– Do you have pets, say, a cat or a dog in your house? – asked me petit Aislu Dzhoubaeva.
– I have a cat, but …
– My Zhavanda for me is like your fluffy pet to you, – said she, gently stroking a three-meter python that was creeping on her fragile shoulders. – She is still small. Pythons can reach an average length of 10 meters.
THE DREAM THAT CANNOT BE STRANGLED
Aislu is a professional dancer. She graduated from the choreographic school and her major was folk dances of the world. Now her dance assistant is a female python called Zhavanda.
– I specially ordered her from Malaysia. I saw many dance performances with snakes, and each time I was utterly fascinated. When I travelled to Malaysia, I made an effort to find out how to purchase a snake and, moreover, to deliver it to Kazakhstan. Then I called my Mom and told her about my unusual pet. She agreed, because she was used to all sorts of living creatures that lived in our house since I was a kid. Said & done! – laughs Aislu.
When Zhavanda arrived to Kazakhstan, she was an absolutely wild creature. All of a sudden surrounded by crowds of idle people, she could not understand what they wanted from her at the beginning.
– Dancing with a snake does not mean to simply hang it on top of your shoulders. It is necessary that the snake understands what you want from her and she will do it. After all, the snake is not just an exotic decoration of the dancer, but the partner: the snake should do certain movements, i.e. play her part, - says my interlocutor.
– At the beginning the scared Zhavanda used to bite me and even tried to strangle me and I was scared to take her into my hands. In order to tame her, as well as to let her know who the boss is, I hired a snake trainer when I was in Almaty. Tough training lasted for three months.
Aislu says that it wasn’t, simply, the training. Every day she and her snake were getting used to each other. And today they are not just partners in dance, but close friends.
GIRL WITH A CHARACTER
– Zhavanda has her own character. She likes tender loving care. You cannot make her do something against her will. Therefore, I learned how to come to agreement with her. We certainly understand each other on a bio-energy level. By the way, Zhavanda feels people as if she has the sixth sense. She turns to good people, and avoids those who have a negative energy. You can see that for yourself, especially when we dance at the weddings and different spectators try to “communicate” with her, -smiles Aislu. – I think Zhavanda, like any actor, gets excited before the show in public. So, before the performance I make sure that nobody touches or photographs her. Otherwise, she withdraws into herself and turns to stone. In situation like this it is not easy to lift 25-kilogram snake, leave alone the beautiful dance.
FROM LIFE OF ZHAVANDA
Can you imagine how my face looked like, when Aislu told me that Zhavanda moves around the house freely as the common favourite pet of the family! She doesn’t have nether cage nor enclosure for keeping her inside.
– I know that you are going to ask me whether we are afraid that she may strangle us, – laughed Aislu. - No, we are not afraid. The snake never initiates the attack, if it is not hungry and doesn’t feel danger. The same thing with Zhavanda. We feed her and love her and she loves us in return. We feed her with rabbits, rarely with mice. What can I do? Such is a python’s diet. I breed rabbits myself and buy mice in pet-shop.
– Zhavanda is a very clever creature, – joined the conversation Maryam, Aislu’s mother. – Once, it was in summer time, we returned home from one performance and soon we were going to leave for another. Well, in order to avoid dragging Zhavanda around, we decided to leave her in the car inside the basket where she normally rests. After a short while, the troubled neigbours called us and said that something strange was going on inside our car. I ran to the car and saw the following picture: the car lights were on, the alarm signal was enabled and the horn was sounding. It turned out that it was Zhavanda. She, probably, got hot and decided to draw attention. While she moved inside the car, she accidentally pressed the alarm signal. But she hadn’t stopped and began to beat her head against the horn button.
– Also, Zhavanda is normally awake during the night, and she sleeps during the day. She likes to sleep in my bed. Once I tried to play a trick on Zhavanda: I went to sleep in Mom’s bed and waited what Zhavanda would do now? And what do you think she did? She felt lost at first and then she found me, crawled into Mom’s bed and laid down next to me, – says Aislu.
This is the first Zhavanda’s winter in Atyrau. Aislu and other members of the family are worried about her and how she would overcome it. They are doing their best to make the mistress of the coming year- the year of the Snake - feel comfortable.
by Tamara Sukhomlinova