Mar 14, 2006

The Interpreter

Come March, the mercury soars. Having lost its Garden-city status, Bangalore is no exception to the searing heat that rules the roost in the South of India.
The rising temperature might keep us humans indoors, but the reptilian community of the city seems to find it prudent to venture out. Discomfited by the heat, one particular denizen of our house’s hidden nooks, sought refuge in our bathroom door one fine Friday night.
This lizard, henceforth referred to as liz, (for we* have christened it Elizabeth if female and Lister if male.. And we have absolutely no desire to find out which one is appropriate.) became the sole object of our attention that weekend.

Lizzie Day 1:

Soliloquist comes back to the room late, after a hard day at work (!!) to find S.J cocooned under her quilt. S.J had left work earlier that evening with a fever fiercely competing with the ambient temperature. Soliloquist wants to wash her face and hit the sack, so stumbles her way to the bathroom to be rudely shocked by Lady Liz ( I am assuming that its female, cos I stay in a women’s P.G**) relaxing on the anvil.
Soliloquist is petrified in her tracks, and turns to S.J for help. S.J mumbles something beyond Soliloquist’s intelligence in her infirmed state. Soliloquist tries all sort of antics to scare Liz. Liz is unmoving. Soliloquist calls her chum for advice. He raises her fears by saying that Liz might ve been dead for hours.
Soliloquist turns desperate. Goes down to the landlady for help and assistance. Manages to communicate her anxiety in her broken kanmil ( kannada+tamil). Aunty (that’s what we call her) comes up armed with a broom and prods Liz. Liz spurs to action and moves behind the curtains. Soliloquist is happy . Washes face and snores away to oblivion.

Lizzie Day 2:

Soliloquist plans to work on weekends to make up her lethargy during the week. Double checks for Liz along the bathroom door’s perimeter and steps in the bathroom, at ungodly hours ( i.e on Saturday terms). And scoots off to work. S.J is still asleep under her over-sized quilt.
Soliloquist returns back that evening to find S.J staring at the ceiling lost in thought. Soliloquist surprised to see S.J so pensive and follows her gaze to end up staring in unison at the unfair reptilian beauty of Lady Liz. Soliloquist gets into action on a war footing. Calls an urgent counsel of all her able P.G mates. Everyone seems to have a lizzie tale of their own. An entire family seems to be residing in parallel for free.

End of meeting: Soliloquist more alarmed than usual, S.J looking unusually meditative.

That night.......:

S.J and Soliloquist follow the movements of Lady Liz like shadows. They get on the defensive. (Offense requiring more courage than both of them could ever muster).
The beds are moved to the center of the room. Soliloquist fights valiantly with sleep, having gotten up so early on a Saturday morning. The ever resourceful S.J picks up and M & B from V.N’s *** bed and is soon lost in pinky mush. Soliloquist tries to ape S.J and picks another M & B ( Both our stocks of books being too strenuous to be read in a sleepy state) . Soliloquist soon learns her lesson, the pink and red getting to her head, drops the book and resigns to her fate of keeping watch. Soliloquist is so impressed with herself, she even toys with the idea of being a sentry as if her profession gets any more unrewarding than it already is. A summer storm brews outside, with thunder clapping in applause to Soliloquist’s dedication.
The clock strikes one. The lights go off. Cursing the wretched transformer, Soliloquist and S.J fumble around the menagerie of cosmetics to find the candle on the shelves. Soliloquist resumes her sentry watch, joined by S.J, now having finally given up on M&B owing to poor lighting. Neither talks. The silence speaks volumes. Liz holds them enthralled with her maneuvers. Liz goes and hides behind the lampshade . S.J and and Soliloquist in a quandary. They wait with concentration for Liz to emerge from her hiding. Some thing bright flickers….
AAAAaaaaaagh!!.. Soliloquist screams..
Aaaaaaagh!!! S.J Choruses after a slight phase delay.
S.J stops to think. Soliloquist continues her siren. S.J shakes some sense into Soliloquist. Soliloquist gapes in new found wonder at Edison’s inventions.. The lights have come back… Liz too, scared by the two sopranos wriggles off to some remote corner.. Soliloquist says her wise thing for the day (her quota of one wise thing for the day still being unused) “Out of sight, out of mind”. And slumps down in a heap to snore her lungs away. S.J, still skeptical, plods on with her M&B.

Lizzie Day 3:

Liz is nowhere to be seen. S.J and Solioquist rejoice and thank the heavens. The even celebrate by shopping (!!) in lizzie’s honor. To be better safe than sorry, they lodge a complaint with the landlord. To their dismay, they discover he is as scared as them when it comes to Lady Liz. But as a solace, he offers to send his 2 year old toddler , Madam P , who happens to be an expert exterminator, specializing in Lizards. Soliloquist and S.J stay downstairs for most of the evening watching a deluge of dumb shows on the tube.
S.J finally gathers the guts and goes upstairs. Soliloquist follows with Madam P tagging along, lured by the snacks that S.J stocks up in the room.

Soliloquist is struck with déjà vu. Soliloquist catches S.J in the same pensive posture as on Lizzie Day 2. Both of them turn to Madam P for deliverance, eyes filled with hope. Madam P, oblivious, starts with her usual chime “S.J, Chips Chips chips..” “Chips, give me”..(A literal translation that she makes from kannada, to enhance our comprehension, her own and definitely not mine).

A diabolical gleam flashes across S.J’s eyes. “Madam P, you chase that lizzie away and I shall give your Chips chips chips..”. Soliloquist is bowled over by this master stroke.. Soliloquist filled with awe and admiration for S.J. Makes a mental note to pick up some pointers from S.J sometime later. Madam P marches across the beds to Lady Liz’s lair. And shrieks in her baby voice “Palli, Go”.. She repeats her cry with more vehemence and swings both her tiny arms to emphasize her point. And Lo!, , Palli (Lizard in kannada) obeys her command and does her bidding…

S.J and soliloquist heave a sigh of relief. Soliloquist utters her wise thing for the day “ Ahh, now I get it.. the Lizard was a kannada speaking one.. It didn’t understand our language.. All we needed was an interpreter”. They handsomely reward Madam P for her services, with “Chips, chips, chips”…

***** :
We*: S.J and Soliloquist
P.G**: Paying Guests
V.N***: Another roomie, who is fond of M&Bs and who was out of town for the weekend.

****: the astrixes are part of a novel strategy to reduce my talking in brackets.


R.Subramanian said...

ada ada ada kalakkariyae Solilo (peru solla vidaama ena katti pottutitiye...grrrrrr..) for the first time, full length la mokkai podaama, kadikkama, GRE vomit edukama, unmaiyile nalla post pottirukke......

great sense of humor....... soooooper

Vishnu Prahalad N said...

luckily my place is not yet invaded by the slimy slithering disgusting creatures... but when they do, i guess i know what to do now...:)

The Soliloquist said...

Rsu: thanks :-)

Vishnu: yeah, u can mention knowing me, and Madam P might even consider a concession in rates.. perhaps "chips chips" instead of "chips chips chips" :-)

Rashmi said...

Good One! :D

Nero said...

brackets, asterisks.. what next?
Your blog is turning to be an interesting lesson in indexing :D

..and national integration too (Kannadiga lizards, Tamilian protagonists, et al)

The Soliloquist said...

Rashmi : Thanks :-)

nero : never even dreamt i could be givin lessons on anything.. hav always been recieving them. :-)

Anonymous said...

Very,Very Funny!!
Loved every word of it!
Gasp! Cannot stop gaping in wonder at how amazing this reptilian piece of fiction is.

P.S: I can relate...Lizzie's have attacked my bathroom many times too.

The Soliloquist said...

anon: thanks :-) and please reveal thyself. Lizzie's too hav a right to live.. too bad, we humans are found everywhere :-)

justrohin said...

no lizzies here in sweden, though the fear accumulated over the years sometimes is sometimes visible, when a shadow moves across the wall.. the head jerks in fright to see the lady reptile but thankfuklly no one there