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“If I had my way, if our paths were to cross at all, I would prefer them to take the low road and I the high road. Well I am not particular about it. If they so want they can take the high road and I shall be delighted to take the low road. All I ask is that we do not take the same road.” ~ Quoted from ‘My Jurassic Park’ a post written by me way back in 2008.

Who, you wonder, am I talking about. The lizards, the chameleons, the roaches, but mainly the lizards. Wherever I have lived, the creepy-crawlies of the region have made themselves at home in my house, constantly invading and intruding into my private space and scaring the sh*t out of me. Is it any wonder then that I wrote the above? A decade and more later, now settled in my new home, I have officially changed my stance. Do not cross paths with me ever, is my new motto.

Accordingly, I creepy-crawly-proofed my house even before stepping into it. Nets were installed everywhere to stop those of them trying find their way in, including the tiny menace called mosquitoes who for some reason find me irresistible. Whenever anyone opens the front door, I keep a close watch for incoming creatures and if the door stays open even a second longer than necessary I chew people’s head off scarring them for life.

Recently I have been hearing horror stories from my neighbours, of armies of lizards surreptitiously moving in, having probably come to know from other denizens of the creepy-crawly kingdom that a new apartment block has come up in the vicinity. They told me tales of finding a lizard lurking behind a chair, a second hidden in the folds of the curtain, yet another landing on the head of someone while she opened the front door to get the newspaper.

This was terrible. I increased my vigilance. I knocked on the front door before opening it ever so cautiously, not wanting lizards to use my head for jumping practice. Apparently all my precautions had been in vain.

Yesterday I was putting the clothes out to dry in the balcony when I stepped into the adjacent room for some reason I have now forgotten. I don’t know what made me look back, but I did and there, on the edge of my pink plastic bucket with the clothes, was a tiny pink head with bulbous dark eyes. To say I was dismayed will be the understatement of the year. Horrified would be more like it. How had the whatchamacallit lizard entered my well fortified home?

First things first. I promptly pushed the sliding doors shut and went in search of help. The L&M, the go-to person for lizard related emergencies was not home. I peeped into the kitchen and in a quivering voice told my house-help about the lizard. She calmly left whatever she was doing and walked ahead of me, opened the sliding door and stepped into the balcony.

She examined the bucket from all sides. No lizard. It was there earlier, I insisted. Just then I saw Mr (or Ms) Pinkie tentatively moving along the lower edge of wall behind her. There, there, I pointed. Ahh, now she would get the broom and sweep it away, I thought. Do you want the broom, I asked helpfully. It was the least I could do. She paid me no attention.

What was she going to do, I wondered. She had nothing except a wet towel in her hands, the one with which she had been wiping the kitchen counter. Meanwhile, with one deft movement she threw the towel she had in her hand on top of the startled lizard and scooped him/her up. Remarkable. She next opened the sliding doors, stepped in, walked to the front door, stepped out and set Pinkie free. What a brave woman! Three cheers to her!

© Shail Mohan 2022