India · Personal

A Slithery Saturday

Hello everyone! First off I have extremely good reasons for not having posted the past two weeks. I was out of town on an impromptu vacation to Srinagar, Kashmir. And work has been equally exciting with patient visits that made me feel very detective like. But while I’m dying to tell you about the wonderful time I had in Kashmir, I cannot stop thinking about the 22 snakes that were caught near our home yesterday.

Yes, 18 Rat snakes, 2 Cobras, and 2 Kraits were caught near the park where we go walking every evening and near the trees where my cousin plays hide n’ seek with his friends. It was astonishing to have caught 22 snakes in one morning in only one corner of the campus. But what unhinged our jaws was the method used to accomplish this feat. You’ll never believe it – I didn’t until I saw it for myself – snake charmers!

It all started when someone from one of our hospital campuses complained about the frequent appearance of snakes. This was followed by the summoning of snake charmers, of whose “charms” almost every urbanite I know is skeptical of. For me, snake charmers have never been much more than regular men in colourful turbans who’ve been made exotic for tourists and cartoons. It was impossible to believe that they actually “charmed” snakes!

Anyway, back to the story, it wasn’t like the snake charmers had come to our campus before or brought any snakes with them to catch, for our benefit. Everyone knew that. So when they began to play their pipes and charm snakes out of their secret places it was more than a little unnerving. It turns out that the vibrations caused by the sound of the pipes that the snake charmers play has something to do with “charming” the snakes. 

The snake charmers who came to catch the snakes wore a heavy large cloth draped over their clothing (how they managed to do so in this heat I’ll never know!) so that when the snake struck at them it only struck cloth. Once the snakes were caught they would be wrapped up in cloth – apparently this makes snakes feel safe and helps them settle down – and then put away.

What happened yesterday was an eye opener. I never imagined that snake charmers were authentic! The thought did occur to me that it would be handy to take a picture or a video for my blog. But when the snake charmers began unwrapping the snakes to count them, and the snakes became uncomfortably active for the casual bystander to watch, that thought flew right out of my head. Incredible India or what! After this little incident I haven’t been able to stop thanking God for the two mongoose that live in our garden!

I’m looking forward to sharing my next post which is also about Incredible India but is definitely more pleasant to think about – Kashmir!

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9 thoughts on “A Slithery Saturday

  1. oh my gosh ! thats really “unhinging the jaw” action taking place ! And this changed my view of Snake charmers as well ,,,,,,,, REALLY MAN !!!
    Yes, And Thank God for the mongoose;):)
    Waiting for your next write-up on Kashmir :))

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  2. Wow! I’ve definitely learned something from you today! I had no idea that snake charming really worked. Thank you for sharing a little bit of life in India. To someone on the other side of the globe it does indeed sound exotic!

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  3. Holy schmoly! Must have been pretty exciting watching the snake charmers work their magic & get the snakes slithering out – despite themselves. Tho’ I’m still not very sure if I’d have liked to be there ……. keep the mongoose..

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  4. To be honest I was confused, so I made it a point to look up the plural of mongoose before posting. Apparently both mongooses and mongeese are accepted terms, though mongeese is used in fewer instances.

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