It is not a secret at all. I AM terrified of lizards. Period. If I am cornered with no way to escape I go ggu ggu ggu and wait for someone to help me or wait for the lizard to decide on its own to move away. At other luckier times I simply jump nimbly back, an impossible feat for someone of my weight and age, but which nevertheless I manage to achieve with ease, and having made the jump, put as much distance as possible between said lizard and self till help comes along to chase it away from places it is unlawfully occupying.
In recent times there has been one occasion when forgetting my advanced years and problematic knees I went hurtling down the stairs, crossed the sitting room at top speed and having reached the door to the L & M’s study, made another of those nimble jumps into it, banging the door shut behind me before Luci could follow me in. Do I see some eyebrows raised in utter astonishment? ‘Afraid of Luci now Shail?’ is the unspoken question trembling on some lips. Well, I can explain.
I had been standing out in the balcony enjoying the big fat juicy moon hanging so deliciously in the evening sky. Yup we die-hard romantics are like that. We love gazing at the full moon and sighing to our heart’s content. I was doing just that when I heard a scuffling noise. I didn’t give it much thought initially. Probably the dog and its imaginary games, I mused. But my internal antennae, pretty sensitive little things in their own right, overrode my complacency and took matters into their own hands. There wasn’t much light in the balcony, naturally so as moon gazing is no fun with the electric light shedding its luminance. The internal antennae having warned me, I prudently moved back into the well lit bedroom. The dog followed me and nonchalantly springing on to the bed, proudly laid something small, dark and slimy on the bed cover.
I almost fainted at the sight. With a shriek whose volume was commendably controlled considering the circumstance, I bolted out of the room much to the puzzlement of the dog. Since Luci belongs to the same school of thought as Mary’s lamb, she promptly picked up the slimy thing and did the “following act” which incidentally was just the thing that had catapulted the lamb to unprecedented fame all over and reserved for itself a place in the rhyme books of all time. Anyways, suffice to say Luci’s action only spurred me on and… well, I ended up entering the L & M’s study in a hurry and banging the door in her much surprised face.
Meanwhile the even more surprised and agitated L & M had jumped out of his chair with a,
“Entha? Entha? Entha?” (What?what? waht?)
I giggled in nervousness and sheepishly answered,
“Luci has caught a lizard and she still has it in her mouth…”
The L & M heaved a sigh of relief.
“Is that all? Why do you have to make so much of ruckus for that?!!! Running down the stairs too!” he said in a voice full of reproach and walked out to deal with Luci and rescue the lizard or its remains. Thank God for saviors! It is such a relief having them around exactly when you need them.
All this talk of lizards reminds me of what happened some years back when the L & M and I visited his colleague and family. The man, his wife and their two sons stayed not far from us. The younger of the two, a hyperactive feller of four, took a fancy to me. It was as if he found the perfect person to show off the latest in his toy collection. He hurried inside and was back soon with something. He asked me to extend my hand and placed whatever it was in my upturned palm. It was a wonder that I did not scream my head off right then and there. It was a lizard. No, not a live one, it was one of those made of plastic or rubber or something, and looked pretty authentic. Yup, I am terrified of the inanimate ones as well.
My instinct had been to hurl the thing as far from me as possible and jump on top of the sofa with eyes tightly shut. Well failing that, I wanted to fling it across the room with all my might or at the very least, have the luxury of simply screaming my guts out. But prudence told me that if I indulged in any of those things or showed even the slightest sign of fear for that matter, this precocious kid was going to take the hint and torment me with that fearful rubber lizard. He’d probably make a comedy show out of my fear, fling the damn thing at me every five minutes and clap his wee little hands in glee at his success in scaring the living daylights out of me. Just thinking of it made me apprehensive.
“Isn’t it nice?” he prodded me looking for an answer. “Look at this one!” he said and placed another one in my already trembling hand.
I held my breath, not daring to breathe and managed to nod my head somehow. Yes, yes, yes, awesome things, I agreed smiling through clenched teeth, trying to keep my voice steady. The boy babbled some more about this and that while I sat through the ordeal as if paralyzed.
Luckily just then the L & M turned around to look my way and I suggested to the little bugger to go and show off his lizards to Uncleji. Thankfully the L & M took in my pleading eyes and tactfully called him over. I could still feel the little fellow debating with himself whether he should throw the things at me a few times and look for a reaction, which probably was what he did with them most of the time anyway. But he seemed to think it wasn’t worth the trouble. After all hadn’t I held the damn things in my hand without any protest or fear whatsoever? Well, that’s psychology for you, something I worked out on my own to save myself that day.
Prompt words for the week: clench, prod, faint