When for the first time I saw a few snakes inside our hostel premises, I was really frightened. After the first spell of rains, hell lot of snakes used to come out of their hiding places and roamed freely all around the hostel campus. We didn't have much idea whether those snakes were venomous or not? Our hostel was quite isolated and was constructed in a small hill. Just few meters above our hostel, it was quite a jungle kind of and was mostly uninhabited that time. Few times we spent some
entertaining horrible time with the monkeys, when they used to visit our hostel. But, those snakes really frightened me to a great extent and I was really worried and thought it would really be a challenge for all of us to survive the coming four years out there.
One day I just casually asked one of our senior “there are so many dangerous snakes in our campus, but you guys look so cool" He laughed a bit and replied "Don't worry, as days pass by, you too will overcome the fear. We were little frightened initially, but believe me, in last 30-40 years no one ever died of snake bite in this hostel,” Those words really boosted hell lot of confidence in me but one of my friend said “It may be true that no one died of snake bite out here but I definitely wouldn't like to be the first one. He said “Abbe yaar, I don’t want to die of snake bite, I deserve a better death”.
There were literally hell lot of snakes all around the hostel campus in those peak seasons. I still remember one incident when few of us watched a movie in my desktop. It was already quite late night and we all were about to sleep. One of us lighted a cigarette outside our room and we saw Mehboob just released his extra fluid inside his body out in the dark, just a few meters away. While coming back, he saw something moved very quickly and entered his room. He screamed “it must be a snake” We went inside his room to look for it. We were not at all surprised to see a snake which lied just under his computer table inside the room. We had to struggle almost for an hour to get rid of that snake.
Some of our Naga brothers were quite expert to catch hold of any sort of snakes. But sometimes few of the cobra's even dared to scare them. On few occasions, some of my friends managed to catch hold of a python. In one of the occasions, few of my friends with the help of some hostel boys, caught an extremely huge python. Someone called the Guwahati Zoo and in no time, few people from the zoo visited our hostel and took away the python. My friends who worked really hard to catch the python expected some sort of remuneration from the zoo guys, but they had to console their heavy heart with just their brave act .
After I spent one monsoon season in hostel, snakes didn’t scare me any more for the remaining days I spent out there. Even though some of my friends used to keep torch lights during the night, but most of us no longer cared about those snakes. But, to be honest I was little scared to go to the common room all alone during the midnight, in those peak seasons.One night, we were celebrating our hostel feast and many of our friends from other hostels joined us. I was escorting few of my friends to the dining hall and on the way all of a sudden "Siiv Shankar", my good old friend, screamed "Baap re! What was that?"
I asked "what happened?"
He said "Just now, something passed under my feet"
I said "Don’t worry, it must be just a snake"
"Just a snake?" My friend was very shocked and told that how could I be so cool about the snake that just passed under his feet? He asked me how we guys could stay in such a jungle environment?" I was silent that moment and just thought "whatever? This place is almost a heaven for us"
One day during one vacation, I had the opportunity to meet one of my father's colleagues. The uncle passed out from our college and he was some 25-30 years senior to me. Coincidentally he stayed in the same hostel as well. He was very happy to meet me as some of his hostel memories got refreshed that time. He asked me one question “are there snakes roaming around freely in the hostel premises now a days?” I was little surprised and totally amused by his question.