The Snake And The Mirror -Vaikom Muhammed Basheer
The story is written by Vaikom Muhammad Basheer and is narrated as if told by a homeopathic doctor. While sitting in his room, a snake fell on the doctor. When the snake saw its reflection in the mirror, it was more interested in that and the doctor’ s life was saved.
It is the story of an encounter with a snake by a homeopathic doctor. The doctor was living in a small room that was rented. The doctor took his meals at the restaurant on a hot summer night and returned home. He settled on the chair and took out for reading a medical book. He sat down in front of the mirror planning to improve his appearance as he was unmarried. Gradually, he thought that he would marry a rich doctor having a good medical practice and that he would choose a fat lady as his wife so that she would not be able to run and catch him. The rats had stopped scampering, and behind him there was a sound of something falling. A snake had wriggled over the back of the chair and landed on his shoulders by the time he turned around to have a look. It coiled above the elbow around his left arm. It was a dangerous cobra and extended its head, just three inches from his face. The doctor was sitting there holding his breath and turning to stone. He recognized God's presence at this moment of fear of death. He realized he was a poor, stupid, foolish doctor because he had no medicines in the room. He smiled feebly and that might have been accepted by God. The snake was crawling off and sitting in front of the mirror. The doctor stood up quickly and ran out of the room. All his belongings except his filthy vest had been robbed the next morning.
The story conveys the message that one should never be proud of one’s beauty, strength and achievements. It is the faith in God and modesty in thoughts which makes a person strong.
‘Has a snake ever coiled itself round any part of your body? A full-blooded cobra?’ All of us fell silent. The question came from the homeopath. The topic came up when we were discussing snakes. We listened attentively as the doctor continued with the tale.
It was a hot summer night about ten o' clock. I had my meal at the restaurant and returned to my room. I heard a noise from above as I opened the door. The sound was a familiar one. One could say that rats and I shared the room. I took out my box of matches and lighted the kerosene lamp on the table.
The house was not electrified; it was a small rented room. I had just set up medical practice and my earnings were meagre. I had about sixty rupees in my suitcase. Along with some shirts and dhotis, I also possessed one solitary black coat which I was then wearing.
1. ‘Has a snake ever coiled itself round any part of your body? A full-blooded cobra?’ Who ask this question and when?
2. What does the expression ‘a full-blooded cobra’ suggest?
3. When did the topic of cobra come up for discussion?
3. What indication about the time and weather do you get from the passage?
4. What was the familiar sound he hears?
5. Pick out the lines from the passage which indicates that there were lot of rats in the room.
6. What was the financial condition of the homeopath at that time?
7. What were the possessions of the homeopath?
8. Pick out the word from the passage which means ‘very small or not enough.’
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