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My brother and family have reached Trivandrum. Sis-in-law calls up, on reaching her home. They will be coming over in a couple of hours. I have one last batch of folded clothes to go into the wall closet. I open it to keep them and …..Aaaaaaaaaaaah! There is an ENORMOUS spider running on the closet door. I try to make myself scarce so that it will not go IN but will choose the great open spaces. I stand with my eyes all screwed up and hands on my ears (Come to think of it, why the hands over my ears?? Am I trying to save myself from the scream that might emanate from myself?? Interesting!) The spider is not the outdoor type, it chooses to go into the closet, after some futile running around, and curls itself up between the folds of a sheet and the wall. I run for help. Since the senior- most Savior is away, I have to rely on Son Senior to step into his shoes.

He is on the phone.

Moneeeeeee, Chilandiiiiiiiiii!!”(Son, spider) I moan in a whisper putting Moaning Myrtle to shame.

He looks at me eyebrows crinkled.

“ Why are you whining? Speak properly!”

He sounds like me speaking to him rather than him speaking to me! My dignity is affronted. I pull myself together and say in a normal voice,
“There is a spider in your brother’s room!” and run back to keep an eye on the Jumbo Spider.

He tells his friend there’s an emergency, rings off and walks to Son Junior’s room.

“What shall we do?” I ask him, shifting nervously from one foot to another.

He watches the curled up spider (it has not moved) and thinks what strategy to adopt.

I think using the vacuum cleaner would be the best way. But he is the Team Leader of Operation Spider and team members have to go by the leader’s orders.

“Vacuum Cleaner” he decides.

I run to get it. I have shut the dog up in that room since there are going to be guests streaming in and some of them are petrified of dogs. The dog is all excited,

“What’s happening? What’s happening?” it barks, “May I join too?”

“No! You may not!” reads my expression.

“You jump in between and make a nuisance of yourself and don’t even know to catch a spider, so there!” My silence says it all. The dog is dejected; she wants to help. She takes the duster and shakes it violently to show of what use she can be.

But when she sees the vacuum cleaner she backs off uncertainly. This one she is not fond of. It makes a lot of noise and pulls at her hair. Now she wags her tail ingratiatingly,

“Ok ok, I will remain back here. You carry on!”

I have no more time for her. I rush to my son’s room with the vacuum cleaner, connect it and hand it over to Son Senior.

The spider meanwhile has shifted base and cannot be seen.

“What were you doing while I was away?” I want to yell. But one can’t yell at saviors or Team Leaders!

My son takes out the sheets and pillow covers; shakes them and keeps them aside. I jump on to the cot for a better view. I shift from one foot to another same as before. Suddenly both of us spot the villain. It runs hither and thither on the back wall searching for a place to hide.

“Now!” says my son and I switch on the vacuum cleaner promptly. No better assistant could anyone have found! In the mean time HE tries to get the nozzle in line with the spider.

Whoooooooooooooooosh! It is sucked into the machine. Three cheers for Eureka Forbes! My son is pleased at his handiwork. Hmmm… The geek CAN do things other than write computer programmes! I smile with relief; the job is done! The dog is happy that the noisy vacuum cleaner is switched off. Meanwhile where is the owner of the room, Son Junior?? He is having his dinner in front of the TV unaware of the whole drama. I let it be that way coz he has arachnophobia and would probably spend sleepless nights if he had witnessed the scene.

Ahh…there’s the doorbell. My brother and family have reached. Right on time too. We have concluded Operation Spider successfully.