Do you ever wonder how a spider feels when you squash it with a mop or a rolled newspaper, just because it crawled around or occupied the smallest corner of your room?
I already know that someone among you out there are casual spider killers? Do you have a vengeful streak towards spiders? Do you envy their ability to climb walls or leap long distances with webs?
If I need a reason to consider a spider's life precious, there's the fact that – my first friend is a spider.
Summer vacation was fast approaching, and the school had just announced an emergency closure a week before the scheduled break. The weather that day was boiling and there was an endless desire to stay as cool as possible. My body was heating up, and I was sweating profusely.
But you would probably be surprised to see me running along the corridor carrying a large blue box, barely hanging between the grip of both of my hands. My eyes were captivated by the sticker of a munchkin cat holding up a soda can in its left hand and thumbs up on the side of the box, drinking the latest released cola with a sour touch of coffee and freshness of mint.
You must have thought that it was shocking to see my jealousy to an animated cartoon mascot character and suggest that 'you should get yourself one too'.
Maybe I was a bit distracted by the heat, and running under the sun might had dried my sweat faster. Even though it was a holiday, there was no rest for me but an urgency to meet the deadline was surely driving me crazy.
Because if you look inside the box, you will find lots of choco bars, cold drinks, instant noodles, potato chips and cake. As I opened the door by kicking at its rear bottom with my foot, I mentally prepared myself for the obstacle course ahead.
First, I needed to fetch a chair from the side – to keep this box, until I was willing enough to idly stand around to let it just slip from under my hands. Then I moved some old video cassettes, carefully side-stepping the mountain of books, a number of which have formed inside my room over time. The absence of a book-shelf for accommodation of more of my belongings was clear to me as day.
Finally, I guided myself to bed, trying not to get my legs caught in between the mess of wires protruding from the gaming console and trip over. That was quite a rambunctious adventure, to begin my day with. But I would have rather preferred to conserve my energy by just lying down and not move.
Was it the preparation for a summer trip with family or friends the source of this chaos?
Definitely not, because I do not have the luxury to call someone my family. Both of my parents died in a car accident. You don't need to feel sorry for me because I was just seven years old back then and was taken under the protection of my mother's only little sister and her husband.
I would cry a lot at that time, but the tears soon dried out, and what remained was my desire to be loved and cared for which was met by the disgusted looks of my uncle and aunt. In their eyes, I was merely a burden, a load that had nothing in its possession, a being that was better off not existing in their world.
Initially, I was devastated and hurt but eventually, I gave up when I learned my uncle had been eyeing my parent's business for a long time, and now his joy knew no bounds. But to stop the outbreak of gossips in society he had to take me under his care.
As for friends, it was impossible for me to make one.
While you could have only heard the creaking voice of the slow-moving fan and failing to find any window but goggle at a small hole in the left corner of the room from where a tiny rays of light lit the undersized wretched cube.
But for me it was the only place where I had known peace. It was devoid of any human greed and hate. What remained was not happiness or joy of freedom from outside noises but emptiness and loneliness.
For the whole summer vacation I had taken the solemn and silent oath to not to leave my room or step outside the house. I had already collected a bundle of fantasy novels to read and bunch of adventure quest games to play with; which I had bought at a very low price from a second-hand shop.
I was all set!
Unfortunately for me, I blew up all my pocket money that I had been saving for six months. But there was no regret…, except for the lack of budget to go for the latest chocolate cake I could eat at the shopping district, or purchase a monitor with high graphics for better game experience, or the camera I was planning to buy, or… try the new advertisement I saw in the newspaper of the waffle cones made tall with three scoops and toppings galore … or I could have... and.
But seeing that I was way over the budget already and the heat that was killing me; I had already struck out those sinful gluttonous thoughts from my mind. I always knew world peace would come if we are all content with ourselves as I felt calm resting on my bed after running around all day.
If I can shut off myself from the rest of the world; it helps me to avoid the hateful stares of my uncles and aunts, or to cope up with the feeling that I was a complete stranger to everyone even if I belonged to a class of social being animals.
As my eyes rolled through the tattered ceiling-plaster, scrapped off in most of the parts having possessed a characteristic to be confused with the modern art complexity had you not known; my field of view passing through a corner but paused and returned back, as if to report an anomaly.
The presence of an unidentified living being.
I might had made a shock jumping awakening over there, but as I said I was too tired to force myself on moving more than necessary. So I just made a plain imagination of me getting excited. I am sure you can do it too.
An eighth-legged arthropod that belongs to the class of animals named Arachnida. A close inspection revealed a well knitted small white cob-web, while the spider looked like a minuscule white spot on a dirty brown sheet.
I came up with a rather quick decision and announced it to be my roommate. It was a profitable one-sided agreed agreement. A win-win situation for the both of us!
While the spider gets a place to live and insects to feed upon. I would be saved from loneliness… not like I was exactly aiming or only hoping for it to get rid of all the mosquitoes that disturbed me in my beauty sleep.
Surely when I counted the number of advantages, it seemed somehow that the blood-curdling insect that people thought of it as; was not actually entirely true. And just like any other animal, it too had a heart beat.
Though not too loud for me to hear. And I did not wanted my new friend to be creeped out by trying to put my ears close to its heart.
One and a half month passed in a jiffy and it was a complete victory for the two of us. All the conditions of the oath were met and Elly, my spider roommate kept its end of the deal till the very end as per the agreement. Elly proved to be a valid promissory.
But sadness was the only feeling that melted and dripped from my face. My days of peace and concord were over and the next day was school!
You might feel me as a person who might run hitherto and scamper around the house fumbling and searching for their books to finish their vacation work at the last minute like a careless buffoon.
But not me.
As a matter of fact I had already completed my homework in the first week of holidays. It was an extra-strenuous week and there were several points where I wanted to give and sometimes end up procrastinating, but you can survive against all odds with will power and determination. Well, I did get to enjoy rest of my days with no worries.
You are free to call it a smart move for the future or ask me take it easy.
But you will just call it a dumb wishful thinking that a certain someone, a classmate would call me and ask for a favour of lending them my homework… and maybe they could become friends with me… even if it sound quite underhanded.
Well, I do hear that children are usually excited, and cannot wait to talk to their friends after such long holidays. At least I would have been if only I had succeeded in my plot.
But on my part, it was just a mere sophistry scheme to keep my hopes up.
Only my partner Elly, would understand me. Even though we did not speak to each other but we could find solace in our own small world without any outside intervention or interference. Both of us were afraid from the outside gusty winds that can blow you away from your goals or the perilous water crowd whose pressure can drown you with your foolish desires.
Both of us strived for a life of isolation and somehow appreciated a life devoid of other people's thoughts and reaction. We were comrades, accomplice and partners who shared same thoughts and aspire for same dreams.
Elly My Best Friend!
I had made up my mind to keep Elly safe and stop others from killing or hurting her.
If I had the opportunity to make any wish then maybe I would ask for the universal rights of spider. You must be thinking that I have gone crazy or was acting foolish when I could end terrorism, wars, bring world peace or even undo deaths with my wish.
But soon you would realize…, no I am sure that you would join me in this self-starting dainty campaign of mine when I will be done with my story.
I lickety-split tore a sheet from the back of a rough copy and jotted down the points which was going to be the unyielding founding laws, on which I and Elly unanimously agreed upon.
It was daybreak when the alarm rang. I wiped off the drowsiness from my face and gleefully glanced at the preamble addressed to the welfare rights of the spider which we drafted yesterday.
Fifteen minutes later I was quietly sitting at the back of the school bus alone while the yellow ride was filled with noises of schoolchildren chattering and laughing together…