THE SNAKE AND THE MIRROR
By– Vaikom Muhammad Basheer
The story conveys the message that one should never be proud of one’s beauty, strength or achievements. The fear of death makes a person realize how futile the worldly achievements are. It is faith in God and modesty in thoughts which make a person strong. The doctor in the story is cured of his arrogance after a close brush with death.
In the story “The Snake and the Mirror,” the homoeopath doctor has been portrayed as a person who can assess himself critically and humorously. He honestly admits that as a new practitioner of medicine, he could not earn much and had to rent a poor, rat-infested house without even the facility of electricity. He also admits with a funny intent that he wanted to marry a fat and rich lady-doctor as it would help him run away without getting caught when he would make some silly mistake. This witty side of the doctor is seen again at the end of the story when he remarks that the thief did not take away his dirty vest because he had a sense of cleanliness.
The doctor was quite vain about his appearance and his qualification. He often admired his reflection in the mirror and thought of ways to look more handsome. He was a bachelor and wanted to look handsome. However, his ability to admit his follies helped him to realise that to be alive was more important than to look good. His arrogance turned into modesty after his encounter with the snake. In addition, he had admirable patience and presence of mind. When the snake landed on him, he did not jump or cry. Keeping his cool, he remembered God and actively thought about the medicine he would require in case the snake bit him. He also made the most of the opportunity when the snake was absorbed in its reflection in the mirror. Thus, the doctor is a candid person, a witty man, and an interesting character who relates his encounter with the snake in a lighter vein.