien

lizard guest.png

Last night, I had this strange lizard for company. With huge, black eyes she stared at me while I took out rice for dinner from the big steel canister kept on the low stool above her. In spite of all the noise I made during opening and closing of the jar, she remained where she was without winking and budging from her position…

Sometimes reptiles behave very strangely, don’t they? Well, this was what I thought that night.

Here is an account of what happened subsequently…

The following night, however, I had to change my perception. As soon as I opened the door, I was alarmed to see that the same lizard was still there in the same pose. My daughter Nanni suggested that she really must be dead. I had no other option left but to bring a broom and nudge her with it. She remained passive and now she was beginning to stink too. Yes, I was now absolutely sure that she was dead. This was the first time I had seen a dead lizard from so close quarters and I wondered how she could have fallen into this state.

Nanni exclaimed, “Mom, don’t you remember? Yesterday we had called in Pest Control guy to get rid of termites inside our guest bedroom. This lizard must have died because of the fumes from the poisonous spray!”

I felt bad, but I was helpless and I had to get rid of this lizard. Gently, I picked up the piece of paper which had the lizard’s corpse and placed it inside the dustbin kept outside in our balcony. As chance would have it, the dustbin was full right up to its brim as the garbage guy hadn’t come that day. Next morning, when I came out on the balcony, my gaze fell on the dustbin. The paper had fallen out of the dustbin and was floating around with the morning breeze. The lizard had disappeared. Perhaps it was gobbled up by a cat…

Now brace yourself for some more pics below of the dead lizard. They are not meant for the weak-hearted. Photography, I must say, makes you callous and you tend to look at everything in wide-eyed wonder. Nothing shocks you any more.

lizard 2

 

lizard 3

As you can see below, the lizard just disappeared!

lizard 4 paper