| deadly diet: Neeranjan Bhaskar eats a snake in Ranchi. Picture by Hardeep Singh
It is normally a difficult task to satisfy Neeranjan Bhaskar when he is hungry. The reason sounds a bit startling but the 35-year-old man, who is a painter by profession, prefers his plate of snakes.
Well, not exactly a plateful of cooked snake meat, but live snakes, which the man claims to be eating since childhood.
In fact, he eats a snake everyday, claiming the credit for gobbling up more than 4,000 snakes, including different types of cobras and kraits, till date.
Recounting the first time he ate the reptile, Bhaskar said: 'It was the rainy season of 1977. I was just about seven years old, a student of Bal Brahmachari High School in Ranchi,' he said in drawling voice.
'A dhor snake had attacked me. I tried hard to get rid of it, but the snake did not leave me. When I could not find a way to get rid of it, I bit the snake, in a fit of anger and pain. I continued biting it and finally ate it.'
The first experience was 'interesting', says the painter and added that the snake's blood had tasted strange.
'Since that day, I started eating a snake everyday,' adds the man with a proud smile.
Bhaskar's parents had remained ignorant about their son's appetite for snakes for at least seven years. 'My father noticed (the snake eating) when I was 14 years old. He tried to stop me. But I had already developed an addiction for snakes,' he said.
He gave a live demonstration before a team of journalists by catching a dhamin snake from the banks of the Ghaghara river, gobbling it up in 15 minutes. A native of Arah district, Bihar, Bhaskar wants to get himself a place in the Guinness Book of World Records.
'The present world record of living with deadly snakes is for 32 days. But I am sure I can stay with the reptiles for 40 days at a stretch if given a chance,' he added.
He admits he had to face health problems because of his eating habits. Doctors at Sadar Hospital did not entertain me when they came to know that I ate live snakes,' said Bhaskar, who had gone there to get treatment for typhoid. He is married and has four daughters, whom he has trained to deal with snakes without fear.