Bitten, Vava Suresh Continues To Love Snakes
Shameem Faruque visits the snake-catcher in hospital and learns that contrary to news reports, it is by the demand of media persons that he took a snake out of the bag which finally bit him.
On Feb 21, 2011


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.

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Vava Suresh at the hospital

Recently things came to a standstill when one particular news was splashed in the dailies 'Vava Suresh bitten by a Cobra, in critical condition'. The news further adds that the cobra bit him when he took it out of his bag on public demand. "That is just not true," Vava Suresh vouches from his hospital bed in the general ward of  Medical College. It was  those mediapersons from three Malayalam dailies who demanded to see the snake.”

He is recuperating though he still suffers from the pain. Amputating a finger is what the doctors are suggesting but he hopes for the best. He admits that a snake as furious as that which was found in its nest with a cluster of eggs, after caught, should not have been out for the second time. But ceding to the press reporters’ demand, he took the cobra out. And that was the big mistake he made.

As he was putting the angry  snake back in his small bag - a small school bag that he normally carries - by mistake he kept his ring finger a bit deep into the bag and was immediately caught by the snake. He immediately pulled the snake back, its sharp teeth making an open wound through which blood flowed out and with that some of the deadly venom.

"I did manage to tightly tie my finger but I was holding the snake with my feet so it turned again in anger to bite. As I was handling that situation I forgot to untie my finger which actually made matters worse. And in the midst of all this, the media just vanished from the scene," he adds with a sarcastic smile. The ambulance ' 108 ' also came later than its usual fast-strides. But it seems destiny has decided this brave man lives to tell the tale.

When asked how she copes with her husband's adrenalin rush, Suresh's wife just smiles as if it's very much part of her life now.

This very ordinary looking man doing extraordinary deeds fights the risk all by himself. He is a man in love with snakes and you can see it as he fervently talks about it. He was born to be their savior which explains why though none in his family has ever done this, Vava Suresh chose to face them on par from the time he was twelve years old. Till date, he has rescued close to 5000 snakes! Practise made him perfect with no school teaching him the tricks. He understands that the more his slithery counterpart is scared the gentler he has to handle it.

"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.

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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.

Shameem Faruque

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this man is truly inspiring!! may i know in which ward is he admitted?
Arun, on Feb 21, 2011 03:29:34 PM
thanks for making clear what exactly happened to vava suresh
Robin, on Feb 21, 2011 04:09:12 PM
Hi..Arun..actually he's been discharged n' now is in his home at Sreekaryam..I will let u know where exactly the location is..
Shameem Faruque, on Feb 21, 2011 10:49:43 PM
Thank god . Even my family was praying for him. May god give him along and healthy life.
Mini Rani Pillai, on Feb 22, 2011 10:50:34 AM
Excellent but simple reporting by Shameem Faruque. But one doubt Mr. Photographer ? Actually sinke bite in Right hand Finger [ as per first photo] or in Left Hand finger [as per second photo] ? Totally Confusing?
Joshi Thomas Konikkara, on Feb 22, 2011 12:15:27 PM
Joshi Thomas Konikkara: Thanks for the comment. The injury is in his left hand, the mistake happened when the photograph was flipped horizontally to be oriented in the right direction. However, orientation should not be the priority here and the image has been flipped back to its original position. Thanks again.
Team Yentha, on Feb 22, 2011 02:05:43 PM
Hi..all..Vava Suresh is currently recuperating at the Lord's Hospital after having undergone a surgery where 3/4th of his ring finger was removed.He will be discharged within couple of days. Before this,with his injured finger all tied up, he managed to rescue close to 15 snakes..!! Passion mixed equally with dedication..!
Shameem Faruque, on Mar 01, 2011 04:57:01 PM
SUNITHA(GEETHA), on Feb 12, 2013 04:15:26 PM
Its really very rare to see such a talented person in our society who does yeomen service to the public in saving their life from deadly snakes at right time and on the other hand he saves the life of deadly reptiles which any one will try to kill immediately out of fear. But the sad thing here is that his good but risky work is not recognized suitably by the Government either in terms of economically or financially .He is still in poor status only. Government should take care on the welfare of this young talented man...equal to the level of a sports personality. He is always playing with his very valuable life for the sake of society.So it should be recognized suitably.
M. Arjunan, on Oct 23, 2017 05:53:37 PM
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