I have a lizard…in my house. (It sounds rather cute when you sing it to the tune ‘We have the whole world….in our hands.’)
This is how I found out.
I came home one night, inebriated with the joy of a job well done. I chirped merrily outside the door and entered my dark apartment. The willowy frayed white curtain was swaying like a little spectre – the bai had left the window open for…Phantom, I think. Reached and switched on the light and in a voice that sounded like Batman and Cher, went ‘Yeeowiao.’
I had seen the lizard.
It was on the wall behind the rocking chair. It ambled about in the dim light like a little reptilian Lara Croft. Zwap-zwap-zwap went her padded feet and then she looked up. Scaly but supremely confident.
I, despite the yelp, stood frozen there like a dork – neither like Cher nor Batman. But someone had to make the first move…and Liz did that. Now, a lizard is despicable enough but one that’s given to sudden movements makes you scream cold murder! Which is rather apt because a lizard is a cold blooded reptile..but more on that later.
I ran and shut the door. This proved to be a good idea because I could not see the lizard anymore; but it was a bad idea because I was out of the house…and that was a rather unlivable situation.
So I went back in. I could see Liz in the corner of a room looking at me askance. Her main object of attention was a fly that buzzed around cluelessly – there clearly is room for only one kind of creature in a Mumbai flat.
I kind of dived onto my bed because I didn’t want to walk the same floor that had been ‘zwapped’ on. Eeew! and all that!
Once there, I wondered who to call for solace and advice. Who, after all, could know how to get a lizard out of a house? My pal,
VK and I worked for a legal portal a couple of years back. She is a sweetheart and helpful, a true-blue friend, and a practicing lawyer. The last bit is important because this means she knows how to handle reptiles.
Tring Tring (or rather that infernal ‘Wo Lamhe’ ring tone)
VK (husky): Yes..
Me: Hi, this is Muk..
VK (not so husky now on identifying a female caller): Hey Muks! How are you?
Me: I came home to see this lizard in my flat ya! How do I get it out!
VK (is that panic I sense?): Where are you? I’m coming!
Me: I’m on the bed and the …
VK (shrieks): What the hell! Get out of the house!
Me (was there more to Liz than met the eye?): Why? It’s in the corner!
VK(somewhere around her glasses must be shattering): Goddamnit woman, it’s breaking and entering..that man is …what the hell..why are you..
Me( getting a cramp from suppressed guffaw): Idiot! It’s a lizard – a house lizard..
VK (slumps down on a mosaic floor): A WHAT! Oh, I thought you meant it as a metaphor or some such…
Me: V, I’ll find a man in my house, and you think I’ll call you up and talk in metaphors. Is there something you want to talk to me about, sweety? Is there a lot of stress?
VK(spent now): Oh shut up!
Me: So how do I get the lizard out? It’s dirty and creepy! I feel filthy just looking at its slimy skin.
VK(intelligently): Lizards don’t have slimy skins.
Me: Eww! But its yucky, V. It’s sick!
VK (soothing): Okay, okay – don’t lapse into a coma and all. Just go and open the door. That lizard will just get out.
Me: What if another one gets in?
VK: No it won’t idiot!
Me: Why not? An open door is open – things can get out, things can come in. What’s so improbable about that!
There were several moments of silence. Vk was perhaps thinking of a constitutional implication in my argument.
VK (with sudden vengeance): You know why that doesn’t happen Mukta?! Its because people are selfish! They have no heart! They just walk out. You leave a door open and they goddamn leave! Who the hell stays? Who the hell walks through an open door, Mukta? Who? Doors are just open so that they can walk out.
I looked at Lizzy in the corner. She seemed to be still and lifeless and a lot easier to handle than my pal.
So I hung up and called Ma.
Ma : What happened now? (This was my first call to her in the whole day.)
Me: There’s a lizard in the house.
Ma: Is it dead? Just throw it out.
Me: It’s not dead.
Ma: Then kill it and throw it out. (Don Corleone, anyone?)
Ma: Make sure you wash your hands later (Ma Baker, perhaps?)
And that is why I live with Lizzy.