By Adarsh Madhavan
A wiry but large spider (nearly the size of my palm) has been stalking me for days!
I can’t bring myself to swat this arachnid, but like the other day when my mom woke up at half past one in the morning and called me to say that she wasn’t going to sleep unless I get rid of the blamed tentacled daddy longlegs in her room, I was forced to get a big broomstick and smacked him off the wall but he squished in between some Malayalam magazines stacked in a corner of the room and became another ‘spider in that wall’ of magazines. I kept pounding the area for many minutes, then declared that the ‘evil’ spider was done with and slunk out of the room. The maid will clean the mess tomorrow, I told my mother and I think she slept well although I woke up in a cold sweat feeling something creepy crawly movement in the room.
I am not scared of spiders oh no no but there is something about them that makes me freeze in my tracks and shoo them away like little squeamish girls, when lovestruck pups rush to give them their love.
I try to shoo him away and he jumps right at me. Like the other night in the room next to the kitchen. Mr Spider was somewhere there between the biscuits and bread brought for my stray friends and I was rummaging there for something when suddenly he leapt out – it looked like the same guy whom I had bashed down in mother’s bedroom some early mornings ago. Same size; same crazy movements. Same guy! And he leapt at me but luckily missed me and I did shoo and hooo and he disappeared under the fridge. I forgot about it until a recent night I was just about to step into the bathroom when he leapt again in my path. Just like that. He moved all his eight (or did he have more) legs together and sort of tried to hypnotise me. I was mesmerised yes, if that can be used as a substitute for stupefied and then I caught myself and did the usual routine shooo and hooo dance number. I took a broom that was nearby and in the same shooo-hooo mantra chased it under a pile of old photo frames and other stuff.
But the piece de resistance was when he startled (no no I am not scared of spiders at all) me out my wits in the kitchen last night. Because of this ugly COVID, I make a turmeric-tulsi-tea concoction in the night. But before that the maid had just heated the water for my mother’s hot water bag and it was filled and handed over to her. So I trooped back to the kitchen to make my daily night anti-COVID concoction and was near the gas stove when I suddenly noticed some movement on the wall to my right: Spidey! He was moving fast and while the shooo hooo automatically came to me, he also did his thing: he leapt at me, but landed on the empty vessel in which water was heated for my mother. It was empty but it still could be hot and he sprang from there, missing me again and floated creepily on the floor as I chased him out of the kitchen but then I realised that he could go back to my mother’s room and I would be forced to take out the semi-automatic broom and smash swat bullets on him and kill him. Again. Even though he knows how resurrect himself.
So I did the shooo hooo dance again, first chasing him around the living room (luckily no one was there at that time) and then again I chased him back to the middle room where the fridge was. Somehow after much persuasion, he moved back into a vantage spot on the ceiling where he waited with muscles tensed and in a clear-crouching position. I told him to beat it, and let me do my errands in peace and to come at me later!
I had to make the danged concoction.
But before that I washed the vessel where he had landed in at least three to four times with soapy liquid and other stuff and heated it and washed it until I thought it was safe to use it for my anti-COVID preparation. I cast furtive side glances at the blamed eight-legged (or more) monster and he was still there in the crouching position that probably some spidery Bruce Lee had taught him. Or maybe he must be Rajinikanth’s pet spidey — because he has got all the moves. Maybe if I allow him, he might flip a cigarette into his mouth and light it Rajini style.
I just happen to remember that trip to Waynad with my friends where we used to camp at my friend, Hari’s relative’s estate where there was an unused small house, sans electricity or running water. No one was living there at that time. Since the bathroom was not working, some of us would fill buckets of water from a nearby well and come armed to fight off urgent nature calls with a candle flickering from one dark corner. And there I remember seeing not one, but a couple of these creatures, really gigantic ones and whatever the calling was, it froze. From then on I used to answer nature’s call in nature itself whenever we went ‘adventurising’ in that beautiful wild estate.
I live to write about this today.
Tomorrow is an entirely different story.
Spidey could swat me.