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    Volume 9 Issue 12| March 19, 2010|

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Radioactive Lizards and
Bloodcurdling Screams

Aasha Mehreen Amin

It was not exactly a bloodcurdling scream, although sometimes such sounds can be heard here (more on that later). It was more like an exasperated-angry-tortured kind of screech that comes out when one is aggravated to the point of insanity. My colleague in question from whom this unusual sound came had finally lost it. She had received her twenty-seventh text message informing her that her flexi load had been completed with success. I was actually quite impressed with her patience; I had watched her as she very politely told the mobile company agent that it was a tad inconvenient when this message kept coming in after the 16th time. Before this she had politely complained how even after paying, her outgoing had not been activated for one whole day. Thus the sudden screech did not really surprise or shock.

In fact there have been many times when I have wanted to screech myself in frustration when daily texts from mobile companies or banks kept clogging my inbox. They announce a hundred different offers each day, romantic ring tones on Valentines Day, specialised 'attractive' wallpapers for your mobile on Father's Day, 500 reward points from your credit card company. They also give you advice: 'don't destroy your kidneys, control your diabetes'. Maybe they can have little texts that say something like: 'Put down that lalmohon, don't even think about it' or something more dramatic: 'I know what you did last summer'...

Sudden screams, yes the bloodcurdling ones, are sometimes part of the daily office work, no doubt breaking the monotony and providing the non-screamers with a bit of amusement. You see there are other things besides irritating texts that evoke such intense emotions.

Take for instance, radioactive lizards suddenly popping out and running along the walls, hiding behind the computer until some unsuspecting victim sits at her computer and then coming out and heading for the next destination. The word 'radioactive' comes to mind in view of the fact that these lizards that have decided are part and parcel of the magazine (they shifted with us downstairs), are humungous. So far we have identified two of them although I suspect there are three, a twin pair, one always giving proxy to another. The queen lizard is bigger, looks eternally pregnant and fairer, almost translucent while her mate or 'mates' are a dirty charcoal yet retaining that horrifying slithery quality. Old timers like me have become used to these house pets but even now I sometimes have to stifle the petrified scream when they make their cameo appearances. For the newcomer, understandably, it is a 'novel' experience to have a ridiculously fat lizard creep out from behind the computer and dart across the floor. Usually the scream follows instantly but sometimes one may find a colleague practically jump out of her seat and latch onto a desk on the opposite side before settling onto it, both feet up of course, hyperventilating.

I feel bad about this situation and would take drastic steps, I don't want to lose people because of some obscure attention-craving reptile but killing lizards that are apparently quite harmless besides scaring the living daylights out of some of us, is just not justified. Moreover, they eat mosquitoes although the ones in our room seem to be on a more 'enhanced' diet. My theory is that it has something to do with the radiation from the computers plus the fact that I once saw one of them dart towards the AC wires and disappear into the air conditioner. It seemed as if it was preying on something, in this case, a medium-sized, furry rat who had just gone back to where it had come from as if it had forgotten something. Yes, there are more reasons to scream about...


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