Sunday, July 11, 2010
Gibbering Over A Gecko
Anyone who has known me long enough or well enough would know my severe aversion to the common gecko. Although I am crazy about just about every creature great and small, geckos (and men?) are not on that list.
The little fiends have terrorised me for years now. The aversion really kicked in when I spent two years in Chennai - possibly the worst two years of my life (not counting the two wasted with Ducky, of course). Geckos would bide their time in the common bathroom, waiting for me to trot in. Once I was well and truly in the midst of my bathing routine, they’d hurl their writhing bodies into my bucket of water or, worse, land on my bare back.
I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve run screaming from the bathroom in terror. I once ran full tilt, clad in only a towel, into my hostel warden. She glared at me in disgust, eyeing me not unlike a smug gecko, before declaring, “You Ooty girls have no shame!” (I had spent ten years in Ooty before moving to Chennai). “We Ooty girls also have no courage in the face of geckos!” I called back cheekily, before scurrying away to safety - away from conniving geckos and seething wardens.
During a mandatory early-morning meditation session, I’d find myself face-to-face with a colourful garden lizard, replete with cilia-like spikes down his back, doing his morning push-ups, regarding me with a bright, beady eye while I looked on in mute horror.
Last night, the gecko brigade unleashed its horror on me again. While I scrubbed myself down with St.Ives’ apricot scrub in the bath tub, I heard a distinct “clink” beside my foot. Looking down, I spotted a young, pale-faced gecko eyeing me in the most disconcerting manner. In a split second, I was out of the bathroom. However, I have obviously developed some courage over the last decade. I returned to the scene of the attack brandishing WD-40. (Yes, it was the only thing closest and quickest to grab. Besides, it is touted as a versatile product with 2000 uses - I might have added #2001).
Then, standing six feet away from my tormentor, I spritzed like I’ve never spritzed before. My assailant first tried to dive for cover behind a giant bottle of strawberry bubble bath. However, I kept at him, like the cops dispelling a mob with a water cannon. Horrors! Completely disoriented (and possibly rust-free for life), he ran straight for me! I squealed, leaped over him and took cover in the bathtub again, keeping my finger down on the spray gun. I was GI Jane with that WD-40 I tell you.
This is when he breached the boundaries of battle, the unsporting scoundrel. He hopped into my bedroom at top speed like a highly caffeinated kid on a pogo stick. Too chicken to follow him immediately, lest he leap at me, I allowed him to skip under the bed before throwing on a bathrobe and dashing out for my weapons of mass destruction. Oh, yeah! Bring on the Baygon Multi-Insect Killer.
He was nowhere to be seen when I returned. “Fire first, ask questions later”, I reasoned with myself and doused the entire room with Baygon, spraying liberally under the bed, until I could taste the chemical on my tonsils. I swear I heard my neighbour, two blocks down, gag.
And just like that, it ended. I heard and saw no more of my attacker. What has become of him still remains a mystery this morning. Is he dead or plotting a more ferocious attack?
There was one positive thing to the entire episode. I am severely hematophobic - I’ve been known to faint, grow dizzy, break out in a cold sweat and clutch at inappropriate animate or inanimate objects for support at the sight of blood.
You can imagine my terror when I had to undergo a routine blood test this morning. However, five minutes after meekly offering up a vial of blood, I was trotting out quite normally with my dignity intact.
How did I manage to stay cool and calm this time? Simple: I kept my eyes closed and my mind firmly on the offensive gecko, reliving the horror of him making like a wallaby and scurrying under the bed.
One phobia to conquer another. And that’s how it’s done. *Holstering WD-40 and taking a bow*