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.