I can't believe that I am actually writing about this creature and what a scare it gives me! Much as I hate (though hate is a strong word and I prefer not to use it, in case of a cockroach, I just can't think of any other word!) Perhaps despicable could be another word apt to describe my feelings for these insects.
Going back in time, I can recall my first feelings of fear or hatred towards this creature, crept on my 2nd birthday. I was taken to a photo studio, along with my cousin and as the two of us were made to sit on a bench, my eyes suddenly fell on something moving on the floor. It was a big cockroach! My first look at it was that of fascination, the thing seemed to be "walking" on a lot of legs which had pokey hair on them, Long whiskers and huge eyes, which seemed to just look at me and kind of seemed to warn me and say, "watch out!" Gosh! I just remember being so terrified at seeing this creature.
As time flew, I noticed my fear for this creature had made solid ground on my subconscious mind too! A look at the creepy even at a long distance, would make me scream out of fear. An incident I recall when I may have been 8 or 9 years old; we had some unexpected guests at home and our home used to be sparsely furnished then. My Dad asked me to go and get a mat or chataai (चटाई ) for the kids to sit on, which had been kept in one of the bedrooms. I was happy to have these unexpected guests visiting us. I knew the exact place where this mat had been kept standing against the wall in the bedroom and unmindful of the fact the room was in pitch darkness, I picked the mat in my hand to take it to the living room. I had barely reached the passage way which led to the living room, that I felt some things creep up my hands and something moving on the frock I was wearing. I didn't need light to know what it could be! The next thing that was heard in my home was heart rending screams. It seemed like I had used up all my lung power to give out such ear shattering screams. My parent's and the guests, all came running towards me to see what had happened. Where the guests were smiling or giggling at my stupidity (believe me, I don't think there is anything stupid if you hate cockroaches the way I do), my dad was irked and mom was confused on whom to attend to. I remember Dad brushing one creepy from my frock and Mom squishing one under her foot (during such times, my mom appears to be a knight in a shining armour for me) and then holding the despicable creature by its whiskers to throw it out. I still shudder when I recall how those 'creepies' were all over me; its a virtual feeling! Ugh!!
Then came a time when I was in school and my best friend then, Binu, who was always up to no good and also knew of my fear for this creature, put a dead cockroach into a match box and gave it to me. I didn't for once suspect that she could have done such a thing, as she knew well how mortally scared I was of this creature. What followed after I opened the match box, is another story altogether. How much I screamed my lungs out, my shock, the jitters on almost holding the 'creepy' and for a long time after this incident, I had not forgiven her for hurting me emotionally so! :)
Then, there was this incident, a few months after I had got engaged to get married. My parent's had decided to get the home painted. We lived in a duplex home with a front yard and back yard, both having small garden patches, where my grand father (from my paternal side) and my parents had grown trees and plants. So rats and mice, along with a freak snake or two, garden lizards/chameleons, birds and insects were a regular feature in the garden and amongst them, at times, one of these 'creepies' too, who would find their way inside the home and so did house lizards. I had a small bedroom cum study room for myself and I made sure it was kept neat and clean at all times. My fear for the 'roaches' turned me into a cleanliness freak. I guess I developed OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder) out of my fear for these creepies. I believed that if I kept my room clean and didn't keep food stuff in my room, these creatures wouldn't 'step' into my room. Many a time, the reason for the brawl between my siblings and me, was that they would invade my study table to borrow stuff behind my back or probably litter the room in some way.
My marriage was just a month away and with the painting at home in progress, the whole home was in a mess. The furniture had been pulled into the center of the rooms to allow the painters to paint the walls without obstruction. Since my room was already small, and with the furniture put in the center of the room and the other bric-brac with which I decorated my room, piled on the sole bed in my room, I had no option but to share the bedroom which was designated to my siblings. I don't remember where my brother was when this incident happened. It was just my younger sister (am the oldest child of my parents) and I in their bedroom. My sister and me had plonked ourselves on the beds, which had been placed in the middle of the room and she was telling me some incident that had happened in her college. We were giggling away like sillies and at the same time, I was busy painting my toe nails. She arose after some time to take something from her writing table and I stood up on the bed to put on the ceiling fan. The next thing I knew was that my sister had screamed, "zarlo!" (meaning cockroach in our mother tongue) and without even checking where it was, I had screamed loudly and lost my balance from the bed I was standing on and had landed awkwardly on the floor, with my legs twisted in different directions and my neck in a different direction. I had begun to cry too as I had sprained my neck and one of the legs badly. It was after 12:00 a.m. Our mom who had gone to bed long ago, hearing our screams and shouts, had come up to check as to which typhoon had hit the room upstairs.
She first pulled us up for creating a chaos at the dead of the night and that our screams would disturb our Dad who was fast asleep and had to leave for office, early next day. Then seeing me cry and sister too, who by now had climbed onto the bed, standing with fear writ on her face, asked us what happened. I was still disoriented and between sobs I told her that Sona (my sis) had spotted a cockroach, but I don't know where it was and hadn't even seen how big or small it was. Suddenly, as if it heard me and wanted to show me that all the screams and drama over it, was not futile, it made it's appearance, from under the bed. It came out hastily as if it had some unfinished business and had to do so, as soon as possible. It's mission was accomplished! When once again, seeing the 'creepy', I began shouting and screaming. And once again, as always, my knight in shining armour, my mom, squished the 'ugly' creature under her foot and picking it by it's whiskers (which sent another screech from me), she went downstairs to throw the dead 'ugly' in the dustbin, grumbling all her way down, as to how I would manage my home after marriage, when a small cockroach (wonder how she can call it small!? for me, it is no less than one of those carnivores dinosaurs or fire throwing dragons) could make me go weak.
Years went by, but my feelings for these despicable creatures only grew stronger. And with years, came understanding and maturity, along with silliness and other immaturity (at times) too! Slowly, I began seeing a similar nature of the cockroaches to the way humans behaved too! People in close proximity or strangers, some of them give out the similar feeling to me, which I feel for the cockroaches. Though they have never harmed me, there is something about the vibes they give out, which just makes my flesh crawl and I just don't want anything to do with them. I guess I too may be sending such vibes to these people too, who knows!! I am not oblivious to this feeling too, that I too could be an object of disgust and hatred for some if not many! But where I am concerned, ignorance is bliss! :)
Years have gone and I am a wife, and a mother of two adorable daughters. It is said that parent's are role models for their kids and in my case, I think I have been a horrible role model, as I have passed on my fear of the despicable cockroach to both my kids. Squishing baby or small cockroaches or killing them with a repellent, gives me a personal triumph of victory. A battle won over these despicable monsters. And to think of it, my kids used to watch, `Oggy and the cockroaches!`, when they were much younger! In fact, they would giggle away, much to my disgust of even seeing those monsters in an animated version, where they were insufferable too!
A very recent event which happened a week ago. My elder daughter, who is appearing for her IPCC exams (C.A) to be held in May, sits during the wee hours to study. That particular night, I already had trouble going to sleep and finally I did at 1:30 a,m, and I was woken up with her screams. I literally fell off my bed with fright. My heart was racing wondering if it was a dream or had I really been woken by screams. A look at my bedside, I realized that it was real, because my husband too had woken up. Still groggy and yet with the heart beats playing a staccato, I sat in bed and soon my daughter came running, gasping and shaking, making it look as if a fire throwing dragon had entered her bedroom. Shivering and stammering, she blurted, "Amma, please come, there is a big cockroach in my bedroom. It has climbed on the wall near God's altar. Please!!" I guess, in her state of fear, she forgot she had asked her mom, who had a worse fear of the "monster" in her room, than herself.
I stayed put in my bed. As I was sure, my screams on seeing the "monster" would far exceed her's in decibel's. But her Dad (her knight in shining armour & mine too on many occasions), went to her room, squished an almost dead cockroach (my daughter had generously emptied more than half a can of the repellent, "Red Hit" to kill just one of those despicable "monsters"), picked it by its whiskers & threw it in the dustbin.
After that, peace seemed to settle in, my daughter went back to her studies and husband was back in bed, snoring away to oblivion. But, my sleep had gone for a toss. Just earlier that evening, I had been sitting on the floor of the very room, (where this 'monster" was found), cleaning and organising the larder. And I began to hallucinate. I re-ran the scene of me sitting on the floor and began imagining this 'creepy' walking gleefully behind me, besides me and probably even on me (shudder!). I began to sweat and my fear didn't allow me to sleep, cause, as soon as, I would shut my eyes to sleep, I would imagine what could have happened. Finally, I snuggled close to my husband and holding his arms tightly, I managed to fall asleep. Phew!!
I guess my fear for these 'monsters' will leave the world with me! Wonder why God created them! Grr..rr! And I can almost hear these monsters say, "Wonder why God created a monster like her!!" :)
But I don't care, because, 'Ignorance is Bliss!!' :)