Do you really need to bring home a cobra in the name of kindness?
By Anayo Nwosu
Obioma was once told by his mother that “kindness would kill you one day” but he didn’t understand. He felt that his mum was detracting him from doing good. Kind of “get behind me you Satan!”.
Obioma felt that his mother was being an obstacle to his avowed virtue of kindness and generosity. And he trudged on.
On one rainy day, following the flooding of the whole of Lagos, when the Ocean, the Lagoons and the Canals decided to vomit all the water in their bellies on to the land to amplify the thunderous releases from the sky, it was then that various species of fish, amphibians and other rarely seen aquatic animals were littered by the roadsides as they seemed rattled by the behaviour of the water bodies that had been their natural habitats.
And it was cold too.
It was nearly the range of temperatures experienced in Jos area of Plateau state.
With so much water everywhere and no sunshine, it was bound to be very cold. This made some Nnewi men in Lagos tell their brothers at home complaining of cold on phone that “ọtụ karịrị n’Lagos” meaning that “the cold in Lagos was more”.
That was when Obioma was walking on the road by the side of a canal around Gbagada area of Lagos. He saw a curly object whose state was begging for help and he steadied his gaze on it and could recognize the animal from his Zoology experience.
It was a snake.
But it looked very emaciated and sagged like the wretched roppy funnel made from coco yam leaves.
Obioma was moved with pity that he didn’t even think it twice before deciding to take the cobra home.
The cobra was the poisonous type.
But all those attributes of its fabled poisonousness had faded with the sufferings it must have been subjected to by the elements.
Obioma had watched in Indian films how people nursed snakes and kept them as pets. “It was all about love for God’s creature”, he reasoned.
This cobra was different.
It could talk.
It made a sound, not a hissing sound immediately Obioma picked it up from the ground.
The cobra said “thank you sir”.
And Obioma took the cobra home. He kept the cobra in a room with a regulated heater and fed it with sumptuous food and sometimes with day old chicks.
Within a month the cobra not only recovered but had grown bigger and stronger. It must have regained its cobra biological amours. It has also remembered that man should be his enemy as nature made it. And the only man, the ordained enemy he could see around was Obioma.
Being not a normal cobra, it had reasoned that if it attacked Obioma and he died that it would lose the new comfort Obioma provided it.
“How could I start learning how to hunt for food without exposing myself to hunters, eagles and obu who could prey on me”, the cobra thought hence it kept delaying displaying expression of its natural instincts to Obioma.
There came a day when Obioma had to travel outside Lagos on emergency and returned the next day. The cobra starved for just a day and it couldn’t understand that. It deemed the action of his host and benefactor very wicked despite all its efforts in restraining itself from attacking him.
“What an ungrateful man, this Obioma could be!” the cobra wondered as it pumped its neck and fangs while positioning itself as Obioma opened the door to feed it.
The cobra firstly spewed a dense spit at Obioma’s two eyes to tranquilize him before biting him in the head and the legs.
Mission accomplished, the cobra immediately escaped into the wild through the Canal that links Anthony Village to Gbagada in Lagos.
Ọgọmụegbunam is an Igbo name. It means “may my generosity not kill me”.
Many people, including me, have learnt the hard way.
We nearly died.
We were so engrossed in doing what we believed was kindness unto death.
It is only the living that learns the lessons of life. The dead is gone with his or her heroism leaving the dependants and relatives to grieve unending.
Time and time again, good hearted people fall victims to venomous acquaintances, friends and relatives. They ignore the very clear signs, and believe that even the devil can change. That’s dangerous!
You can always help anyone remotely without bringing the person home or into your house or office.
Some humans are like needy cobras who cannot help being their original dangerous selves when their infirmities are healed or their problems are solved.
It is a greater wisdom to be stuck with only those persons you cannot but accommodate.
It is a stupidity of a legendary proportion to harm your wife, children and all that is dear to you by bringing home a cobra.
You can help a cobra-like fellow without living with one. After all, you don’t have to ascertain the level of holiness of the needy before you help.
Every needy person appears victimised or cheated by nature or by someone else whereas many of them are suffering from their karma or that of their parents or ancestors.
It is good to note that many in need could genuinely need help and could be good people.
Recall that you must have loved yourself first before you love your neighbour. Remember that the injunction is “to love your neighbour as you love yourself”.
Learn from many doctors presently practicing in Nigeria especially the consultants in the government hospitals and the hospital owners. They cannot risk contracting a dangerous but curable COVID-19 in the name of Hippocratic Oath or helping or caring for the sick.
Do not look far for the cobra. They could be in your relations, neighbours, customers, colleagues and many people that know you or those you know and see everyday.
By Chief Anayo Nwosu
Ikenga Ezenwegbu (Original Onye Nnewi)