Foreign channels have not shown this dark, lean, short man smartly chasing deadly snakes but our dailies hover around him. The report usually comes with a photo of him fearlessly but carefully holding a King Cobra, reputed to be one of the most venomous in the world.
Vava Suresh at the hospital
"Initially I took the aid of a snake catcher but soon I understood that it tortures a snake. So I gave it up. A snake's body is soft and sensitive. The pressure you apply on a snake with a snake catcher is not totally under your control. So that clutch can actually hurt a snake, mostly its brain which is hardly anything in size. And the poor creature won't live for long. So I always gently catch it with my hands. I rescue it from the people around it and the people from a scared and angry snake."
Then it suddenly strikes one that this humble man is actually doing a social service. By leaving the snakes he catches in the forest, he is doing them a great favour. Last year, about 463 snake eggs that he got were taken care of and hatched at his place adding more of these reptiles in the eco system where they play a valuable role.
A passion can never be discouraged. In hospital with swollen fingers Vava Suresh says in a quiet voice that not even an ounce of fear has managed to get into his system. And the people queueing up to see him and listen to his narratives is proof enough that for many, this small made man is a hero in real life. Appreciation do come and with that, invitations to join some group or the other. "I give them a clear NO, I prefer to do my job totally independent," he says firmly.
One can see that he doesn't want to be indebted. Because what he is doing is something very personal and not a job being done for salary. So Vava Suresh with his wife and his little pretty girl called Durga will live away a frugal life. And there is only a humble tone of passion one can detect in him devoid of any regret at his chosen path.
Vava Suresh, with his daughter Durga
At this moment maybe this soft spoken man won't be readily available to save a snake from your neighbourhood but very soon you will be seeing him once again sprinting around in our city and outside rescuing his hooded friends and letting them free in the wild where they rightly belong, away from most of us who either sprint for life or freeze on spot just hearing that a cobra is around the corner, leave alone seeing one.
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