Special Correspondent

MYSORE: It is another milestone and feather in the cap for Mysore’s own “naturalist on wheels.”

The reference is to ‘Snake’ Shyam, easily the most recognisable characters of Mysore, complete with his sun hat, overflowing beads and multiple rings that adorn his fingers.

His original name being M.S. Balasubramaniam, ‘Snake’ Shyam is one of the few persons who is most besotted not only by the people of Mysore but also surrounding areas given his penchant to catch snakes, easily the most despised or feared of all reptiles.

And it is to dispel this myth and fear about snakes that the naturalist on wheels has made it a mission of his life and hence the appellation ‘Snake’ Shyam.

In continuation of his mission that is on since more than two decades now, ‘Snake’ Shyam recently caught a 10-foot-long python at Nadanahalli on Tuesday and released it to the forest.

This snake happened to be Shyam’s 11,755th catch and a prized one too, for rarely does he get a python to trap and release it in the forests.

An art perfected into science, ‘Snake’ Shyam, who earned his living as an auto-driver in the initial stages is now a full-fledge snake catcher who also doubles up as a wildlife conservationists and delivers lectures in schools to create environmental awareness among students. But don’t be surprised if his cellphone does not stop ringing in the midst of his talks. For, there are any number of panic-stricken citizens seeking his assistance.

In recognition of his “social service” even the local authorities have chipped in with their might and not only offered to foot his telephone bills but have named a circle in the city after him.

A man without conventional academic training, ‘Snake’ Shyam is considered a self-trained naturalist nevertheless by the public.

And just in case anyone need his assistance try calling 94480 69399.

His response will be faster than the corporation authorities.