This Naga Panchami, Remember the “Aasteen Ke Saanp” in Your Life


This Naga Panchami, Remember the “Aasteen Ke Saanp” in Your Life

Illustration: Ahmed Sikander

Most people living in cities don’t observe Naga Panchami anymore. Maybe it’s because of the lack of snakes in BKC. But even pouring milk on a serpent idol made of silver, stone, or wood is so 2003. This Naga Panchami, let us identify the human snakes in our lives, and by that I do not mean Mallika Sherawat from Hisss. I mean the real-life “aasteen ke saanp”.

If you go back in time, you’ll remember that some of the most venomous little backstabbers were present in our schools. Think of that one kid who reminded the teacher about homework and threw the whole class under the bus. Or that sanctimonious prick who would never help anyone copy in an exam, and complain about the others who did? These beasts were certainly a cause for pain and misery in our lives, but nothing hurts like your best friend turning his back on you. You know, the one with whom you shared Bourbon biscuits and even traded your Charizard card, but when you needed an extra pencil, he wouldn’t share his fancy Shakalaka Boom Boom pencil. Ah, the scars from that bite are still visible!

As we get older, the snakes get better at camouflaging themselves. They will bunk lectures with you, watch Jaane Tu Ya Jaane Na with you, claim to never hit on your crush, make football plans during exams, and tell you they haven’t studied anything, claim they have attempted only 70 marks and then end up scoring 90. They promise to be friends with you forever before moving to the United States for their Masters, never to be seen again. And when you finally spot them on Facebook after years and send a message, you’ll get the classic “Who dis?” It’s time to identify these pythons in your life and shove two spoons of milk down their throats.

This Naga Panchami, maybe it’s time to get rid of all these snakes in our life.

Just like the real reptiles, certain human snakes make seasonal appearances in your life. These are the sneaky vipers in office with whom you take a chai break every hour and bitch about your colleagues, only to find out that they went behind your back during appraisal time and told the boss about how you’re always late for meetings and how you fucked up that client presentation. You helped them with VLOOKUP formulas during their most desperate times, but for a phony title and a bit of money, they sold you out like you were the chief minister of Karnataka.

The kinds of snakes we’ve seen so far can be identified and avoided, but what about the snakes in the family? The cousin with whom you played “ghar-ghar” every time she visited you, grows up to remind people at family functions that you are still unmarried, just for a laugh. The aunt who used to annoy you with kisses on the cheek when you were a baby, now goes behind your back to tell your mom how she saw you with a girl at a mall in the middle of a working day. And what about those second cousins who “Lol” at your WhatsApp messages but go silent and disappear the moment you ask them for any help. What does one do with all these cobras? They even grew up drinking the same Bournvita milk as you!

While snakes from your immediate circle of friends and relatives give you enough grief and horror, there is an even worse breed lurking out there. I don’t mean the ones you will see on National Geographic and Discovery, but those we can never trust. They are called politicians and even the most poisonous snakes are wary of them. These snakes switch sides faster than Formula One drivers switch gears during a race. And they make promises to the voters before elections and then disappear into the jungles, never to be spotted again, like the rare Aruba island rattlesnake. And with their massive cult following, people feed their posters milk even when it isn’t Naga Panchami.

 This Naga Panchami, maybe it’s time to get rid of all these snakes in our life, before they hiss, bite, and spread the venom.