I’ve grown up seeing lizards all around me; hiding in the walls, under the floor, in the attic, sometimes engrossed in a capture and I am very fond of them. These cute little miniature dinosaurs are omnipresent in every family conversations of my growing up days in Kerala. Sometimes it pops its head out, wide open those small little eyes and respond to us with different chirps and clicking sounds. When they respond, my mother reacts with a look that transfers a part of her fear to me. Then we all start worrying what does that mean? Lucky charm or disastrous spell?
In Kerala, there is an area of specialization that revolve around lizards known as ‘’ Gauli Shasta ‘’ (Science of Lizards) a prominent Sakuna (omen) system with a chapter published in the Yearly Panchangam (Almanac) which almost every elderly person in the family use it for ready reference to fix dates and times for various events though it traditionally applies for Hindu Households. Now a day’s very few elderly people know how to read panchangam (Almanac), and I regret not learning the science from my great grandmother when I had that opportunity.
There are complex astrological predictions about our future based on the sound and touch of this little geeko guy responding to you from different directions(East,West,North,South and its multiple combinations like NE,NW ) on different days(all seven days of the week) giving different predictions for men and women .If it fell on a particular part of the body on a particular day from a particular direction, again there are gender specific predictions. Well, universities can actually run a 3 credit course on lizard behavior influencing business outcomes. The chirping of a lizard can sprinkle good luck dust with bundles of joy or bad luck with years of grief. I strongly sense that my little dinosaur has no idea about this Gauli Sastra.
My dad, a very kind-hearted person taught me to treat every animal with love and affection and not to hurt the fragile ones like grasshoppers, lizards, and cockroaches. Because of him, our house in Kerala is still a paradise for rodents, rats, lizards and even cockroaches that crounch inside my travel bags from Bangalore to Kerala.
One day I have seen a lizard slammed in between a door in my house and mom said that the little one has offered its life in exchange for the death of one of the family members abiding by a popular superstition.
Yesterday I’ve seen a forwarded post of the story of a lizard in Japan. This post is around for quite some time however it still carries a magic wand .so I thought of reproducing it.
Reproduced from: Hoaxes and Urban Legends: A tale of Japanese Lizards and Love.
‘’This is a true story that happened in Japan.
In order to renovate the house, someone in Japan breaks open the wall. Japanese houses normally have a hollow space between the wooden walls. When tearing down the walls, he found that there was a lizard stuck there because a nail from outside hammered into one of its feet. He sees this, feels pity, and at the same time curious, as when he checked the nail, it was nailed 10 years ago when the house was first built.
The lizard has survived in such position for 10 years! In a dark wall partition for 10 years without moving, it is impossible and mind-boggling. Then he wondered how this lizard survived for 10 years! without moving a single step–since its foot was nailed!
So he stopped his work and observed the lizard, what it has been doing, and what and how it has been eating.
Later, not knowing from where it came, appears another lizard, with food in its mouth. Ah! He was stunned and touched deeply. For the lizard that was stuck by nail, another lizard has been feeding it for the past 10 years…
Imagine? it has been doing that untiringly for 10 long years, without giving up hope on its partner.’’ End of Reproduction.
It’s a very touching story. Isn’t it? Though our cognition says the story can’t be true and the house lizard may not live for 10 years, it hit the nail right on its emotional appeal.
The companion lizard who fed the lizard for 10 years had sourced the food daily, carried it from wherever it got it; paid whatever price it took to get it; carried it without spilling; fed it to the one who can’t move and provided hope to the stuck one that one day the nail might be off its back. Our hearts bleed for the one who was taking care of the trapped lizard.
I can see vividly as if in a mirror the sacrifices of many of my acquaintances here.
My friend’s father, taken up farming which was their ancestral job to make sure that all his brothers and sisters get a decent education and all settled well in life and one became a medical doctor. My friend says with regret that if her dad had an opportunity to study, he would have become a doctor too. But he chose to stay back and still toil for long hours in the field.
Another friend of mine, gopika, she lost her mother at a very young age. Everyone concerned in the family was consistently asking her father to remarry considering his age. He never succumbed to pressure. He decided to raise his 2 little children on his own without a domestic help managing work and house together. When we sit for combined study at her home during our board exams, I had the good fortune of being served with delicious dosa and chutney prepared by her father.
Today, when relations hit rock bottom at the drop of a hat in families and organizations, does the story of the feeding lizard inspire us?
We must have come across similar narratives of extraordinary courage displayed by people around us who value relations over material success. Let’s not shrug it off and glorify it as ’’ one among hundreds’’. There are so many people who cannot move around for some reason; in and around us. They might be badly stuck physically, financially, cognitively and emotionally and in deep pain under some dark partition walls undetected by the world.
If you detect a similar one, hope this story inspires us at least not to make a mockery of their battles.