Lizards aren’t gentleman

07-12-2018 12:12

animal-close-up-color-927497Now I cannot speak for everyone but if there’s a courage barometer, I would easily notch up an 8 on a scale of 10. And we are only talking about ordinary people, not extraordinary men and women who are protecting their fellow countrymen at the border and on the streets.

So among ordinary folks, I would call myself brave. When I was small, a big black snake slithered into our home, and I wasn’t exactly scared or perturbed. I have seen lions, from close quarters, the entire pride of 10 lolling on the plains of the Serengeti, and fear was not on my list of emotions. I have been 50 meters close to a hungry, crouching lion ready for the kill and I was as cool as baba Ramdev’s aloe vera gel. I have been chased by a herd of elephants from one side of my jeep and another from behind – almost closing in on the gap in Masai Mara, Kenya. I have slept in the middle of the jungle [really, really the middle] in a government rest house in Corbett National Park with no electricity, no network  but with wild animals as unwanted guests. I have followed a reigning tigress of Ranthambhore for over an hour.

My story of courage have not just been with wild animals alone but with the urban kind too!

I have confronted and handed over lecherous men to the cops in Delhi. I have helped nab an intruder. I have driven along on the streets of Gurgaon on a cold wintery night in search of a friend who decided to walk out in a fit of rage directed at her husband (marriage, I tell you has wonderful effects on people!). I have been stranded in a valley in Himachal for close to 8 days when unprecedented rains and landslides wrecked havoc on the main highway which in turn became inaccessible. Finally me and my friends had to be rescued and airlifted!

So to cut the long story short. I have dealt with many such situations that were alarming in nature but I have looked at fear in the eye without even batting an eyelid!

However, I transform from this bold, dashing and fearless woman into a timid, faint-hearted human being just at the sight of these summer-loving, goose-bump inducing – lizards!

For the love of life, I cannot understand why these crawlies give me the creeps. The fact is, lizards aren’t exactly gentlemen. They appear out of nowhere, invade your property [and peace of mind], love to do a peek-a-boo just when you’re ready to take a relaxing shower. After a hard day’s work, just when every bone in your body is aching to rest, they make a bone-chilling appearance that robs you of your much awaited sleep!

Now am I to be blamed for having this abject loathing for these slimy creatures?

Specially when you realise that it has been handed over to me as a family heirloom! My paternal grandmother fainted at the mere sight of lizards, my dear, over-protective father cowered for protection and jumped on top of the dining table when he spotted one on the floor! There are family stories galore of panic stricken aunts and uncles who on an ordinary day commanded a lot of respect. You just had to catch them on one of these ‘weak’ moments!

If you do a quick research on the net, you’ll know people experience severe emotional reactions to lizards, such as nausea, anxiety, panic attacks. Some cases require immediate intervention by a psychologist. The brain becomes hyper-alert, pupils dilate, breathing accelerates. Heart rate and blood pressure rise. Blood flow and stream of glucose to the skeletal muscles increase. Organs not vital in survival such as the gastrointestinal system slow down.

In my family’s case, we’ve shown all the above symptoms and more!

So no wonder, I am carrying the family tradition, multiplied several times over.  I have a lizard story perhaps in every country, I have visited so far! From the home ground to Bali to Africa, there are many episodes of my rendezvous with these mini dinosaurs.

At 2 am in the morning, I have found myself calling the building guard to evict an uninvited guest on the wall, much to the former’s shock and dismay.

I have requested for room change at odd hours in fancy hotels in Africa after I found one lizard trying to play hide n seek! When I was in Bali, on my honeymoon, I saw a gigantic version of the house lizard, called gecko, trying to play assistant in my very luxurious spa session. Only when I fearfully objected, that I was given another room [mind you, the gecko was not shifted, I was. ] So much for coming from a ‘atithi devo bavah’  country! They on the other hand, find God in the gecko! The sweet people of Bali, consider a gecko’s presence auspicious. Quite contrary to how I feel about the subject.

Irrational, silly, call it what you may, the below sums up my sentiment.

*”I have only the vaguest memory of a life before fear. Every morning when I wake up there is one blissful second before I look around the room and remember my daily terrors.” 

*[ Lena Dunham, Not That Kind of Girl: A Young Woman Tells You What She’s “Learned”]