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வியாழன், செப்டம்பர் 08, 2011

Cuddalore Poonam Chand Play With Snake

 http://www.deccanchronicle.com/sites/default/files/imagecache/article_vertical/article-images/poonamchand.jpg.crop_display.jpg

Poonam Chand with a prized catch.
 
 
          Snakes, by and large, are not a dangerous species — with a few exceptions of course. Yet, the mere sight of one evokes a sense of fear — maybe triggered by some genetic/natural instinct, an inexplicable terror and a frantic desire to either run away from the scene.

           If you happen to live in Cuddalore and a snake sneaks into your house, there is no need to panic and call the forest department or the fire service. All that you need to do is make a phone call to Poonam Chand and in a matter of minutes, he will be around to catch it — without charging a fee. This young person belonging to Cuddalore district, South Arcot, Tamil Nadu, has lived and breathed snakes throughout his life.

          DC spoke to this snake-lover, surrounded by hissing snakes tied up in cotton bags, as well as some that were freely slithering around. “Right from my childhood, I have been inspired by my father who used to catch snakes from gardens and let them loose in the nearby forest. My affinity for snakes and treating them as friends came to me naturally. When I was in the 7th grade, I caught a snake just like that and threw it in the field — my father was startled. Since then, I have been catching snakes and freeing them in the forest periodically,” says Poonam Chand.
               When questioned about the fear factor associated with snakes, he smiled and said, “There are almost 260 varieties of snakes in India and only a few of them are poisonous. The rest are harmless. Only when humans attack them, do they raise their heads and attempt to get away. Do you know that there are some varieties like the mud snake (manuli paambu), which are helpful to farmers — they make the soil richer by shuffling it around into a natural fertilizer. It is so distressing that sometimes the farmers beat them to death, mistaking them for poisonous ones. I educate the farmers about their value and how they really play a catalytic role.”

              When asked about the reason for storing snakes at home, he responded, “The reserve forest zone is far away and hence every two months, I make arrangements to carry and deposit them in their natural habitat — for their safety and also for preserving the bio-diversity of the forest. Do you know that at that time, I feel as though I am parting from my friend? As if to recognise this intimacy, quite a few of them will follow me and try to get into the cotton bag. I have read that friendship and love are above reason — they seem to understand this”.

          Are there any memorable incidents that he would like to recall? “Oh there are many but I will narrate just one. Just a year ago, when the villagers put a Russell viper inside a bag, its head was crushed and it was almost dying. By sheer benevolent fate, I happened to be there. As the tail was still moving I understood that there was life and for nearly one hour, I pumped oxygen into its trachea through a straw, simultaneously pumping the heart. The crowd, which was joking that I was making a scene, was stunned and moved when life breathed back into the snake after an hour of struggle.”

            When asked about his expectations from governmental agencies, he was quick to respond, “If only the government could provide some space and construct a small hall with glass containers, I can keep poisonous and other rare species of snakes for exhibition to the general public and tourists who visit. This will help create more awareness about snakes,” he signs off.




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  • ராஜசுப்ரமணியன் S says:
    16 செப்டம்பர், 2011 ’அன்று’ பிற்பகல் 1:03

    திரு பூனம் சந்தின் சேவை பாராட்டத்தக்கது.அவருடைய கோரிக்கையும் நியாயமானதே.எம்.எல்.ஏ மற்றும் எம்.பிக்களின் தொகுதி மேம்பாட்டு திட்டப் பணத்தை இதற்குப் பயன் படுத்தலாமே. பள்ளிக் குழந்தைகளுக்கும் மிகவும் உபயோகமாக இருக்கும்.

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