Wild buzz: Bites after the big day
Raju at PGIMER before he lapsed into coma on July 17. Photo credit: Vikram Jit Singh
July 16 is observed as 'World Snake Day' to create awareness about the planet's most misunderstood creatures. But the fact remains that India is home to an estimated 45,000 deaths annually due to snakebite, the bulk being the rural poor. Venomous snakes have successfully infiltrated human habitats and it is advisable that these be removed as is the globally-accepted norm.
I could hardly plead for any other course or cause when I met the gasping Raju, a daily wage labourer, who had been bitten by a common krait on the left earlobe's top at 3.21am on July 17. It was an unprovoked bite, a syndrome associated with the nocturnal krait, which even climbs beds and bites sleeping humans. His brother, Mohammad Raza, had very sensibly rushed him to the PGIMER Emergency rather than take recourse to tantriks.
Raju told me he was sleeping on the floor when the snake bit him. I showed him pictures of different venomous snakes and he positively identified the krait as the culprit. Though Raju had been put on anti-snake venine serum, Dr Ateet told me that he was in danger of lapsing into a paralytic attack and respiratory failure due to the venom's neurotoxic effect. A few hours after I met him at the PGIMER on July 17, Raju lapsed into semi-coma and was put on life-support systems. A worried Raza told me that the doctors were hopeful of Raju recovering in a couple of days as venom effect weakens.
Meanwhile, there was another spot of snake drama. A 2-foot spectacled cobra was discovered by the CISF personnel guarding the parking behind court room No. 10 at the Punjab and Haryana high court on July 15. A rambo constable caught the cobra by the tail and sought to hurl it away into the bushes like an Olympic shot-putter. The cobra was unfortunately hurled onto a tree, where it grasped the branches, and quickly climbed to 30 feet and out of reach of the CISF. Snake-rescue expert Salim Khan was summoned and he climbed the tree and rescued the quaking cobra.
HOUNDS OF 'BARKERVILE'
Photo credit:Nitin Sarin
The three stray mutts that aviation lawyer Nitin Sarin and his wife Kismet have adopted would just not stop howling outside the window of Nitin's `naani's' room at her Sector 8-A, Chandigarh, bungalow the other night. Well, naani has little patience with mutts, especially when they turn into the proverbial 'hounds of barkervile'! So, Nitin was hard-pressed to quell the racket. For two hours, the mutts barked up a tree that had grown from a sapling gifted to naani by Fortis following her bypass surgery. The mutts were finally put under detention and a curious Nitin shone a flashlight up the tree. He found a very placid common palm civet, whose luminous eyes, he captured in this marvellous photo. The cool civet had been cocking a snook at the frothing dogs!
The civet is a resident in the neighbourhood and Nitin has seen it 10 times in the last three years. He suspects its base was the neighbour's house, but since the neighbour has built up the back portion recently, the civet had probably got displaced.
The encounter with the civet left Nitin thrilled, though it was not as nerve-jarring as the time when a cheetah jumped onto the top of their Land Rover while on a safari to Masai Mara (Kenya) in 2011.
The civet is a reclusive, nocturnal creature, and an omnivore. Mammals' expert Vivek Menon describes this civet species as "fond of the fruit of palms and honey, thus earning its reputation for having a sweet tooth.... Can be found around human inhabitations and is known to stay in attics and rooftops, and climb trees near human dwellings".
Photo credit: Vikram Jit Singh
Yoga and Indian classical dances see artistes undertake complex manoeuvres and strike intricate poses, stretching beyond limits, the human sinew and sense. I came across this dying tree flanking the jungles rising from Mirzapur check dam, 25 km from Chandigarh in Punjab's SAS Nagar district. Perched at a height, with a backdrop of the dam's waters, the tree's decaying and leaf-less form uncannily brought to mind such accomplished human harmony of mind, body and soul.
The tree will crumble with time and return to earth to nurture it and repay its debt. The tree's 'burial immersion' was fated as 'deemak', attrition and age overwhelmed it. But it is the most environment-friendly disposal of death's wastes as compared to humans, who light pyres of limbs of murdered trees. Or, colonise the earth's underworld and doom it with a parking crisis of coffins.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi offered condolences to renowned singer Shivamogga Subbanna who died on Thursday. The 83-year-old national award-winning singer died of a heart attack at Bengaluru. Shivamogga Subbanna was the first playback singer from Karnataka to win a national award for playback singing. Shivamogga Subbanna's admirers bid him final adieu at Ravindra Kalakeshtra of Bengaluru on Friday. Shivamogga Subbanna is survived by his wife, son and a daughter.
More than four years after an unsuccessful attempt to inspect the 'Ratna Bhandar', or chambers containing valuables, of the Lord Jagannath temple in Puri, the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) has renewed its demand for the opening of the chambers for inspection. The two chambers of the Ratna Bhandar of the Jagannath temple – 'Bhitar Bhandar' (inner treasury) and 'Bahar Bhandar' (outer treasury) – reportedly has more than 800 valuables and jewellery.
Six police officers from Karnataka have bagged medals this year as the union home ministry on Friday announced awards nationwide for over 150 police personnel for setting an inspiring example and answering the call to duty. Karnataka Lokayukta SP K Lakshmi Ganesh - who played a major role in unearthing illegal migrant documents nexus in the state -is among those who have won accolades.
The Enforcement Directorate on Friday said it has conducted searches at various premises of a private company in Bengaluru and froze assets worth Rs 370 crore. According to ED, a large amount of funds to the tune of Rs 370 crore were deposited by 23 entities including accused NBFCs and their fintech companies into the INR wallets of Yellow Tune Technologies held with crypto exchange Flipvolt Technologies Private Limited. The company's promoters went untraceable.
India], August 13 (ANI): Karnataka Health Minister K Sudhakar on Friday urged people to take a pledge for organ donation on the occasion of World Organ Donation Day. "During this Azadi Ki Amrit Mahotsav, pledge to donate your organs which could be "Amrit" for someone's life," Sudhakar said while addressing a press conference. The Health Minister recalled Prime Minister Narendra Modi's Mann Ki Baat address, in which he appealed to people to donate organs.