Zara's Puddle Green Pal!

Last Updated : 14 October 2010, 10:58 IST
Last Updated : 14 October 2010, 10:58 IST

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“Aaah there he is again!” Zara screamed. "SANTOSH is back!"

Had anyone but her older sister Aviva heard her cries, they might have thought that a thief or stranger had scared little Zara. The source of her fright however, was a simple but rather ugly household lizard.

"What's your problem?" shrugged Aviva "Leave the stupid thing alone, it's on my window, I don't care."

Aviva didn't understand that there was nothing in this world that Zara hated more than lizards. What was there to like about them? They never came in a nice colour; always puddle green or puke-y yellow.

They didn't seem to move normally like other creatures either, they wriggled! To top it all off, their tails had minds of their own! Once dropped, they kept moving! According to Zara, something was seriously wrong with an animal whose body parts could work without a brain attached.

Saying the very word 'lizard' was enough to give Zara chills and goosebumps, so she had decided one day to name the icky thing 'Santosh', just so she wouldn't have to say the word ever again.

Zara glared at the window mesh as the creature clung on for dear life. Santosh seemed to sense her anger and burning gaze, and in one quick zig-zag motion, wriggled under the curtain. "Yuck!" thought Zara. "I must figure out a way to get rid of him. This lizard doesn't know who he's messing with!"  With an evil laugh and one flip of her hair, she stormed off to hatch a plan.

Now alone in her room, Aviva laughed to herself. She too used to have a terrible fear of lizards when she was little. She remembered the time she came face to face with one in the bathroom one day.

It was the time of bucket-baths, and she was casually pouring a mug-full over her head, when the thing appeared. Upon the bath stool sat a small pea-green and rather chubby lizard, staring at her with two beady black eyes.

With a scream that would scare the fleas off a dog, she grabbed the toilet-spray and sprayed the innocent lizard into the drain. She thought she was safe, but a second later its little head popped back up through a tiny hole in the drain cover. After recovering from her fright, Aviva realised that she had to try to live in harmony with these lizards. After all, they were a part of every Indian household.

Chuckling over the memories, Aviva strolled into Zara's room where she found the little girl on the floor, glasses on and surrounded by detailed drawings, graphs and charts.

"What on earth are these?" She asked her sister in surprise.

"Oh they're just my plans on how to get rid of Santosh. I must be fully prepared. You're welcome to help me" said Zara. "There are no uninvited guests in this household!"

"Oh Zara!" laughed Aviva. "I honestly have no idea how to kill a lizard, but take this encyclopaedia, maybe there's something in there."

Zara opened up the huge book thinking "Older sisters. Not one bit helpful!" and turned to the 'L' section. "Lizards have their own page!" she said out loud. "How did they manage that?"

As she read, Zara was fascinated. She found out that some lizards like the Chameleon change their colour according to their moods. She learned that they love to lie in the sun just like she did. She even learned that the reason they drop their tails when they're scared is to distract other animals that try to attack them.

"Still disgusting, but quite a good tactic." thought Zara. "If only I could do that to distract Mama when I haven't done my homework!"

Zara walked back to Aviva's room and looked Santosh in the eye. "Hmm, maybe you're not so bad after all" she said. "I found out that your kind has been around for millions of years, way before I was born. I also found out that your skin is made of keratin, which is what human fingernails are made of too. That means we're practically related. I couldn't force an almost-relative to move out, now could I?"

Just then Aviva entered the room. "I didn't just hear you talking to a lizard, did I?!" she asked.

 "Nope!" replied Zara.  "Just talking to myself,as usual."

"Oh alright Missy, did you come up with an idea on how to chase Santosh out once and for all?" asked Aviva.

"Change of plans" Replied Zara. "I've decided he's fine just where he is."

With a mischievous smile and a sly wink at the window, Zara was out of the room.

"Kids!" thought Aviva as she sat glanced up at the window. She didn't know whether it was the shadow from the mesh or her mind playing tricks on her, but she could swear the little creature had a smile on his face.

Artwork and story:  
Ahalya Alvares

Published 14 October 2010, 10:58 IST

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