A big cobra was the last one that came wriggling only to be caught and confined by its captor. The hissing noise ceased to be heard any more from around our house. Snakes don’t hiss anymore these days— they’re calling you babe, bro, sister!
By Nazarul Islam
Long time ago in the early fifties, I had accompanied Amma to my Mama’s house. Theirs was one of the three spacious houses within a vast compound in a residential locality called, Shyam Bazaar. Flanking our house on one side was a sprawling kitchen garden awash with a variety of vegetables, tended by my mother. On the other side, there was a circular patch of land with undergrowth.
A vast grazing field was right opposite our house, providing a grazing field for the cattle. A common driveway from the road led to each of the houses. None of the three houses had electrical connection in those days.
In one of the spacious rooms in my house, there were two big wooden racks groaning with books, two revolving shelves packed with them and some split onto a table and chair, besides four steel trunks, each bursting with bundles of old clothes, family shin Raj, and prescriptions of my late, great grandfather written on old paper. He was the Hakim Saheb, a proud assistant of Hakim Ajmal Khan in Delhi.
A boy of nine and the oldest among my siblings, I loved to sleep cuddling up to my mother. That fateful hour, fumbling for my mom in the dead of night I woke up. She whispered to me that a loud swish from outside, had disturbed her slumber. She caught hold of a torchlight and focused its beam through the window, asking me to go back to sleep.
Curious to know what it was all about, I stood behind her and kept peeking outside. The sight of a mongoose hopping from side to side before a big cobra with its broad hood raised high, trying to attack sent a chill down my spine. Probably not so full-grown to stand against the snake in a fight, the mongoose bolted. Terror-stricken I had snuggled into my bedsheet.
The very next morning, my loving mother managed to get a snake charmer at our house. As the snake-charmer guy started playing enchanting music on his bamboo pipe, serpents of different sorts came wriggling towards him from all nooks and crannies around our house. A boy, maybe his assistant quite gingerly trapped them one by one in baskets. A sizeable big cobra appearing to be not less than seven feet long was the last one that came wriggling only to be caught and confined by its captor.
The hissing noise ceased to be heard any more from around our house!
Fast forward, the Lesson learned: Snakes don’t hiss anymore these days— they’re calling you babe, bro, sister & BFF
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