Gargari and Ghanashyam - or - no fooling around at Kalapukurdanga!

Gargari is a big yellow female cobra. Ghanashyam is also a cobra, but is grey - almost black. They were inhabitants of our plot long before we came here - they own the plot. The villagers living by our side do not disturb them - to them snakes have a right to live. Of course they do!

We have a kind of cornice all around our house to discourage snakes from getting into the house, but they have a free run of the compound. The funny thing is that they generally try to maintain a low profile and not to be in the way.

I believe in telepathy - or at least in some kind of communication between brains. I can't help it - it seems so natural and obvious. One day, Gargari was trodden upon inadvertently by Bama. She was hurt quite badly but did not bite! She did have a lizard in her mouth but she really has a big mouth and would certainly have struck. But even more importantly, once Bama felt her thrashing under his foot and jumped away, Gargari did not try to dash away! She just moved slowly to the bush nearby and remained there for a long time, in full view of Bama. So she knew that there was no danger. This, I believe, is trust!

She laid 15 eggs one day. We destroyed and buried them. For two or three days, Gargari went about searching and moping for her young ones. Bama said to my wife: "She is probably hungry. Shall I give her some milk?" Of course, snakes probably don't drink milk, but Bama is a Santhal, who are often quite brutal with animals. Has Samita's teaching been useful after all?

Ghanashyam has been near my feet quite a few times. A really decent fellow, he (or she?) maintains a low profile and quickly darts into the bushes at the side when we approach.

Some day I will keep a phial of anti-venom serum in the house, but now we do not have a refrigerator! So we stay carefully, respectfully and try our best to share space with our two fearsome friends.