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The unknown animal lover Snake Shyam

I am going to narrate a story of a charming and loveable personality, who is doing social work in his own style and helping the people in and around the city of Mysore. He is popularly known as Snake Shyam.

Mr.Shyam is born in Mirle in K.R.Nagar taluk of Mysore district. His parents are Sri M.R.Subbarao and Smt. A.Nagalakshmi. It is said that when he was very young a snake had sneaked into his neighbour's house. The people who had gathered there were for killing the snake. But at that time Shyam, whose original name is Balasubramanya, went inside and pleaded not to harm the creature. But the people were adamant and wanted to kill it. But Shyam immediately caught hold of the snake and took it and left it in a garden, where it could have safety. This astonished everybody and this news spread from mouth to mouth that Shyam has the capacity to catch any snake.

Now it has become more a profession, which started merely as a hobby. In fact, Mr. H.S.Shankarlinge Gowda, the BJP MLA of Mysore city has got him a pager too, which makes the needy people to contact him easily. In fact, his first catch was in the year 1982. Till today, according to him he might have caught about 20000 snakes for which he has no record. But since last 4 years, he has caught more than 5000 for which he has kept a record.

He takes all the snakes and leaves them to safety in Nagarahole and Bandipur protected forest areas. Most of the times transportation charges are borne by him and rarely the forest officials will give some money. According to him, snakes are not to be feared. Snakes are really helpful to man in many ways especially to the farmer community as they keep a check on the rodent family. The poison of the snakes is also used in the preparation of life saving medicines. This is on these lines that Shyam thinks and acts. That's why he doesn't harm any snakes.

In the beginning his parents and family were not aware about his catching snakes. Poisonous snakes bit him on four occasions. He used to get himself admitted to the hospital and used to get discharge same day. But now his parents as well as his wife are fully co-operating his venture.

There is an old concept that the person with "Garudarekha" on his palm can catch any snake. But Shyam sternly denies that and says that it is all "bogus". According to him, to catch any snake the main thing you need is courage and confidence. One has to study the nature and behavior of various kinds of snakes. One should be confident and not over confident. And lastly he says that one should not have a hunger to live long. When I asked him about what the future of your family will be if something goes wrong while you catch a poisonous snake he quickly replied that the wife is very co-operative and she is working also. If there is a call in the midnight she wakes him up. He has caught snakes on a couple of times when he was having high temperature. He asks people to arrange for a vehicle only when it is impossible for him to move around.

He narrated a couple of unforgettable incidents. Once he had been to a hut in B.M.Shri Nagar to catch a snake. When he caught the snake and put it in the bag, the owner of that hut, an 80-year old lady gave him a glass of milk and exclaimed, "You came like a GOD". Shyam still feels very happy when ever he narrates this particular incident. Another one is a bitter one. He went to catch a snake near the Kamakshi Hospital Park. After finishing his job when he was about to leave he got a message on his pager. So he requested the owner of the house, a lady, to allow him to ring up that particular number. The lady coolly went inside, closed the door, went to the phone and gave the receiver to Shyam through a window and asked the number to be dialed. Just imagine how this poor man might have felt!!!!!

When I asked him whether people offer or pay you anything he said only a few give him some money. In many cases not even a "thanks". Whatever he receives he spends on the education of some poor children.

He has written 3 slogans on his autorikshaw.
1. Snakes are not as poisonous as human beings.
2. Care for the rare.
3. Save nature for future.

He is a fan of Sir M.Vishweshwaraiaha and film star Rajanikanth. He believes in Buddhism. And if God lifts him financially he wants to start a snake park along with a Balasubramanya temple. Lately a social worker Mr.Anwar has donated him a mobile phone. But Shyam is very much worried about the payment of the monthly rent of the mobile.

When asked whether the Government has offered any help to you he replied in the negative and said, "I am not going to ask them. I am not a beggar".

With all these according to Shyam he lives by the blessings of the poor in whose premises he has caught snakes. The loan of the auto is still unpaid. Because of this social work he is not in a position to run it throughout the day. Moreover to attend a call he goes by his own auto. When I forced him to tell his account number he hesitatingly gave it and said that if any good samaritan helps it is well and good. So I have given his bank account number and details below. Those who are willing to help Snake Shyam may kindly deposit.

In this venture of helping others going beyond his capacity he has put himself into financially difficulties. May God bless him.

His details:

#259, 5Th 'A' main,
Brindavan extension,

Phone: 0821-517399
Mobile: 94480- 69399
Bank Account number: 31/6860
State Bank of Mysore,
Brindavan ext branch,

Sandeep shenoy.


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