The danger of getting too close to the source of a story to get sound bytes was made evident to a television reporter who was bitten by a nine-foot long python which he was shooting for a news story.
Reporter Dinesh Dukhande of Zee 24 Taas Marathi channel was given a rabies and anti-tentanus injection and is in no danger.In any case the python is not venomous. But for those of us in the trade, always in the hunt for a good byte, the fact that a real bite can be as troublesome as a news byte became starkly clear.
The presence of such a huge python in the vicinity of the Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray's residence Madhoshree in Kala Nagar in Bandra (East) also gave rise to suspicion whether enemies of the political kind were trying to slither into his camp to create confusion or dissension. Pythons like political strongemen are known to smother their opponents into submission.
According to Dukhande, he received information on Friday morning that the Shivaji Park police had rescued two snakes – a nine-foot long python and another non-venomous snake. "I was informed that both the snakes were rescued and kept at the Shivaji Nagar police station. Since I was busy on some assignment in the morning hours, I decided to go to the police station in the afternoon," Dukhande told dna.
Around 3.30pm, Dukhane went to the Shivaji Park police station and asked police constable Murlidhar Jadhav, who had rescued the reptiles, to share his experience on camera. Jadhav is an expert snake-catcher and is called upon to rescue snakes and other reptiles from anywhere across the city. "When I had prepared myself to interview the officer, he and his colleague held the python in their hands," said Dukhande.
When Dukhande held the mike in front of police officer, the python which cannot distinguish between a TV camera and a dangerous weapon, took it as a provative act and in a flash bit him on his right hand. "I was wearing a watch on my hand. The bright sunlight was reflecting from the watch, which seems to have distracted the reptile," Dukhande said.
Dukhande rushed to the Hinduja hospital where he was given medical treatment. "Doctors after examining my wounds gave me an anti-rabies and a tetanus injection and later discharged me," he added.
Fortunately the python byte did not have any larger repurcissions. Also for hardened journalists, snakes of any variety are just fodder for the next bulletin.