For the first time in my life I saw a seven metre cobra out of protected surroundings, last Saturday. Where? At the office!!
When I saw it of course, it was nothing like the picture above (with due credit to reuters). And I guess it was a kind of anti climax, watching the snake being pulled irreverently out of the glove compartment of an old- rattling Bajaj scooter.
The owner of the scooter apparently found the cobra while digging on his land somewhere in Ambattur. He found the snake in a ditch, lying un-characteristically inactive. Emboldened, he picked up the reptile, shoved it into the box of his Bajaj and went from newspaper office to newspaper office exhibiting his booty!
Which is how he turned up at our gates too. By then he had done four offices, with poor Slytherin (as a Harry Potter fan, how else can I call a snake?) riding in the front, choked, rattled and fatigued by the heat and the journey. In addition, he had to put up with the ignominy of being exhibited at every stop. Not surprisingly though, the poor bugger was all but dead when he got to our office.
A colleague called up the forest ranger and he drove over with the official snake catchers. Slytherin, meanwhile, tired out by the highly unflattering routine he was being subjected to, could not even lift his hood up.
The ranger was livid at the treatment meted out to the snake. He told the Bajaj owner that he could have been arrested for possession of the cobra and possibly, for killing it. At the end of this conversation, Bajaj owner lost his bravado and meekly handed over his trophy to the snake catchers.
"It has been badly affected by all the jolting and heat of the scooter box, completely worn out. We have to release it into the wild immediately and see if it survives," the Ranger said.
I hope Slytherin will live to hiss his tale.