My writing is an amalgamation of memories , personal philosophy & experiences of the world around – not in put in any particular order; there are large areas where one merges with the other and time smudges over reality with fiction.
We remember the most awkward instances and oddest personality traits; what remains true is that Time gilds the edges of our memories framing them and making them valuable …
The last plate lay in the sink! I was DONE- that was a loaded word for me!
Done picking up dirty dishes and leftovers after the last air-kissing guests left—Some tottering and giggling, with their make –up melted all over their face; others loud and brash with their unbuttoned shirts coming untucked at the waist, slurring incoherent desires to undefined partners..
Done with entertaining vacuous self-centred crowds, with the hope of meeting that one meaningful person..
Done looking for home, comfort and a sense of belonging in this alien place!
With exhausted relief, I picked up the plate in the sink and felt something cold and wispy touch me; my eyes widened, I screamed…..
The cold, pale body with black mustard eyes just ran up my lathered arms leaving a slimy trail! ….Lizard! House gecko! God’s lowliest creature!
It ran up my arms till it perched on my shoulder!
I was transfixed with fear; my mouth was so wide open that I could not breathe. I was choking in horror while this little beast, with its pasty skin so like unbaked dough was making itself comfortable on my shoulder.
I shuddered! My shaking with fear and disgust unsettled the critter; it fell of its perch onto the kitchen floor. It gave a quick glance backwards; flicked its evil tongue and disappeared into the dark damp shadows that exist in all our lives.
I was left with eyes brimming with helpless tears and the unclean feeling that Eve must have had while conversing with the reptilian Satan.
Why Me! I told myself as I stood under the shower, letting the water droplets wash my skin and sooth my soul. Why was I chosen by these colourless twisting animals as their victim? This had happened before, I even had proof….A photograph, which despite its fading colours and graininess, had captured the moment well— my desire for greater glory fighting an obviously losing battle with cringing fear & disgust—starkly visible for all to see.
What was the greater glory? In a moment it all came back to me:
The myth or was it a legend? Or probably just a superstition to help Us and Them to exist in the same ecosystem that my eco-crusading mother had mentioned about the gecko while photographing the scene—
A gecko, according to villagers of Bengal had the power to transform one into royalty by merely falling on one’s shoulder—
‘Don’t scream!’ she had said excitedly ‘be brave! Let me take a photo of you because one day you will be a queen. Trust me! One day this prophecy will come true’
That was Ma, full of joie de vivre about the smallest events in our lives. I stood there with a sickening feeling that I was going to faint before Ma got the camera focussed; dreading the moment the gecko decided explore other parts of my anatomy, but I had stood firm! Everyone had clapped at my absurd good fortune.
In fact, I am sure one of younger cousins had looked up at me and said ‘How brave you are! I wish I could be like you, and then maybe the gecko would have chosen me.’
That was the power of superstition and innocent belief! Well, at least memory calmed me down and brought a cynical smile to my face.
Royalty! Images of my battle-strewed life lay around me like a carelessly put together collage: the pain and heartbreak; the sense of loss; the abuse; the violence; wailing children; teary eyed sleep- yes! I had fought it all, conquered it on my own. Now I was here, with my own space, on my own terms. Maybe, the gecko was right after all, I was the Queen of my own destiny!
That encounter and its aftermath helped me forge a bond with the creature. I would let it remain in the shadows of my life, watching me vanquish all odds and become a queen in life’s chess game. At least there was somebody watching over me.