Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Peaceful Co-existence...

...with lizards, ants, moths, dogs, frogs is what we are practising in the new house. Remember, I told you that it is an old old construction with old fashioned high ceilings and lime plastered walls?

The first night we stayed over in the newly distempered house, I kept an all night vigil for any lizards falling from the ceiling. In the weirdest of my imaginations, a lizard would fall onto the fan blades and would cut itself and its pieces would fall on me. Scared, I covered myself in a white sheet-thinking it would double up as a scary sight for the old girl and make it retract into its house high up. There is one particular lady who lives in my drawing room and somehow lifts her head in the typical dinosaur fashion and sways to and fro. Possibly it enjoys Abida on my blog as much as I do or possibly it is threatenting me as if it is going to jump down from the wall straight into my book-cupboard. I often wake up with nightmares of lizards jumping out of my almirahs. However, a month into the house and they have gotten used to me just as I have also gotten used to them. Only yesterday my mother in law and I celebrated the birth of new ones of the lizards in the house (she was actually in the favour of celebrating their lohri-since she is now the official flag bearer of the NGO that fights female foeticide) by chasing a few out. I am sure they will return with the same scary pomp and show as the Return of the Mummy. And mummy and I will go on fighting a losing battle with brooms in our hands and war cries in our throats.

The ants in the house are such patient beings that they adopt the same old paths that they are used to following generation after generation. I use the insecticidal spray on their regular routes, they mourn their dead and again resume their day-to-day life. After all they are Indians too. We raise a hue and cry post incidents like 26/11 or gruesome deaths at unmanned railway crossings, tremble a few times at the repeat shows on the television and then start our day to day life – as if nothing ever had happened. One thing more, the ants in this house are so desperate that they don’t even leave the salt container alone. I mean their attacking the flour container, the sugar container, ghee or stuff like that-is traditionally acceptable. But my ants are a little hatke you know. I love them. Now I’ ve gotten used to cleaning the kitchen counter (if you can call the 2x3’ shelf a counter) about 200 times a day. The ants are actually angry with me and are biting me on my feet as I type this.

Moths felt almost at home when we had just shifted. They actually resented our presence. They tried to attack the youngest of my brood. I remember Jai was so scared of them that he refused to brush his teeth in the verandah wash basin. I told him that actually they themselves were scared of him and that they would not dare attack Inspector Jai. But he believed in the theory of ‘better safe than be sorry’. The very next day he was so irritated with their continued presence around the tubelight that he started to stamp his feet. When asked what he thought he was doing, he said I am trying to scare away the moths. Wow, by stamping his feet about 4 meters away from them. The moths have since taken a flight, due to the heat, or due to the scare of this brave guy-but gone they have. Till it rains.

Then there is a black emaciated dog who has attached itself to the house. She lingers on outside the door and sits under the sukhchain tree right outside my gate. In extreme heat conditions it moves inside to the verandah. Now I hate dogs. Sorry, dog lovers, but I had had dogs once and they caused me much heartbreak. Vowed never to have a pet. However, this dog has attached herself to this house and Jai has attached himself to this dog. He ensures that the dog has three square meals a day, enough water to keep herself hydrated. In return this stray dog has pooped in the lawn, snooped in the dust bin to scatter away all the rubbish and has expressed love when I threatened it with a stick. What do I do folks?

Frogs-their music is our everyday food for the soul. The other day, in a post dinner stroll, Rasan and I found a big fat dodo kind of a frog. I tried talking to it, it didn’t respond. Today, post dinner, we strolled and talked about that frog to Jai who was very curious about its looks and its persona. By chance we saw it again by the roadside. I insisted that it was the same frog. Rasan disagreed. I said, “ Let’s check.” I again talked to it, it didn’t respond, I called it names, “You dumbo, deaf fella, idiot, don’t cha hear I am talking to you?” It didn’t respond. Proven that it is the same.

Oh, by the way, there is a big fat rat that sneaked into the washroom from the lawn today. Here goes the lady with the broom to chase it out.

Some Co-existence !!! Till the ants die, the moths fly, the dog yelps, the frog jumps; the lizard falls and the rat crawls.... away...


30 comments:

roop rai said...

brilliantly written as usual! surprize us, lady, with a badly written post! :D

i cannot believe u live there! honest!!! i don't even want to know any more! u're just trying to scare me away. i know !!

Mystic Margarita said...

Blog-hopped here. And am I glad to find someone in my shoes! I have lizards galore in the yard (thankfully not inside the home yet) and snake/s to boot! :) But peaceful coexistance for me, too, specially because I'm too scared to shoo them away :)

philip9876 said...

you have so many friends within the house and am sure you should find no reason to complain ;)

How do we know said...

OMG! if i was u, i would have packed out of the house, lock stock and b.. i sm sooo scared of lizards etc. in the house... and frogs? Not happening! You are brave, as far as i m concerned. In the hostel, we had to co-exist with the primary occupants of the building - lizards. But since then, i have thought of those times and wondered how i lived thru it then..

Iya said...

mampi ur first para about Liz is giving me goosebumps..i will have one sleepless night today..
having said that, i think this is a brilliant peice of writting.

Iya said...

is this fiction?

quirkyindian said...

You just need a few more species and you can start conducting a safari/tour..... :-)

And no cockroaches? Shame on you!

Cheers,

Quirky Indian

laddu said...

well wen v shifted our house was clean,free 4m all such stuffs.
within 6 months it became like dis..ya d reason in our case is dat we had not cleaned our house for 6 months. den we hired a maid servent(our owner threatened us to kick us out if v didn hired one) who took 100 bucks extra 2 clean it d first time....

vandana said...

Lizard cuting by fan blad -oh god what imagination I shudder ...
lol on Inspector Jai stamping 4 mtrs away and scaring moths
nicely done so much that it could be a scene on RGV's next Darna...... sequel

Solilo said...

Aaha! true animal kingdom. Everyone co-existing peacefully. :)

We have Snails in our garden, will that count? :D

ThoughtSafari said...

Hilarious post again! We might be shifting too! and I can almost imagine being in your shoes :) But then what is a grand old house without its share of historical creatures! :)

hitchwriter said...

Would you believe if I told you we have lizards galore at our house in my hometown Bharuch, a snake does roam in our colony too... we even have had a mongoose come in our compound...

besides our house is a huge farm of the agriculture university and moths... ants et all are galore... squirrels too... the only thing that we actuallly do remove from the house are cockroaches and rats... !! all else are welcome to stay... !!!!

Life Begins said...

Oh Goddddddd....Lizards....i shiver at the thought of them...forget about seing thema nd living with them - though i have. # yrs of co-existence while i was in hostel and few more years in my post marriage house. I had mastered the art of shooing them away.
The major reason i love being here in NL is no such house mates. Its a bliss - i tell u.

And..as always BRILLIANT composition.

Pradip Biswas said...

Thank you for such a nice post. Besides Lizards, ants and Dogs there are souls present in every house which are formiddable. They come and review your activity when the lights in the house are switched off or it is locked. Have you felt their presence?

Balvinder Singh said...

No Manpreet, you can't scare away your potential guests by painting such pictures of your dwelling.

Aur jithey sher rehnde hone othey lizards, daddu atey cheentiaan di kee majaal.

Phoenixritu said...

LOL, are you sure you're not my neighbour? We have creepy crawlies too, that we can not identify!

Mampi said...

Roop-Wow, your comment is the first. Nah, Sachi we live together with all these fun beings.

Mystic Margarita-Yea, majboori tera naam Peaceful co-existence. Hehe. Welcome to my blog. Do keep visiting.

Philip-Nah, I am not complaining. Dont cha hear? I am singing.

HDWK-That was my first instinct too-to pack and run. But then bahadur bhajjdey nahi

Iya-sleep well, hehe. Nahi, its not fiction, its asli-as asli as the desi ghee.

QI-Thanks for the business idea. cockroaches-wait let me go check in the store.

Laddu-You are great Bhaji. Lagey raho.

Vandana-Someone tell RGV that Vandana considers this extreme horror stuff. Hhehe.

Solilo-of course they count. Bring em on.

ThoughtSafari-Tell HDWK that please. I am preserving history, biology, anthorpology. I should be conferred a Padma Shri if not more.

HitchWriter-Yes, why wouldnt I believe? I have mongeese (or is it mongooses) around, and I have squirrels aplenty too. Ek adad snake bhi. Tum number nahi bana saktey.

LB-How I wish I could also live an insect-less existence, but but but...

Pradip Biswas-Koi pichley janam ka bair hai ka hamrey sath. ab aatmaon ki kasar thi, woe aap ne nikaal di.

Balvinder-Wah, wah, what a perspective Sir ji. You are most welcome to come and join the peaceful coexistence if you still feel like.

Ritu-Kaash, kaash, kaash, I were your neighbour.

maheshinder_singh said...

Mampi you have managed to make a good story with the real life inmates/characters. I wish you could write a post the beautiful surroundings: gardens, trees especially the mango tree, fresh air, cool atmosphere and about the kids watching stars after so many years and sleeping out in the open for the first time ever since their birth. Its nature and natural all around.

Veena said...

Mampi,

Wow ! what an interesting house you stay in .. wow !

what do you do , to get to stay in such houses :)

hey, put up some pics of the house..

One more thing, loved your writing style.. ever considered writing a children's novel or a book ..

Pinku said...

awesome....simply terrific....


by the way ever heard of a thing called a mosquito net??? I can send you one if you wish...it will keep away the creepy crawlies atleast at night. it works, trust me!!

Sucharita Sarkar said...

Must be maddening living in such a menagerie! But trust you to brilliantly find the light-hearted side of the insect-invasions.

Indian Homemaker said...

Only thing left to do is sharing some pictures Mampi :)
Although the household paparazzi might scare them away ;)

Atul Vishwanathan said...

No cockroaches? What about frogs that fly off walls? Damn.. I envy your coexistence.. (really)

UL said...

no cockroaches? Wow! You are lucky, while I was growing up we had those two....hated those buggers...really was terrified of them when they flew about ir rage...as a bunch!! you made me laugh so hard, Mampi....loved it. brought back many-a- memories...i guess i dont miss those insects here :)

Mithe said...

You have been kept busy...now I know where you disappeared to for so many days:)
{she was actually in the favour of celebrating their lohri-since she is now the official flag bearer of the NGO that fights female foeticide}-lolz at this!
I loved the way you used 'ants' as a metaphor.....
nice writing as usual:)

Sudhir Khandelwal said...

Mampi, we the humans are the intruders. Enjoy community living; Vasudeva Kutumbakamah!

Mampi said...

Mahesh-Yes, sir, I will do a picture post. Thanks for the idea.

Veena- Are you sure children will read me? :)

Pinku-Mosquito Net...hmmm dhundhla dhundla sa yaad aa raha hai, hoga kahin pada brown color ka ek net. Will look for it.

Sucharita-Yes, it is fun...

IHM-I could not help laughing at the "household Paparazzi" thing.

Atul-Yes, hardly enviable position though.

UL-Ah, I had almost forgotten their existence. But bless this house, the memories come jumping, crawling, trotting back.

Mithe-Yay, now my house is livable.

Sudhir-Yes, you are so right.

Imp's Mom said...

this is what I call peaceful co-existence!

squirrels aur cockroaches nahi hain kya? mere ghar ye bhi pe milte hain!

Sidhusaaheb said...

I wonder if it has occurred to you that all lizards could not possibly be female.

:D

BTW, I think lizards are friends since they eat harmful insects like cockroaches. The kind of sure-footed creatures that they are, they rarely fall off a wall. So, I suppose you need not worry too much on that count.

For the ants, my mother adds a few drops of phenyl to the water used to mop the floor (pocha laaon waala paani).

God bless your son for feeding the stray bitch and it's good that the frogs have chosen a location outside of your home for the concerto!

Rajindarjit said...

Keep watch on lizards, drug addict youth is chasing them.
As for as the existence of other insects in this new house(though built in the previous century),they are like us changing their worldly 'CHOLA'. They have every right on this earth to lead their own life.
So - Live and let them live, dear.
Any how, your posting a good piece of fiction. Keep it up!
Waiting for other episodes.
Dhindsa