His friends call him Paampu Velayuthan (meaning a snake-charmer) but Jetson is not quite a snake charmer in the sense that we understand that word. People call him when they find a snake, he comes and catches it, and leaves it back in nearby forests. He says he got to snakes as he wanted to do "something different", and snakes because they were around us but everyone was scared of them. "I wanted to change the people's attitude towards snakes, and give a message that they are just like any other living being". He seems to have succeeded in it to an extent, and there are people now who make a call to him before trying to kill the snake with whatever means they could find (I have seen people killing a snake hitting it with a branch and then pouring kerosene and burning it, it was a dreary scene. Ugly memories remain more clear, says Japanese author Yasunari Kawabata in Thousand Cranes).
Last month when I went to Kerala on a long weekend (Tuesday was Independence day, Wednesday was Janmashtami, so if you take off on Monday it was a five-day long weekend, isn't it tempting?) my Maharashtrian friend came with me. He wanted to do something exciting. I checked with my friends in Kerala, who told me that most trekking places in Kerala are difficult doing in monsoons. I didn't want to disappoint my friend, I called Jetson's house. His mother asked a number of questions about my whereabouts and why I called him, apparently to make sure it is not one of those "snake calls".
Jetson is now taking the snakes more seriously and is planning to do a research on Indian snakes. (Naturally, his folks are a bit worried). The 23-year old can be reached at jetson_for_animals at yahoo dot co dot in.