Hisss Story

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We had an unexpected visitor on the walking track I frequent close to my home. A young cobra, measuring around 20 inches in length. Fencing separates the track from the thick foliage, which runs along one side of the park. Though all of us are aware that the dense shrubbery must be definitely home to various insects and snakes, I have never seen any on the paths. My husband has spotted a couple basking in the sun in the past, but on the patches of grass beyond the fence. The one we saw today must have wandered in and couldn’t find an opening to slip out.

The colour of the snake was very close to that of the wall and path and if it weren’t for the gardeners frantically motioning everyone to stay away, no one would have noticed it. One of them had this long handled broom in his hand and was trying to give the snake a lift over the low wall. But the snake would have none of it and raised its head and spread its hood.

The Cobra, also known as Nag Devata, or Nag Raja is considered sacred in our country and the gardeners wouldn’t even remotely consider killing it. So though it took them a long time to get it back to its natural habitat, they didn’t mind it. It was a better option than incurring the wrath of the serpent king.

I couldn’t help but stop to look. Though yet small, it was a perfect specimen nonetheless. The markings identifying it as a cobra were clear and what really struck me about it was the royal bearing in that small body. Anyone who has heard the roar of the lion, knows exactly why it’s called the king of the jungle. Similarly, looking at that young snake I knew once again why it is called King Cobra.

When it raised its head and spread its hood, with the back erect, there was so much arrogance and command in its posture. So much attitude and confidence. It commanded the fear that everyone around showed for its presence.

The tussle went on for a while but eventually the two gardeners managed to toss it over the wall into the shrubbery. I am sure all of us will be more alert now onwards, especially with winter round the corner,the days have become short and darkness descends earlier and suddenly.


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