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Lizzy to the Rescue
by Ramendra Kumar

Lizzy was a young lizard, which lived with the Dravids. Of course the Dravids had no idea about her existence. You can’t really blame them. Who has or rather who wants to have any idea about lizards - young or otherwise?

Any way, Lizzy liked human beings and wanted them to like her. But every time she went close to Mrs. Dravid, the lady would shriek, and create a scene.

Mrs. Dravid’s daughter Mona was worse. Once when she was sleeping Lizzy slowly climbed up the windowsill to observe her better. She loved the way Mona’s curls fell on her lovely face. After sometime Mona opened her eyes and seeing Lizzy staring at her from a distance of twelve inches, jumped up and ran screaming out of the room. It was almost as if she had encountered a dinosaur while playing in the park!

Lizzy could never understand this behavior. Why should the humans be scared of her? She was neither as poisonous as the snake nor as dangerous as the scorpion. She did not make holes in the clothes or nibble away biscuits like the rat. She never pilfered milk like the cat nor eat into shrubs and herbs like the snail.

She was in fact quite useful to the humans. She gobbled up the flies and insects, which got into their eyes, fell into their food and jumped into their mouths when they opened them to speak, eat or yawn. Yet, the Dravids and their friends hated the sight of her. She couldn’t really comprehend why.

Even the stories and fairy tales Mrs. Dravid read out to her four year old son Sonu, featured all the animals except lizards. You had puss in boots and Mickey mouse, frog prince and ugly duckling. There were stories about tortoises, hares, lions, tigers, crows, foxes, bears, monkeys; even pigs, snakes, toads and eels. But a lizard - never.

~*~

One late evening, Sonu was sleeping on the cot. Mrs. Dravid was sitting beside him on a chair and singing a lullaby. She had a sweet voice and Lizzy, who enjoyed a melody, crept close to listen.

After ten minutes Sonu fell asleep and Mrs. Dravid dozed off.

Just then Lizzy heard a familiar hiss. She looked around and stiffened. Mrs. Fangs, the snake who lived in the kitchen garden, was moving towards Sonu’s cot.

“What are you doing here?” Lizzy asked.

“I have come to bite this brat.”

“But why? What has this poor fellow done to you?”

“He hasn’t. But his father smashed my house last evening. My babies were crushed to death.”

“I am so sorry about that. But Mrs. Fangs, it is not the little one’s fault is it? Why take it out on him?”

“I want to teach his father a lesson,” Mrs. Fangs hissed and inched forward.

Lizzy didn’t know what to do?

She looked around desperately. On the wall opposite to where Mrs. Dravid was dozing was hanging a frame enclosing a beautiful photograph of Mona and Sonu. Lizzy slithered across as fast as she could. She slipped behind the frame. The frame had a ring on top, which went around a nail. Lizzy began pushing the ring out of the nail. After a couple of attempts the ring slipped through and the frame fell with a crash.

Mrs. Dravid woke up with a start. She surveyed the scene for a couple of seconds - the broken frame was lying on the ground and right above a lizard was wriggling away to glory.

“You stupid lizard, see what you have done?” she screamed.

Just then she saw a movement from the corner of her eye. She turned. A long black snake was moving towards the cot. In a flash she understood. She lunged forward picked up, the frame and in one swift movement threw it at the snake. It caught the reptile on its raised hood and sent it flying. Mrs. Fangs recovered quickly and slithered away - out of the house, the compound and out of the lives of the Dravids. Mrs. Dravid collapsed in her chair. All this excitement had become too much for her. After a few moments she looked at Lizzy who was perched on the wall, feeling quite hurt and dejected.

“My dear lizard, you saved our lives. I will always be grateful to you.”

That was the proudest moment of Lizzy’s life.    

8-Oct-2006
 
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