Oh what tangled webs we weave- a tale of spiders

I have an extreme fear of spiders. Don’t ask me when and where it started because I really don’t know or can’t tell. I know that I have been scared of spiders for as long as I can remember. I have often spent time analyzing my often irrational fear of spiders- after all why should one be afraid of a small eight legged creature ? This is the voice of reason speaking to me. But why not ? Spiders creep and crawl- and they have eight legs which makes them all the more creepy. Sometimes I have seen them run on eight legs. Can you imagine how fast Usain Bolt would have been able to run if he had eight legs ? Legs are an advantage for spiders you see. Before your reflexes can act or you drop a book on a spider, it is gone. I am so petrified of spiders that I scream the whole house down or climb up on furniture till the spider goes away. I hate cobwebs because that means there are spiders nearby. I pity the insects trapped in webs and often try to let them go free because of my hatred for spiders. Did I tell you, I hate spiders too.

The first incident I can remember about spiders is when our house was turned upside down in a search for my aunt’s engagement ring. My uncle to be had engaged himself to my aunt with a ring made with all the precious nine stones and he had left to pursue his studies in the US, leaving my aunt with us in our familial home. The ring was a sign of the engagement or the only one. In fact my aunt remembered that she was engaged only when she looked at the ring. She had removed the ring from her fingers and kept it in her cupboard because she did not want the ring to look soiled when her betrothed came back to claim her. So the ring was last seen in her cupboard. That day, my aunt had received news that her fiancé was coming home in a week’s time and she wanted to get the ring out and polished to wear all ready to show him. And it was gone

As is wont to happen on these occasions, the youngest in the house is caught and asked to make himself useful. In this case, find the ring. So in true detective style, I went to find out where the ring had been before it had been stolen. So obviously the first person to ask was my aunt. My aunt was sitting in her room texting her fiancé and telling him how much she missed him when I went in. After all she had to convince him about this in case her fiancé found out about the missing ring and she got into trouble with him. A sort of anticipatory bail you see. She stopped texting, wiped her eyes and looked at me with suspicion.

What do you want ? Get out. Can’t you see I am busy ? I have no privacy in this house, ” She said.

Aunty, I have come her to help you look for your ring”, I said.

Really Most likely you hid it yourself.” she said.

No aunty. You are mistaken. I don’t come into your room until you call me.” I said.

Then why are you here ? “ She said.

I told you, I have come to help you find out your ring . Tell me, when did you see it last ?”

Are you serious ? Do you really think I am going to tell you all the intimate details of my life ? Seriously, to a 7 year old No way.”

Aunty, even a 7 year old can find out a small ring- don’t underestimate the power of a 7 year old’. I said.” Tell me where you had seen it or kept it ?”

Aunty said in a tone of resignation. “ Over there- in my clothes cupboard. And I keep it locked always and carry the keys around with me all the time. Can’t have kids and other nobodies walking in and out of my cupboard you see”.

Ok aunty. Open up. Let me have a look,” I said using my most assertive manner.

Still in a resigned manner, she went to the cupboard and opened it for me. “ Here. Do what you want to. Look where you want but don’t mess up my cupboard” she said.

I went to the cupboard, her clothes cupboard and opened the door. I put my hand into its dark depths trying to find out where in this cupboard she might have kept the ring. Using my 7 year olds imagination, I tried to picture where the ring might be. Where would I have kept the ring if I had been in her place. Obviously in the back of the cupboard where no one other than I could have known it was there. We detectives need to put ourselves in other people’s shoes all the time. Thats how we work.

So in true Sherlock Holmes style, I pulled out my magnifying glass ( a single glass from my grandfather’s old spectacles, that could make everything seem at least three times bigger), and peered into my cupboard through it. The first thing I saw was a multicolored piece of something that reflected the light from the ceiling into a rainbow of colors. I was still a child- so I was fascinated by the lights and tried to find out where it came from. I put my hand in to trace the path of the light in the cupboard and felt a chiffon shawl hanging there. Could the lights be coming from the shawl ? On closer examination, the shawl did have sequins sown into it but could it produce rainbow colors ? I forgot about the ring and decided to investigate the lights. I tried to pull out the shawl with my small hands and out fell something with a clutter. I felt something soft and ticklish with my hands but was surprised by the clattering. Simultaneously, I heard some one say . “ Well, well, well . What do we have here ? Little children putting their hands into cupboards” .

Look, I found it .” My aunt pounced on something on the floor . Scrambling on the floor, she came up triumphantly, with the nine jeweled ring in her hand. Then what was the soft thing in my hand and who was this stranger coming towards me ?

I turned to look at my hand and saw a small delicate creature with eight legs and glassy eyes (or so I imagined) blinking at me. I turned to look at the stranger who was now sitting near me on his haunches and looking at me and the creature in my palm.

Well, young man. What is in your hands ? A glass spider. A rare find in deed “ , he said.

Spi– api der.” I echoed his words. “ Was this a spider ?” My hands trembled and my palms grew wet. I could feel my pants getting wet too.

The stranger said “ Hey, hey, hey, young man. Nothing to fear- it is just a small spider- see its delicate legs and how trustingly it sits on your palm”,

I looked at the insect once more and shook my hands off and the spider ran away on its eight legs leaving me with a gooey feeling on my hands.

I looked at my hands and then at the stranger. My aunt who now had the ring on her finger, introduced me to the stranger, “ Neejay, this is my fiancé – your uncle to be.” See what a surprise he has given us.

The stranger said, “ Hi young man. Nice to meet you. When I came here three years back, you were just a toddler- see how you have grown. I am Sheeni- your uncle. Shake”.

So I shook hands with the stranger with my icky gooey hands and my aunt gave me a hug because I had found her ring for her and with the ring had arrived my uncle.

Since then I always associate spiders with things gone wrong or things & events that have a sticky end. Surely you cannot blame me for fearing spiders.

My Dreams of the past and future

 Note : I am seriously trying to write poetry.  This is one of my first efforts. 

             I dream of bygone days,

             When I was my father’s daughter,

                 The times he held my hands

                And made sure I didn’t falter.

          I dream of my college days,

            When I first flew the coop,

            The days I studied and studied,

               But failed to get the scoop.

Still my father held my hands,

And guided me through my toughest days,

Till that day when he saw me graduate,

And for ever we left that place.

I dream of my first days at work,

When I touched frail humans,

Trying to understand their pain,

And started holding hands myself.

My father’s hands still guided me,

When I worked day and night,

Holding hands of patients who knew who held their hands,

And those who never knew who held their hands.

I dream of those days when my father guided me,

Talked to me about good things and things that are right,

Of Biblical stories and stories from the Vedas,

Stories of valor and might.

My father guided me and led me on,

To that day when I was betrothed,

To a man who would guide me from now on,

And lead me on paths unknown.

My husband was not a man of my dreams,

Nor a knight in silver armor,

But he now appears in my dreams,

As we have made our life together.

I dream of my future,

A day when I can work once more,

A day when things will be easier,

A day when I can hold tired hands once more.

In my dreams these days,

Come visions of glorious days,

When people of my  past come back to my life,

And we relive the old days.

I dream that I can do great things,

Eat well, lose weight, write about magnificent things,

Achieve my dreams, tour the world,

And people know me for by the  hands that held my hands,

All those days, so long ago.

One thing I do every morning

  Everyday when I first sit at the computer, I open my email and see which of the bloggers I am following has added a post and has notified me by email. 

In the beginning I was shy and just read through the article and ” liked” it. 

These days I make it a point to comment on each of those articles. At least a line. And if its something I haven’t understood, I ask the author for help. 

This seems to have two benefits.

1. I get to critique someone else’s writing and may be in the process, make new friends. 

2. May be I am making someone happy

Who knows ? But the thought keeps me going, that may be I am paying it forward.

Channeling your favorite authors- trying to follow their style


         I am wandering about my house today, feeling lost, as though a part of me has been cut off. Today I have decided to keep away from my computer. It has no good news from me anyway. I never thought I would get this way. My daughter told me yesterday night that she didn’t like me like this- always at the keyboard, not listening to her when she was talking, looking as though I wanted to go back quickly to what I was reading or writing on the computer and not really getting what she was saying. Today is Sunday and so I decided to take a break and clear up my head. God knows I really need it. From applying to jobs , to learning to write , to  looking at books to read and wishing I could afford to buy them to read, it has been a hectic time. My adventures with writing started when I was asked to review an article for a  research administrators journal about 3 weeks back. I had received the external motivation that experts talk about. Now all I needed was to get motivated from the inside. During my drives through the computer, I came upon a writing prompt that needed us to rewrite some of what we wrote in the style of two of our favorite authors’.So here I am. 

A tale of two cities by Charles Dickens

“A petition. A petition, mamma,” said my little girl to me last night.

“ What is it, ma chére ? What are you petitioning about ?”, trying to hide a smile behind my serious demeanor.

“For the love of God, mamma,’ said she, “ Can’t you stop looking at the computer for a while, even a whole day ?”

“ Ma pauvre ! What is it that you have against my writing and studying ?”, said I, my eyes flicking back and forth from the screen to her innocent face.

“ Alas mama, I wish I had you with me again”,

Her manner was thoughtful though and she touched my face, tenderly caressing me with her fingers. She looked like she had a thousand words to say to me but she wanted to say just a few.

“Mama, hear me,’ she continued, “ Listen to my petition. Many have lost the power to see and hear, because they have not rested adequately while using the computer”.

“ Can I do anything for them? Can I restore their eyesight to them?” I said, a wee bit irritated by now.

“No mamma. My petition is that when I talk to you, you listen to me. Otherwise, you will join one of the millions who have lost everything, their eyesight, their hearing and even their loved ones to this malady, this scourge of the times. There are so many, and they increase so fast, there is so much want, the feeling to be heard. But people like you don’t listen, ” She said.

I put my thoughts away from me and the screen flickered off, while I switched it into sleep gear. I turned to my daughter to talk to her and help her with her homework.

Today is Sunday. The computer has long been shut. I was left far behind, behind the rat race that was finding jobs, finding money, finding something to hang on to, while the postilions  of life moved forward towards my destiny.  The sweet smell of my daughter’s hair  whiffed up to my nose, as I cuddled her and hugged her, as we lay together, savoring the moment, rapidly diminishing the distance that my obsession with the computer had caused between my daughter and me.

4:50 from Paddington by Agatha Christie

A few minutes after dinner was eaten, we retired to my study; me, to continue scouring the job boards and Elie to her books. I sat at my chair, awakened my computer from its sleeping mode and typed away at my keyboard. I could feel the penetration of Elie’s eyes on my face some time later. She had stopped reading. She was looking at me.

“ Mama, I want to talk to you”.

“Yes, sweetheart. What is it ? Is it a doubt ?

“Yes, mama. What is it that you are doing at the computer all day long ?”

When she wanted, Elie could talk in a voice that radiated authority. For a moment, I felt like a naughty schoolgirl, trying to cover up my sins. Presently her voice came to me again.

“ Mama, she said in a gentle serious voice, “ I think you really need to pay attention, you know”.

“What do you mean ?’, I said, anticipating the next comment as I spoke.

“ Mama, I don’t like it when you spend all your time at the computer. It is not good for your health, you know. And anyway, what are you looking at all day ?

“ Dearest, you know, I am trying to write; to learn how to write, to learn from the masters, you know.”

“Mama, I like the old you. The one who used to take time to talk to me, to take me to the malls, to tell me how I looked, who enjoyed my dances and my prattling. The new you is like a robot.”

Suddenly I realized what my three weeks of writing had effected in my daughter. She had wanted to be heard, she wanted me to look at her when she was dancing. The anxious look on her face was really heart wrenching.

“Nonsense.’ I said, ‘ I am always there for you. You can talk straight to me. The computer can wait.”

I followed my daughter out of the room. She carried the cat on her shoulder. I shut the computer. My writer’s life was over. I was a mama again.