I found a lizard in our kitchen sink two minutes after Aliyah asked me to check the bed for snakes.
There were no snakes in the bed, though we had succumbed to a somewhat-irrational, Big Love-induced anxiety about the possibility after watching the latest episode of the HBO show about polygamy (and, in this case, snakes in a bed).
There was, however, a lizard in our kitchen sink. It was pale green and about five inches long. It was about one-millionth as unnerving and disgusting as the rat-in-the-bed incident. Still, my adrenaline levels shot up. My heart beat fast. I took a small step forward, then three back.
"Don't freak out," I warned Aliyah.
"WHY?" Aliyah said in a totally-freaked-out voice. "What is it?"
She snapped up from her computer and rushed forward. I tried to block her view of the sink.
"Don't freak out," I said, sounding pretty freaked out myself. I started turning around in circles, looking for...I don't know...a ready-made lizard trap that comes standard in all Indian homes?
"What is it?" Aliyah begged. She stood on her toes to get a better view of the sink.
"OK," I said, now sounding way more freaked out than Aliyah. "OK."
I looked to the sink to make sure the small reptile was still there. It had barely moved. Clearly, it was the calmest living thing in the house.
"OK," I rattled, turning toward Aliyah. "There's a lizard in the sink."
"Oh my God!" Aliyah half-screamed. "What should we do?"
I kept spinning around the kitchen in irrationally-conceived circles. After four or five full rotations, Aliyah offered this advice:
I stopped spinning.
"I'm not calling Abhishek," I said, thinking how practical but emasculating a call to our landlord would be.
"OK," I said, grabbing a tiny plastic Tupperware knockoff. "I'll just trap him in this."
Aliyah and I both looked at the plastic cylinder and at the lizard. Sure, he'd fit inside. But the diameter of the mouth of the cylinder was half as long as the lizard. There would be no trapping with this device. The lizard would have to crawl in headfirst.
"No," Aliyah said.
I began ransacking the house for a better lizard trap. All the while, the lizard remained calm in the sink.
I stormed back into the kitchen with the metal trashcan from our bathroom. It was about eight inches wide -- big enough to trap the lizard. It's sides were covered with small stylish holes, but nothing the lizard could escape through.
I approached the sink. Aliyah hid in the bedroom.
Tiptoeing forward, I slowly brought the upended trashcan over my head. Standing above the sink, I slowly brought the trashcan down into a holding pattern about six inches above the still lizard.
Aliyah opened the door a crack. "Got him?"
"I have no idea."
After several minutes of debate (during which the lizard used those small stylish holes to explore the inside of the trashcan's walls), I walked toward the sink with the latest copy of Time Out Delhi.
"Do it fast," she said. "One swift move, (embarrassing pet name deleted)."
So, in several clunky moves, I lifted the corner of the trashcan high enough to begin sliding the magazine over the metal cylinder's mouth. After 30 seconds of ridiculous struggling and at least one high-pitched shriek (I'm not saying who it came from), I had the lizard trapped in an upside-down trashcan sitting atop a magazine in our kitchen sink.
With Aliyah again hiding in the bedroom, I carefully picked up the trashcan, being sure to hold the magazine firmly to the lid. I walked out to the terrace, all the while hearing and feeling the lizard climbing around inside my makeshift trap.
Setting the trashcan down several feet from out front door (and with the mouth facing away from our house), I removed the magazine and fled inside as if I were a frightened Japanese man in a Godzilla film.
Oh, and when Aliyah went to the gym this morning, our landlord told her that he'd seen six baboon-sized monkeys (and one baby) on our terrace this morning. I don't think we have a trashcan big enough for them.