Being Women

Wanted: A Wizard to Ward Off The Lizard!

An amusing tale of dealing with an irrational fear of lizards and the eventual triumph over these mini-reptilian invaders.

The Morning Nightmare

Laugh not at my fear, dear friends, for I am dead (pun intended) serious! A normal person like Mr. Hubby sees an innocuous slimy reptile that doubles up as a natural pest control by polishing off cockroaches, as if it were kosha mangsho from Golbari. But to me, the creature assumes the magnitude of a famished crocodile, whose sole target is to have me for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

Mornings are hell, I tell you. Groggy-eyed, I saunter to the kitchen. I reach out for the teacups in the rack and let out a scream loud enough to scare away the mynah perched on the windowsill. After an eternity, Mr. Hubby emerges from our bedroom and embarks on the ‘Rescue Wifey’ mission. He looks at the lizard, turns to me, and drawls, “Come on! It’s a scared-to-death baby!”

I roll my eyes. In my indignation, I forget to accuse him that, in our ten plus years of married life, he has never ever called me a baby. Sensing a marital strife about to brew in the kitchen, the lizard dashes towards the tap and promptly falls into the sink.

There goes my morning cuppa!

The Kitchen Commotion

My knight in shining armour rises to the occasion. “The poor thing needs help,” the self-proclaimed expert in lizard psychology declares. After guiding my nemesis to safety, he declares the kitchen a reptile-free zone, allowing me to finally breathe and put the tea leaves to boil.

Chai time is our we-time. We sip our beverages in peace, occasionally making plans that never see the light of day. Case in point: the Goa trip! That nirvana moment turns into a new season of pati, patni, aur woh when Lizzie No. 2 joins us, peeping from behind the sofa.

The Afternoon Showdown

Two options loom before me.

  1. Stay put and risk a heart attack.
  2. Scream and spill the piping hot tea on my nightie. [Oops! Do I sense Maya Sarabhai grimacing already?]

“Why waste a cup of tea?” the middle-class me whispers to me. Having thus attained the nonchalance (and wisdom-laced vocabulary) of Nithyananda, I remain seated like a statue. I sense my soul ready to take flight and go on an astral journey. Meanwhile, Mr. Hubby has started to engage in a war of words with a random stranger on X.

Lizzie No. 2 takes pity on me and scurries behind the bookshelf. The rest of the morning passes by without a glitch.

The Evening Encounter

I face my litmus test in the afternoon. I wash the rice and put it to boil in the cooker. Lizzie No. 3 announces her presence with a flourish. Remembering the morning episode, I feel emboldened. I place my hands on my hips and look at my arch-enemy menacingly. Lizzie No. 3 doesn’t budge. I take a step forward. Lizzie No. 3 is rooted to the spot. Visions of me receiving the Param Veer Chakra cloud my mind. My lips curve into a smile.

“You dare to wreck my life!” I hiss at Lizzie No. 3.

Lizzie No. 4 (presumably her husband) chooses that moment to rescue his damsel in distress.

The Ultimate Solution

Is there a family cohabiting with us?

The freshly-minted soldier in me makes an ignominious hasty retreat. Zomato comes to the rescue as I lick my wounds in the comfort of my bedroom.

Get a cat, they say.

And I get a cat!

Now all I do is shape my lips into a capital O and allow the slightest of gasps to escape. My knight in furry armour needs no invitation. The ‘Rescue Hooman Momma’ mission is successful, and a sense of Schadenfreude engulfs me as I see the mini-crocodile getting swatted ruthlessly by the mini-panther.

“Take that, you &%*#$%!” I hiss, as I have the last laugh.

The Moral of the Story

PS: Like a true partner-in-crime, I erase all traces of murder by disposing of the half-eaten corpse and removing the paw prints.

Moral of the story: Retain the cat. Husbands are optional!


  • Kosha Mangsho: Bengali-style mutton curry
  • Golbari: A popular restaurant in Kolkata

By Narayani V Manapadam

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