A popular fable talks about how a young lad named Jack climbed up a bean stalk to reach a magnificent castle in the sky.

A modern adaptation of the tale could very well be our member Shabaaz’s climbing a tree, and reaching Cloud 9! Below is the magical unfolding –

It seemed like a typical Hyderabadi morning – waking up at 10:00 AM and catching up with friends over Irani chai and Osmania biscuits at the local hotel, before heading off on the Ghoshamahal road on bikes.

Having just woken up, Shabaaz was contemplating going back to sleep, when his phone started buzzing. Thinking it to be another one of his friends calling to find out about the day’s plans, he lazily reached out, still half asleep.  To see ‘FOSS’ flashing on the caller ID. All his sleep instantly vanished, and he quickly attended the call, his pulse raising.

Having joined FOSS just a few months back, Shabaaz had recently figured the knack of handling venomous snakes. This, post several weeks spent in learning to identify the commonly found snakes, their behavioral traits, habitat, preferred menu, and so on. This followed by training under simulated environs at our society, wherein a snake is left loose and ‘rescued’ in controlled conditions under the guidance of more experienced members.

So to be finally contacted from the FOSS rescue helpline (8374233366) on a morning such as this, meant a very good chance of being inducted into every novice rescuer’s much awaited moment – the experience of finally going on a real life rescue!

Barely managing to keep his excitement on hold, Shabaaz responded to the call, and had his most cherished dream come true! The rescue situation was at Pedda Amberpet which is a good 10 kms away from where he stays in Vanasthalipuram. Now completely awake (A hundred Sumos couldn’t have pulled him back to bed then!), he rushed to freshen up before grabbing his handling stick and bag without even a moment’s delay.

He soon reached the rescue site, to be informed by the caller that the snake had slithered off just 5 minutes before he reached. Fearing that the situation might not be as favorable for the snake if it were to make a re appearance, for the hassled caller might just resort to having it killed the next time, Shabaaz offered to look around the premise, the caller’s permitting it.

The caller all too willingly offered to show Shabaaz his backyard which was dense with vegetation.  Although apprehensive of finding the snake in such thick foliage, Shabaaz accompanied the caller and was immensely relieved upon spotting the beautiful being – A magnificent Green vine snake perched on a high branch of one of the trees!

Alas, his relief was short-lived, for he soon realized that the tree was quite obviously out of his scalability. The tree which the snake was blissfully anchored upon was a straight trunk – wide in girth but with hardly any grip for Shabaaz to take the support of to climb.

Dismayed, he still did not want to give up, for he knew that while not disturbing the snake in its chosen reprieve would be ideal, the caller was of a contrary opinion and verging on a panicky state. And so, picking up a nearby coconut branch, Shabaaz tried to nudge at the branch on which the snake was, hoping to encourage it into slithering onto the coconut branch so he could easily reach it.

Lady luck finally smiled in his favor when the snake which although did not change its perch to the intended coconut branch, moved into an adjacent tree – this one being relatively easier to scale.

Having received his cue, Shabaaz did not waste another moment and climbed the adjacent tree upon which the snake was now enjoying its siesta, and was able to get hold of its tail.

At just that moment, dame luck chose to be distracted, and turned her generous glance away from poor Shabaaz’s direction. The result? The Green vine snake which is known to be mildly venomous (Although not being potent enough to kill humans, bites from the snake may result in mild symptoms such as rashes, irritation, headache etc., depending upon the bite victim’s immune make up), geared up, as if to strike.

Rather precariously perched, with one hand holding on to the tree branch for dear life, and another the green vine’s tail so the agile being doesn’t give the slip a second time, our rescuer was himself, in need of being rescued! Undeterred, Shabaaz realized the risk in trying to directly handle the snake in such a condition, and thinking fast, instead asked the caller who was waiting on the ground to pass him a plastic bottle. Upon being obliged, he positioned the mouth of the bottle towards the snake’s face as though offering it a safe haven, all the while mentally coaxing it to slither inside.

Perhaps the distraction passed, temptress fortune now returned her gaze on our determined rescuer, impressed by his persistence, for the snake slowly but surely moved inside the bottle until it was cozily coiled inside.

Heaving a big sigh of relief, our member descended the tree with the safely bagged snake and was heartily appreciated and congratulated by the caller. Despite touching base, the thrill and satisfaction of having successfully completed his first rescue– foremost by saving the snake, and then following it up with alleviating the related misconceptions and fears of the caller, despite all odds, made Shabaaz feel as though he had ascended to cloud 9, long after the experience!

In all, one hell of a rescue yes, nevertheless, our team managed to add another feather (Or should we say fang?) to our already brimming cap!

Written by Md. Shabaaz Khan