In 21st century India, celebrating the World Snake Day has great relevance. We, Indians believe in many myths, age-old superstitions about snakes; we associate snakes with supreme power, danger and revenge. Many widespread panic stories of snake revenges and snake charmers we are told. Our ancestors, it is said, had seen pesky snakes dancing to the tunes of snake charmers; and snakes lapping up milk! It is sad that a good number of people even today believe in these superstitions and myths as these are firmly established in the popular consciousness. What about today’s children? They stand out in their capacity to seek truth; they question these myths to find the truth or the logic behind them. The reason for this quest for truth is their curiosity and love for these sinuous, slimy beautiful creatures – snakes! Thus, the snake show held on 16 June, to celebrate the World Snake Day, marked its context and purpose. A show that was thoroughly entertaining and informative!It achieved its objectives of creating awareness about snakes and of breaking the superstitions about them. An organization called, ‘Friends of Snakes’ conducted the show. Almost all the geckos got to immensely enjoy it.
The show was a wonderful display of a few venomous and non-venomous snakes that are seen around; they described their food habits and behaviour patterns while displaying the snakes. The message that all snakes are not dangerous was conveyed to the geckos who sat circling the platform on which the display was going on. Explaining the myths related to each species exposing its illogical angle and at the same time debunking them, stirred the curiosity of the audience.
The first snakes that made their appearances were green and brown vine snakes. They stretched their upper body curiously out to the geckos, providing a closer look. The Common Sand Boa was introduced in comparison to the Russel Viper, as the latter differentiates itself from the other with the regular lunar marks over its body. The Checkered Keelback, the water snake, aggressive and the biting kind was the next among the non-venomous displayed. The longest snake, the rat snake made its entry then. Beating the beauty of the rat snake, the spectacular and majestic cobra made its entry. The geckos wowed its majesty hooting; and observed keenly the movements it made with its hood high – finally the snake charmer’s secret revealed – they geckos understood that cobras can’t dance to the tunes, their hoods just keep a track of the movements of the flute considering them as a threat!
What was truly admirable about the geckos as audience was the way they conducted themselves. Deeply interested in the display and the explanation, the informed geckos sat through the show, all silent and keenly sensitive and listening. During the question hour, questions of high relevance they poured over. The answers to the questions on the black mamba, the way the venom affects the human body and the treatment for snakebites, given by the members of the Friends of Snakes were informative to all who were present. It was enthralling to see the geckos sitting fearless and friendly to the creatures exhibited. As The Gaudium campus is home for a few pet animals, living in close proximity with pet animals is not new for the geckos. This may be the reason why they looked all sharing and caring as if they already knew Earth is home for both humans and animals that include snakes.
The beauty of living on Earth lies in living in harmony with animals – coexisting and letting them to live. The learning from this show was: snakes are just other creatures like many which own Earth equally. Only if disturbed, they cause us harm in fear of their life. It is our responsibility to let them live their lives as they own Earth as much as we own.
Some pictures of the event: