Tag Archives: college adventure

A little ‘hiss’tory

15 Nov

It appears like I had requested God before he put me on earth, that no matter what happens in my life, it shall not happen without a great deal of drama, twists & turns or adventure (with a choice of picking any one or all of these)….

…to which he consented!

And thus began all the trouble for my near & dear ones…

One (not so) fine day, when I had to go to college to collect my hall ticket, I realized I had no friends for company and as a last resort, I asked my mom to join me. My mom is always wary to involve herself in anything that involves me! She at first tried to politely excuse herself, but soon realized that she wasn’t given any choice. Not happy at all and with a grumpy look, she joined me but not before giving me her customary warnings. Happy that I now had a company, we hailed a rickshaw to our college.

I joined the queue as fast as I could (‘cos I wanted to be done with this task as early as it ever could). My mom stood beside me. I could see that she was trying hard to avoid the many professors who were walking up and down the corridor like caged lions and equally menacing.

Just then, there was a commotion outside, on the campus. I was very, VERY curious to go see what it was all about, but couldn’t risk losing my turn in the queue and in turn prolong the entire ordeal. That would amount to too much of a torture. Unable to contain my curiosity any more, I got my junior to go see what was happening and then let me know (yeah, I occasionally used to show my ‘seniority’ around 😉 ).

She came back saying that a snake had slithered on to the campus and there were attempts being made to rescue it.

‘Rescue’? Did I hear her right?

Now, this was quite hard for me to believe. Many animals, among which snakes top the chart, are revered in my country. But this does not guarantee their safety or well being. The irony is, the stone idols of snakes are worshiped & respected, but when people come across a real one, it is almost instantly clubbed to death without even giving the poor creature a chance to escape….

Maybe the times have changed and the people have evolved I thought. However, I wanted to be sure about this thought of mine. I was only 6 persons away from getting my hall ticket, when I decided to bolt across to the campus outside, lest it becomes too late. My mother was flabbergasted. Not able to figure out what she should do, she decided to come after me. I reached outside to find a 25 something group of men surrounding a small Indian cobra. I joined them eagerly, to see how they’d rescue the little fellow and was scanning the group for anyone who looked like a professional snake catcher, especially since a potentially dangerous snake was involved. To my disappointment, there was no one in that group who looked professional nor a snake catcher, forget ‘professional snake catcher’ with snake catching forceps in hand. I was still trying to figure out what exactly was happening when one of the persons from that crowd, threw a massive stone at the little one, narrowly missing crushing its head. This made the little snake extremely furious and it starting hissing menacingly & delivered several bites to that stone & the ground. That was when I was horrified and realized that there was no ‘rescue’ operation going on there. No wonder I had my doubts about it! I decided to give that junior of mine, a piece of my mind the next time I meet her. This group was actually discussing amongst themselves, if it was fine to kill a cobra and if not, what would be price for committing such a grave sin. One ‘wise’ man from the crowd said it was okay to kill it as long as its head is instantaneously crushed, failing which the killer shall be damned for many births (I think its 12 number of births) & rebirths with immense misfortune, childlessness & other stuffs that would guarantee a miserable life.

I freaked out! So, the poor snake had managed to stay alive all this while, only because of the many superstitions that surrounded it. The ‘to kill or not to kill such a revered snake’ discussion by the insane crowd had kept it alive for that long. That little snake should really be thankful that it was born a cobra and not some other, like a rattle snake or something, as that crowd wouldn’t have spared even a wink’s time before bludgeoning it to its death. The reason being, there isn’t any special provision for rattle snakes in the ‘Indian Superstitious Beliefs’, unlike the cobra. I was now pitted alone against these 25 or so ruffians like hostile men (hostile to the snake). The snake had only me in its favour.

My mom was equally worried too, worried for the snake and worried for the only person who sought its welfare- ‘me’! How was I ever going to save this little reptile? It then occurred to me that even new born baby cobras are equipped with enough venom to kill an adult human being (thanks to channels like NGC, Discovery & Animal planet). These dreadful things are sadistically reminded to you by the brain when you least what them. I don’t even know how to go near a snake without getting bitten by it, let alone attempting something as foolhardy as trying to catch one and that too a cobra! I wished I had taken some training in the same and mentally topped it on my bucket list.

I was desperately browsing my phone for numbers of some of my animal activist friends, when another person from the crowd, a uniformed cabbie- who was carrying himself like Tom Cruise trying to the save the only living planet, walked in front of the snake with a huge wooden club in his hand. How the hell did he find such an effective snake killing equipment so quickly? He was about to do what he wanted to do with a big club in hand and a venomous snake on the ground… when I yelled at him. Words came out my mouth like reflex action, even before it reached my brain for any editing. I glared & yelled at him to get back and leave the snake alone. The startled crowd only then took notice of me and that was when I noticed that mom & me were the only two from the opposite gender. From the corner of my eye, I could see that the little cobra was exhausted from all the ferocious hissings & the fake bites (or maybe real) that it gave as an act of self defense.

The crowd was not happy at all with my interference. One of them menacingly asked me if the snake should be allowed to remain on the college premises, to which the other tightened his grip around the club. This was starting to appear like a losing battle to me. Not knowing what to do & how to do, I told them that I would take the snake away from there and ensure our mutual safety. That was when I think I distantly heard several laughter emit from within the crowd. The ‘wise’ man of that crowd spoke again- ‘this girl is going to get herself killed, so before she does anything suicidal, let us kill that snake & be done with it!’. My mother was beginning to get paranoid and started calling out to me.

Frustration & desperation got the better of me, when I confidently told, rather lied to the crowd that I was trained in catching snakes and that I knew exactly what I was doing. My mother’s jaw dropped and she was dumbstruck. What on earth was her irrational daughter planning to do now? She looked like she was about to have a nervous breakdown.

To me, the fear of having to see this beautiful snake’s head crushed was far greater than my own fear of getting bitten by it. I couldn’t imagine having this precious little one brutally killed right before my eyes. My mom didn’t know what to do and was very, very worried about what I had gotten myself into. As the crowd suspiciously watched me, I looked around for anything that would help me get this little reptile out of trouble. Not finding any, apart from an arm long twig, I said a small prayer & gently slid it under the little one and picked it up (I hoped the little angry snake wouldn’t strike me, esp. not after I told the crowd that I was a trained snake catcher. That would amount to too much of an embarrassment to die with on your head).

Anyways, that act of mine was enough to unnerve the crowd and many hurriedly left the place. Thank God, I thought, lesser idiots to deal with! I now had to find something to put the snake into. A close to fifteen minute search of the entire campus went in vain, for I could find nothing to put the snake into (all the while I was hoping & praying the snake wouldn’t either voluntarily or involuntarily fall off the twig that I held it on).  Suddenly, a young boy who seemed concerned both for the snake and me offered help by offering me a white color translucent plastic bag. I was immensely grateful. He held the bag open, while I quickly managed to slide the angry little creature inside & tied a knot to it. I thanked the young boy and ran to my mom who was as worried as anybody could ever be. We quickly made our way out of the college, as I did not want any more confrontations with any more idiots- be it the old or new ones.

We boarded a rickshaw and hurriedly left the place. My mom sat at a distance, maintaining a healthy distance from me & the plastic bag that I held, as she felt that the little snake inside was so furious that it could actually strike her from within the plastic bag, by puncturing the plastic cover with its venomous fangs. As the sunlight passed through the cover, it was easy for us to see the shadow of snake, sitting inside the cover with its hood raised, alert &  hissing. This only freaked my mother more and she scolded me to hold the bag away from both her and me. Since it was a hot summer afternoon, I felt the temperature inside the plastic bag could soon rise to fatal levels; I loosened the knot of the plastic cover a little bit, in order to facilitate some ventilation for the creature that was inside it. Seeing this, my mom was so horror struck that she looked like she would fall out of the rickshaw we were travelling in and this attracted the driver’s attention, much to my embarrassment.

We stopped near a densely wooded, deserted ground where we had decided to free the snake. I paid the driver and ensured he was off with it. Mom & me then found a suitable place amidst dense shrubs to let go of our little reptilian friend. But then I realised there was another problem. How was I going get the snake out of the bag? What if it decided to bite me on its way out, as it was very mad with our kind…? Thank god, this same though did not occur to mom too, else she would have raised an alarm herself! So, pretending to be very confident about what I was doing (again), I asked her to maintain good distance between us. My mom, with bated breath, was looking at me, like as if she was watching a bomb that would soon blow off. My mind was continually chanting all the little prayers it knew in the background, hoping that I’d live to see the next day and to tell the tale. I cautiously held the plastic bag away from me, untied the knot first & held it. Then with my other hand below the bag, I quickly turned the bag upside down, so the snake inside would fall off from within. It worked!

The little cobra fell on to the soft grass below. I tried to get the mobile phone out from the pocket of my jeans, as fast as I could so I could capture its picture in memory of this day, like an autograph from it or something. To my greatest surprise, the little cobra, stopped in its tracks, turned back to look at me for one last time, before it disappeared into the woods like lightening on a typical rainy day. I did manage to click its picture just in time & before it left, rather vanished.

Excited, I ran back to my mom & showed her the picture that I managed to take of the snake’s on my phone’s camera & hugged her. She had tears of joy in eyes, happy to have both her daughter and the little snake alive & doing well.

Whoever would have thought that a simple task of collecting my hall ticket would manifest itself into an adventure this fatal and that we’d return from my college with a snake in a plastic bag, instead of a duly stamped hall ticket! phew!

As for the hall ticket, I collected it the following day (with my friends for company of course, ‘cos I couldn’t dare to ask my mom to join me again, not after what I had put her through the previous day!).


When I turn back and look at this incident, I’m always left baffled, for I know for certain that this deadly little snake could have bitten me more than twice throughout the entire ordeal, if it wanted to (first, when I tried picking it on a twig; next- when I was scouring the campus ground with ‘the snake atop a twig’ in hand, for anything that I could put it in & lastly, when it was finally released), but it chose not to! I wonder why? Could it say the difference between my intentions from those of the crowd? Could it really understand? Did it actually co-operate with me, for it knew I wasn’t going to harm it, but instead would take it to safety? Any harassed creature would flee at its first opportunity to freedom. Why then did this little snake stop and turned to look at me for one last time before it left? Anyways, there shall always remain some questions, the answers to which shall never be known…

Today, although I still haven’t managed to train myself at snake catching, I do keep the phone numbers of professional snake catchers handy at all times.

Here's the pic that I captured on my Nokia 3110

Here’s the pic that I captured on my Nokia 3110

An impersonator, gift wrapped & sent from heaven!

24 Oct

-A tale of a God sent impersonator-

As ever, it was I who decided that we must be bunking* our Financial Accountancy class that day and Salma, as ever wasn’t very happy about my decision. Sitting in the class feigning interest in the subject that was being taught, was the last thing that I wanted to be doing that day. For some reason (I hope to investigate that reason soon), numbers have always scared me. They managed to give me nightmares that nothing else could ever give. I used to get recurring dreams of a math monster chasing me for several kilometers before finally getting me. I quickly manage to always wake up from the dream as soon as the monster grabbed me, cos it’s far too scary for me to continue to see the dream, in order to learn what happened to me next! I censor my dreams, when they get too gory, oh yes I do. Anyways, let’s keep math out of my blog. That’s one thing that would never get the privilege to feature in my blog! No, not now, not ever! For the nth time – I hate you, maths!

Salma, however, though not a great lover of anything that involves numbers either, wanted to attend that FA class, ‘cos she was beginning to suspect that we have a drought in our attendance record, esp. in that subject. Continuing to bunk those classes would prove suicidal, she knew. But I was never the one to give up, nor worry over petty issues like attendance and its shortage. Another reason why hated attending this particular class was because, by attending it, I’d horrifyingly realize how little i knew of the subject and realization would quickly dawn on me (usually within the first 5 minutes of commencement of the class) that chances of passing in this subject was very bleak-  as bleak as trying to find a hay colored needle well camouflaged in a haystack! That would be too much of a disappointment to be facing every day. I’d be better off without that. Moreover, when in my life time, would i ever need to practically be doing some financial accounting? Never!  I had already made up my mind about this one. Anything but Accounts for me!

Therefore, why insult the poor lecturer and his subject by not paying enough attention in his class, was how i defended my case. I had better things to do, better plans hatched rather than attend some class, where i’d only be physically present but my mind would have taken off. My plans usually were like this- browse and purchase some really interesting books, spend some ‘quality’ time at a cafe coffee joint with our seniors, do a bit of window shopping (‘cos mostly we’d be broke from injudicious spending of our pocket money & to get an idea for what I must be nagging my parents to get me for my upcoming birthday), stage or participate in protests against animal cruelty, launch a surprise visit & rescue exotic birds & animals from from an infamous pet market which was around 6kms from college, visit our local animal  shelter & donate our old clothes, which would help keep the pups warm during winter; run amok on a street in Gandhibazar, famous for eateries, not able to make up our minds on what we should begin feasting on first; sneak out to my roof terrace & perch ourselves atop the water tank, from where we used to get a grand view of our ‘then very green’ city and discuss some serious philosophy (I’m saying this with a straight face, promise) and trust me, my mom would not even have a clue that her daughter was right there on the terrace; visit the famous Jain temple near my place and enjoy its sheer beauty & tranquility in total silence, etc. Ah well, there is no end to that (maybe I’ll consider writing a new post exclusively on my creative ideas to spend time whilst on a college bunk! 😉 ). Anyways, it was our conscious effort to not make boyfriends, though many proposals came our way. We were in no hurry nor desperate for a boyfriend. There is always a time & a phase of our lives meant for that, we believed.  We had enough very dear friends who were ‘boys’ though.

Salma, no matter how much she’d hate me for saying this, never ever managed to win many arguments with me. That day was no special day for her either, ‘cos we bunked and bunked not just the FA class but the entire second half of our college session, thanks to me. We saw a movie that we knew was a disaster at the box office, but that was okay. It was better than our FA class and its torture, i figured. We both could have actually made for good movie critics, ‘cos each time we watched a movie that we had already seen before, our comments on the actors, their costumes, movie plot, direction and other things movie related, only got better and better and more professional. My parents would have taken me straight to psychiatrist had I expressed my desire to become a ‘movie critic’. That line of career wasn’t even recognized back then, let alone being accepted. That was one reason I decided to keep mum about my various career options and plans. I did not want my parents to either faint or rush me to a doctor specialized in psychiatry.

Our college lives went on this way. I guess it would be wrong to say ‘college lives’, cos we rarely were in it. Soon our first year in college, or rather out of it, came to an end. Our classmates, mostly nerds were busy preparing for the exams, which according to me was still a long way to go. Two ‘long’ months away! My father ensured i joined a college like that (with many nerds in it), hoping against the dimmest hope, that in the company of those nerds, his notoriously mischievous daughter would be forced to become one too. This unfortunately was never was the case. Instead a few nerds, threw away their nerdy glasses and begged to join our ‘fun’ gang. According to me, only the seriously psychos would commence studies that early. According to my other classmates, however, with barely two countable months to go, i was the seriously psycho, to have not even purchased the prescribed text books needed to study and subsequently pass in the exams that followed. Well, people always look crazier on the other side! (don’t ask me, ‘of what?’, it’s definitely not fence, ‘cos thank god my college compound had no fence, else it would have my task of escaping from there more difficult, though not impossible!). God has always been kind to me, for somehow, i always manage to pass the examinations & get some decently good results.  That year was no different either. Thank you God! Continue to bless me this way & I’ll continue to make you proud! 🙂

It was that time of the year again- ‘pay the exam fees, collect the hall ticket and suffer a panic attack at the end of it’, with me being an exception to the last one of course. Both Salma and I collected money from our parents to pay towards our exam fees. With a faked expression of a ‘serious nerd’ on my face (i told you that we watched a lot of movies), I collected money from my dad, who seemed to love that expression on my face, but only after adding a few hundreds extra to the prescribed exam fees in order to facilitate our fun escapades outside college. Poor dad would soon be disappointed, when once the results are declared, i thought. But then that would be long enough time for him to recollect the expression i wore on my face while i was ‘extracting’ money from him, so no problem.

We then went to college to pay our fees, when the office staff flatly refused to give us the examination forms, saying we were both pathetically low on our attendance and that we had to meet the principal along with our respective parents and take a written permission from him, before being allowed to sit for our exams. It did not come much as a surprise to me, for i had always expected it. But this was too much for Salma who hailed from a very conservative family. For that matter, i am from a super conservative family myself too, but my poor family forgot all about how to continue to be conservative, soon after my birth into its family tree. My sympathies to my parents (and i really mean it). Salma knew and feared that should her parents learn about her college escapades, she would be made to discontinue college and a hunt for a suitable groom for her would commence with immediate effect. These thoughts made tears well up in her eyes. Now, this was too much for me too, as this meant losing a friend and that too, too soon, barely after one year into college. I had to do something about it. This issue wasn’t much of a problem for me, as my parents had by now become immune to the various shocks that i was capable of giving them, only the voltages differed each time- sometimes less, sometimes fatally powerful. I knew my mother would surely bail me out of this situation, although it’s a different issue that she’d try her best to thoroughly make me regret for it, but that’s a small price you sometimes pay for fun, fun that comes once in a lifetime and and too only when you are young. So, that was completely fine by me.

Though not as dumb as the now extinct dodo, my principal wasn’t that much of a fool either, to not recognize my mother if she were to meet him again as Salma’s mother. So pleading for my mom’s help in this situation was ruled out. Who else could then rescue my friend, her education and her right to be single for a few more years… and most importantly, save our friendship from a potential ‘unnatural’ marriage to Salma!? Damn! I shouldn’t have made Salma bunk so much!

We walked out of the campus pondering of ways to save the day. I made a quick call to my mom and asked her to come to my college, to do what she had been doing for several years now (from the time i was enrolled to school, to be precise)- meeting my principals and hearing to their complaints about me. She was furious as ever, but she had no choice but to come and meet my principal. It would take her half hour’s time to reach our college. I, at least, was assured of my hall ticket. But what about Salma? We were deeply lost in thoughts and ideas to save Salma, when suddenly to my own surprise and to Salma’s of course, i found myself halting a middle aged woman walking on the footpath, who looked old enough to have a daughter our age. This was my act of extreme desperation. I stopped the lady right on her tracks and requested with her (which sounded like a little more than request and a little less to begging) to come meet our genius of a principal, as Salma’s mother. The poor woman was totally taken aback, i could easily say that from her expression. Before she could think about what was happening and then react negatively, i got out all my acting skills that i had acquired from watching movies, many movies and sometimes the same movies again and again, to convince her and stop her thinking process dead. I told her with a very sad face, how the fate of my innocent, hapless friend’s education was entirely depended on her and that if she refused to help us out from this situation, my poor friend would be forced to quit college, marry, maybe someone twice her age and be packed off to some ‘god knows where’ land. If only she co-operated and agreed to meet our principal as Salma’s mother, all these prospective tragedies could be easily avoided, I told her. The lady’s expression changed from being taken aback to a more sympathetic one. Just try a little harder and you’ll win her over, my mind seemed to tell me in the chaotic background. The woman surely must have been so taken aback that i felt, her reasoning had deserted her, otherwise who would agree to something as insane as this. I just wanted to try my luck and it clicked! She acknowledged! WOW! Why isn’t everybody like her, so nice and agreeing?

Soon afterwards, we bolted back to the college and met our principal, who made us face the music, a very unpleasant one, i must add (my mom had joined us by now). He then looked victoriously at Salma and me, believing he had screwed our happiness for good. It would now be our parents turn to blast us & make us miserable once we got home, he thought with sadistic pleasure. This too i could tell from his expression.  Our new impersonator hung her head in shame as if she had borne Salma herself. Who would have thought that one day I’d make a complete stranger act? ‘Salma’s mother’ apologized to the principal & so did my mom (i guess it was easier for my mom, ‘cos she by now, had a list of apology templates ready on her tongue tip, acquired since many years of experience in using them; she now would just need to pick the one that best suited the occasion).

Our princi charged us a fine amount for each subject that we had shortage of attendance in (i see that as a small price for the big fun), issued the permission letter and let us off the hook. I profusely thanked the woman who saved us that day and then stopped continuing to thank her, as i felt thanking her too much would make her conscious & want to introspect the whole issue and when she does, she’d realize what silly thing she had gotten herself into. I did not give her that chance. She was very happy and carried herself like a social worker, with her smile suddenly turning very noble like, from a good deed done, deed of saving innocent students from a tyrannical principal.

God bless that lady. If today Salma and I are still friends, it’s only because of that god sent stranger or maybe it was god himself in disguise, i can never say for sure. Sometimes, God’s miracles work in the strangest ways and when you least expect them!

Once again, thank you dear stranger turned impersonator, I haven’t forgotten what you saved us from!

Saved by a stranger sent from heaven!

Disclaimer: This is a not a work of fiction. Any resemblance of characters to actual persons, living or dead, is purely intentional. The names, however, have been changed to protect identity!  🙂

*‘Bunk’ (verb), basically means to skip a class or the whole day of college or school when you’re actually supposed to be there. It’s a regional slang.

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