Thursday, 10 May 2012

When the house lizard signifies 'home'

The lizards in our house are very sexually active. I see many baby lizards while gazing at the walls to take a break when I am marking papers. The lizards have almost become a part of our home. I cannot figure out where they come from and where they go. All that I know is that  I always manage to spot one in each room. These lizards which without invitation share living space with us have almost become something of an extension of our lived reality. I realised this when I went to Belfast, Northern Ireland. I sensed that I missed something in my living space and after a great deal of thinking realised that I missed the click-click sound of the lizards. In Tamil Nadu, if we are speaking of something and the lizard makes its clicking sound, it is believed that the lizard has answered our question. So, whenever we talk about something and the lizard makes its sound, we exclaim, "See, see, even the lizard thinks so." Sadly, in Belfast there was no lizard to affirm our talks.



It is interesting to think that the lizard which minds its business and copulates energetically becomes a part of our existence. Vikram Seth also mentions this. In his travelogue, From Heaven Lake: Travels through Sinkiang and Tibet, Seth mentions how he misses the familiar lizard on the walls while he travels through Tibet and China. Somehow, the lizard signifies 'home' in a way.

Watching the lizard is another activity that we do while having mundane conversations. When the lizard is about to catch its prey, many times, a hapless fly or insect, it slowly follows the movements of the insect and at a moment when the insect is caught unawares, the lizard leaps and catches its prey. Observing its actions and antics, I find that even humans behave in a similar fashion except that the lizard can grow its tail again unlike man whose body parts except one or two, does not regenerate.

And, its not only the lizard which in a way creates familiarity, there are many trees, birds and insects which also make home for us.

So, do you also have anything like this which signifies home for you.

Image: Internet

39 comments:

  1. stray dogs in the street which go mad with joy at seeing youu turn the corner into the street are my favorite welcome home reception commitee everyday. i miss them - even if they dont- everytime i go on a long trip

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    1. Well, Doktor, I have never heard anyone mentioning stray dogs. As always, I can expect a quirky answer from thee.

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  2. this is really cool actually...when we lived in FL we used to have lizards all over the place...there would be several on the porch...my cat loved them...too much maybe they made her a bit fat....

    we are good...thanks for the email...boys are great and we are looking forward to summer and school getting out soon...

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    1. Do cats eat lizards? Let me find out!

      Glad to know that you are well and happy. We are also looking forward to the vacation. Happy holidays to you and yours.

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  3. Replies
    1. Eek. I manage to find cockroaches everywhere. Somehow cockroaches, though, part of the home, cannot remind me of familiarity. I am quite blank when it comes to roaches.

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  4. The other night I went to take out my dogs and in their yard was a baby rattle snake. (Couldn't help but wonder where Mama was.) Can't say I miss them whenever I leave home, but I've had enough of them around my house that in a way they do represent home.

    Nicely written and original post as usual Susan. Take care always.

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    1. Rattle snake?!?!? I find myself rattling when I read your lines. Glad to find someone who mentions "rattle snakes" as just another think in the porch. Yes, they do represent home as they are part of that landscape.

      Thanks for your visit, dear Myrna.

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  5. Hi5, Susanji! Lizards have been staying in my home too, right from he time we moved in. It's been a part and parcel of our lives. I once remember my cousin(She came to India from USA on a vacation)who was surprised/shocked to see a "real" lizard. She told me that she had seen it only in the books, and it was the first time she was seeing it, up close. This is what-Those numerous insects which haunt our homes for ages- This is what signifies India best :) Nice post, keep blogging :)

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    1. Hi5 back at ya, Sowmya. The Americans and America bred people have no much variety when it comes to sharing space with other non-human entities. They almost have no creature sharing their living space. And as you have rightly mentioned, this is what signifies India.

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  6. Earlier yes, when I was a kid and we were in Mumbai (Bombay in those days)
    But not now.
    Now a days its some koel who decides to communicate with his friend (who is about 200 mts away) early morning at 4 am !!!
    But then its a welcome sound for me. Nothing like getting up with the welcome chirping of different birds on the tree out side our bed room.

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    1. Nothing like getting up with the chrip of birds. In almost all the houses we have lived, we have heard birds chirping when the sun comes up (whether we get up or not, we hear the birds ;)

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  7. I must admit lizards are not something I'll miss, although they are harmless to humans ,quite cute (the lizzard picture in your post is an accurate one), and I admire their swift movement.

    Usually, things that signify home for me belong to the Food world. For example, the sabra fruit - thorny on the outside, soft and sweet inside.

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    1. Their swift movement is something which interests me as well. The way they target a prey and quickly get it is simply amazing.
      The fruit which you mention is not found here, I suppose and probably might be indegenous to your place. I guess there are many aspects of non-human life which signify 'home.'

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  8. Dear Susan, you mentioned trees. I have several trees between my back and my front yards, but two trees are especially dear to me. I've even named them, and sometimes I sit in their shade, especially in spring. The funny thing is that I sometimes feel guilty when I am sitting in the shade of one, so I move to sit in the shade of the other. :-) It has become quite a game, but I feel those trees are what root me to my house when I am away. And... they are the guardians of my home.

    So lovely to visit you again. I have been away quite some time...

    Warm hugs,
    Nevine

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    1. How wonderful to see your comment, Nevine. It has been a very long time.
      I love trees as well and they so much intertwine with our lives. I love the way you have mentioned, "The funny thing is that I sometimes feel guilty when I am sitting in the shade of one, so I move to sit in the shade of the other." To feel the tree as a living presence and associating them with emotions is something only someone with a higher conscious can do, dear Nevine. You never fail to amaze me with your habits and attitude.

      Glad that you stopped by :)

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  9. Oddly enough, I remember seeing a lot of lizards running around my old home but there aren't any in this new one. So, for the past three years or so, I haven't seen a single lizard around any of the rooms in my house. And I wouldn't have taken note of this if I hadn't read this post of yours, Susan!

    Seriously man, the sheer wide range of topics that you write about is incredible!

    And for me, the animal that signifies home most is a bunch of equally libidinous and profligate squirrels. Every year there's a whole new whelp of squirrel babies running along the windows and jumping onto the tops of the cupboards.

    Haha, and their high-pitched chirps (I don't know the correct word for squirrel phonation) are so much a part of background noise here that I'm really surprised at its absence in the grounds of our hospital and I miss it till I get home. :)

    In fact, in my mother tongue of Konkani, we actually do include squirrels in our family calling them 'Kharu Tai' or "dear sister squirrel" colloquially and this is a very common usage in Goa, too. So I guess they do become part of the family in more ways than one. :)

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    1. That's exactly what we talk about in Ecocriticism -- the extension of the family to include non-human entities. Karishma, I loved the word "Kharu Tai." I guess I should be writing something on this. Thanks K for this brilliant nugget of wisdom.

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  10. hahah.. what a post!! we have lizards, cockroaches, the odd rat/moonjoor around the house apart from my pet doggie.. :)

    Sometimes i stare at these creatures as they go trotting about- looking for food, or a place to hide and its quite amusing.. i wonder what they are thinking about, or what they feel when they see us...

    Infact during a trip to Karnataka, went around exploring Dwarasamudra, hoysala temples.. there is the main Halebid temple where near the entrance there is a piece- a Fly sitting on an open jackfruit and a Lizard capturing the fly has been carved.. amazing stuff!! :)

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    1. Aarti, your comment points to another question that has crossed our minds mnay times before, 'Do animals think?' Well biologists are divided on this question but many times it seems that we like to assess the non-human world based on our perception of seeing life. I wonder whether the animals can be seen just seen for what they are. To counter myself, we can only see animals from our lived perception. How do we know any other? Well, one has to just observe.

      The Halebid temple is something I have never heard before. How did I miss this? I imagine the scuptor who would have seen a scene like that and then wanted to freeze it permanently. Thanks Aarti for your visit and comment.

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  11. Dear Susan, finally i am back blogging an I so missed your entertaining and thought-provoking posts.;))
    First let me tell you it would FREAK me out to see a lizard on the wall of my home! Yay, how funny its that you find that as a cosy symbol of a home, and the sound they make.;)
    With that said though, I love lizards, I think they are cute and I think to me they are very exotic, so I guess I would not really mind them, it is just something very unusual to us in Europe having wild life inside our homes.;)
    To me homes is signified by various things, most currently by the presence of my husband, as I have moved into his home.:) However he is currently away for 4 months (sigh) and i will not feel at home here until he returns...
    I hope you have been well, looking forward to catch up with you and everyone else and to start blogging on regular bases again.;)
    xoxoxo

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    1. Glad to have dearest Zuuzaaaaana. Now you are no longer the same blogger friend -- Now you are a married blogger friend!!! I am so so happy to see you after a long time. My blog and I have missed you immensely :)

      I know. In Europe and America, non-human entities hardly share living space with humans except for pets.

      The four months will fly away dear Zuzana and you will say, 'Time flew by so very quickly.'

      Looking forward to seeing you more on Blogosphere.

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  12. SUSAN DEBORAH!
    I do not name trees, except for names like Elm, Oak, Pine, Royal Palm, Big, or Little.

    BUT here is one for you. Preparing coffee maker tonight (so the timer will have it all brewed when I wake up) my nightly visitor (fourth night tonight!) showed up on the sink. Glad the cat, nor dog have found him yet. His name IS Harold, very young.

    Significance IS that tonight, YOU write about lizards, and harold got friendly, jumped onto my left shoulder, and sort of 'hung around' me while I washed dishes. Once, I even slowly put my finger near him, and very patiently watched, as he jumped into my hand. Unbelievable--for me!

    That's my story tonight, which would have been forgotten completely, were it not for your post.

    Are we having telepathic events here? Seriously?
    PEACE!

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    1. But who is Harold, Steve? A birdie, lizard, squirrel?!?! tell me. I'm so curious now.

      Telepathy - - Maybe yes, Steve.

      I lowe you to bits, dear Steve,

      Joy always :)

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  13. Yes, even we have a Lizard family at home. I really dont know from where they creeped in, but they have and they seem to be living happily. Mom doesn't mind them, since they keep others insects at bay. It's always fun to watch a Lizard catch its pray. Meticulously planned and executed actions :-)

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    1. Glad we share the same eccentricities, Ash. Any living creature is a fun to watch (humans included).

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  14. Nothing like that, I am happy to state. When I was a pre-teen our house in Colombia was infested by fleas. We were constantly catching them. When the house was rid of the pest, we would sit there watching our legs and feet looking for the little blood suckers. Isn't that gross? ewwwww

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    1. Fleas are a bit scary, nah? Gross, yes but a good memory to have. What say, Myriam?

      Joy always :)

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  15. Oh my goodness...the only thing a lizard does to me is scare me to death. Trust you to right a post about one!

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    1. Aww, Corinne, they are harmless. They mind their own business as we do ours.

      *Smiles*

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  16. A family of gheckoes lives behind our refrigerator, but we hardly ever see them, except when I go into the kitchen at night and switch on the light.

    And a large number of hunting spiders inhabit our house in the UK. Originally, my wife wondered why I didn't kill them, but I pointed out that they must be finding things to eat, things that would multiply if not kept in check. So, they do a job for me, and I leave them alone.

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    1. Gheckoes??? Now, they sound scary but I guess they are the exotic cousins of our house lizards. In India, it's quite common place to have many creatures share our living space and we don't much care until a spider lands on our dinner plate.

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  17. Dust! The OCD I went topsy turvy after moving into the new house which has a penchant for attracting dust!

    SO much dust that my fish tanks water needs to be cleaned often sorts. Now when I go to someplace thats not so dusty, I realize I am in a hotel (or) more so not at home!

    Do visit my post "vishw-aaropam"! Would love to see you by! *cheers*

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  18. Good article, Combining the familiarity of a typical Indian households and lizards. I totally agree with how Lizards are useful pest that keep away harmful pests. I dont mind it staying in some corner of the room but if it gets on me or my bed I feel the need to get them out of the house.

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  19. I can bear the look of Snake, but lizards... i cant stand it. You must be pretty thick skinned to post its picture :)

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    1. I am not as affected by them as they are on the walls. But sometimes they just scare you when you are out there looking for a book.

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  20. Susan please can I get the name of the lizard you talking about

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    1. The common house lizard (Hemidactylus frenatus).

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