Just Emkaying: The one with Cobras and Royal Enfield

Feb 7, 2016

The one with Cobras and Royal Enfield

There were actually three things I wanted to jot down today. But I realised that setting the standard with three sub topics every Sunday may not be the most easiest thing to stick to. It also happens that the third topic I had in mind is capable of being a complete post in itself (in an exaggerated, nonsensical kind of way).

You may also interpret this as "he's running out of topics already and relying on last minute improvs."

So yes. What were we talking about? Ah, Cobra's. Also known illogically by these welcome gestures:

Hissss! (International version)
Dusss (Indian)

To start off, let me relay this conversation that just happened with Dad a few hours ago:

"You at home?"
"Didn't you go out anywhere today?"
"So what else is going on"
"It's the end of Sunday dad, there can't be anything happening here. You tell me what's happening there!"
"Ah well, we had a special visitor today. Guess who?"
"Umm. Just tell me"
"A Cobra"
"Ah. I see."

At this point notice the lack of any shock or surprise in our tone.

"The fellow was out near the shoe rack, near the inverter battery. He's been sitting there all day and just refused to leave."
"Oh. So is he around?" (Note: this is 9 pm conversation)
"Nah. I got him into a pipe and left him near the Fort"
"A pipe?"
"Yeah, had got a PVC Pipe from the store and he seemed happy to get into it. One end was anyway closed. Once he was in, just took him up to the Fort and left him there."
"Dad, couldn't you just get someone else to do it. It's a Cobra."
"Nah, it was ok."
"Okay then, but avoid next time, yeah?"
"Here, talk to mum."

Snakes are quite a common sight in our part of the world.I saw one the last time I went home, where this chap was cooly sunbathing away to glory till he decided that he didn't like my presence, and slithered away. In fact, our home is right in the periphery of the Western Ghats, one of the most densest and sensitive environments for a very beautiful and awe inspiring snake - The King Cobra. The last time I had gone home, there was a huge crowd gathered around an old tree trunk because someone had spotted a "God Snake" as it is more locally announced.

This 3 headed King Cobra PHOTO is FAKE. But the original was the above with just one head,  which probably turned up due to disturbing road construction activities. (This place is a few hours ride from my home). Eventually, the offending rock that was being dislodged was left alone and a lamp was lit for a few days to appease the "God Snake"

The other thing with Cobra's is that they are revered in Indian Culture and are often prayed to, and a sighting of a Cobra can mean different things.

Like in my scheme of things, it means keep an eye on that fellow, and if he hisses, just run. 

However, I've had history with Cobra's. More so my mum has too. She's had dangerous run-in's with Cobra's since she was a kid. I for one never had ones that were life threatening. I mean I've had to brake my cycle a few feet away from a road crossing Cobra, or pause picking up a cricket ball from the garden because this fellow would suddenly become "visible" and so on and so forth.

But strangely, for the longest time I used to get dreams which had Cobra's feature in them. They've not recurred for a good 5 or 6 years now. But they were quite vivid and always ended in a bite that felt like a pin prick.

And apparently, a snake biting you in a dream is a good thing. 

As long as a cobra biting me in real life is not, we're cool. 

These beautiful creatures are also quite misunderstood. Leave them alone, and they won't bother you. Even a slight tapping of the floor is enough to get them moving, unless they're being a little stubborn like the one dad encountered today. But give them a nice way to leave, and they will.

Of course, lighting agarbatti or incense sticks, chanting mantra's, leaving human food etc are rather silly if you ask me. To be honest, I've seen mum yell at a cobra in Konkani, as if she was talking to a person and chastising "him" for "bothering" us after all the offerings and puja's we've done for "him". And I've seen the cobra slither away.

It's funny though, because Cobra's have NO sense of hearing. Zilch. They feel vibrations, maybe low frequency waves, but definitely not "ARE YOU NOT ENTERTAINED??!! GO AWAY NOW!!!" yelled in Konkani.

Honestly, If I was slithering on the ground, none of the above would lead me to believe that humans had my best interest in mind and I'd stay clear of them.

These day's there's a popular TV show called "Naagin" on TV, largely revolving around the concept of "Ichadari naag" or "Do-as-I-Please Cobra" where the snake can shape shift into any form and is often found in Human form to take revenge on...*wait for it*....HUMANS!

Meh. Like really? 

PS: JKR & Harry Potter, India was shape shifting since ages yo! 

So anywho, now you know why my chat with Dad on him handling a snake, etc was all so normal.

The other thing I learnt from Dad was about his favorite bike "Royal Enfield". Way back when I was a kid, I had asked him what his favorite bike was and in typical guy fashion, he first replicated the sound the bike made, and then told me that it was a grand bike that everyone recognised from far away because of its sound. At that time the only bikes I had seen were BMW's that cop's rode (in Bahrain)

Since then, I've had this at the back of mind that someday a bullet shall gleem in our porch. A few months before I left Bangalore, I had actually booked a Classic 350, which had a wait period of about 5 months. After I moved to Mumbai, I had to cancel that booking, and then re book a new one. However, I realised that a bike was of no use to me, especially since the local and public transport system is so robust here. Trust me, if you have lived by the Auto Rickshaw's of Bangalore, Mumbai is heaven. So much so, I actually wrote a guide on the different rickshaw's of different cities.

Now over the last few weeks I've been re-evaluating getting the bullet home finally. Third time lucky and all that. But a recent back sprain reminded me of all the perils that come with bike riding. So looks like that Classic 500 is going to have to wait a little bit more.

When the rider is ready, the bike shall come.  

On a parting note, these passive aggressive people I tell you! Argh.



  1. Nice post Madan. Belonging to Dakshina Kannada I too have lot of memories and incidents related to Cobra. Moreover, the Cobra's in Bangalore scared me more than the one's in my hometown. Or should we think like us even Cobra's in Bangalore are frustrated and finds joy in troubling. Lol. Hope you decide on your Classic ride and get them one day!

    1. Thanks so much for dropping in and reading :) Am guessing the Cobra's in Namma Bengaluru have had a tad too fun loving :P

  2. I had a similar encounter with a small king cobra when we stopped on the highway while on our way to Kolad for river rafting :-)
    So, is the bullet coming home?? :-)

    Cheers, Archana - www.travelwitharchie.com

    1. Ah the smaller they are,the more mischievous they get ;) Thanks for dropping by! (and I do hope classic comes home soon!)


  3. Very descriptive blog, I loved that a lot. Will there be a part 2? yahoo login mail