Saturday, March 15, 2008

pied piper of loveville

Be glad you are not a common House Gecko in India. For any of you who are odd enough to have actually been reading this tome for a long time.. you might remember Pepe?.. the lil guy who visited my kitchen at the Royal Empire apartment. Well... we have been visited by his Bandra cousin Jose (hey don't ask me why they have Spanish names!!).. a lovely green friend that I really enjoy. He's a bit more lively than Pepe was.. doesn't like us to get so close. It makes him pitter patter round the ceiling and across the cupboard doors with his gloopy feet. I love him :) Gagan thinks I'm off my rocker, I'm sure of it... yelling at Jose 'no, no - not that way - THAT way' as I make wild gestures to ward him towards the open window and away from the far-too-interested cats!

So anyway... I digress from what I wanted to share with you. Be glad you're not Jose or any of his gloopy toed cousins. You see... in India and it turns out throughout a lot of Asia and the middle east.. it turns out there are some old folk lores and beliefs that these harmless and charming little creatures are deadly poisonous. I'm not talking just make-you-puke here.. I'm talking kick-the-bucket d-e-a-d! What I've heard is their skin has toxins on it, and if they fall in your cooking pot and you eat any of it... dead as a dodo, baby! Remember we're not talking Gila Monsters or Beaded Lizards here... those puppies are genuinely poisonous - the only two lizards who are.. but just your common ordinary home terrarium variety house gecko. The ones you all held in your hands as a kid.. marvelling at their wide toes and their translucent skin.

Now... perhaps this is my first encounter here, firsthand, with something that I know is wrong, but that the people who are telling me, believe is the truth. This brings all sorts of things to my mind. I remember my wonderful art history lecturer in Perth teaching us about the Australian aboriginals and their stories of the Dreamtime. How individuals and creatures created land structures with song and story and that this is just as real to them as scientific explanation is to us. Who am I to judge or discount those ideas? But faced with something like this... when old folktales that pass around through the ages and cause crazy notions.. it messes my head all around. It's where my 'New World' sensibilities trip and fall down the 'Old World' staircase... to land in a muddle at the bottom not knowing whether I like where I've landed. One thing I have learned with my advancing years.. is that you can't change people's minds though. It's what Darwin faced... and what scientists still face all the time. The world is still flat in some places... but it doesn't mean that the people who think it's flat aren't good people and mean well. We all think our truth is *the* truth, don't we ;)

Most of the time I so enjoy everything around me, but perhaps that's as an enchanted 'tourist' in this world... always passing through. Ultimately, I'm from the west and an animal lover, and I'm the one patting the street dogs and noticing the skinny cats and stray rats. Most of those around me are filled with a mixture of dislike, mistrust and disgust.. mostly from just a lack of knowledge. No wonder the dogs rush to me like I am the Pied Piper of Loveville... their tails wagging, their eyes entreating me desperately for a sign of anything... they rub their faces on my leg, they pull their lips back in wolf smiles, they jump up gently hoping I will pat them.. and upon invitation are so very very proud to walk alongside me. I'll have 3 or 4 at a time with me... happy as larry. They're such lovely moments I feel giddy and wish I had a video camera.

So Pepe, Jose .. and all your cousins... if you happen to read the internet... stay out of houses, it's best for your safety. Except a certain apartment in Bandra.. you're welcome there (just watch out for the cats!)

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

It's really a treat to read about a westerner in India.
You are right though...People here freak out when they see lizards but I love geckos...and dogs too.
Have fun and next time...go out and play some Holi.