I WAS picking up leaves in my small garden one morning during a weekend. It was a nice day, and I thought I’d check out the outdoors.
I’ve always been so busy that I have never taken the time to just really smell the roses. Breathe in nature’s fresh air, like I did when I was a kid. Thoughts of my youth swirled in my head as I picked up leaves and twigs.
As I reached behind a bush, I felt my hand grasp a big stone. It felt a little bit squishy. I tried to pick it up but it didn’t budge. I peered down to see the stone I was holding. I froze.
My fingers were around a frog. A big greyish frog sitting between some leaves. And, it looked at me with big stony eyes.
I didn’t know what to do. My mind raced back to what the elders always said when I was growing up, “Don’t let a frog come near you. It will urinate into your eyes. You will go blind forever!”
And now, I was clasping this frog. And, it was looking right at me.
I dare not let go, for fear the amphibian would quickly turn and urinate. Maybe revenge for disturbing its weekend chillin’ time.
Maybe it was just hanging out, minding its own business and I’ve disturbed its lazy routine. Maybe, it was peacefully catching insects or flies or just having a nap under...
I snapped myself out of my stupor. C’mon, Izham! Why are you dreaming about a frog’s weekend schedule?! You have a frog IN YOUR HAND! What are you going to do? Release slowly? Or let go and run?! You don’t want to be blind forever, Izham! You still have a lot of sightseeing to do! You haven’t seen South America yet, Izham! Machu Picchu! You haven’t seen Machu Picchu!
I snapped myself out of YET another stupor. Think, Izham! What are you going to do?! I began thinking hard.
Wait, aren’t frogs our friends? I mean, who came up with that Prince Charming story? Maybe, they are our allies in the creature world. Should I ki… NOW WHY WOULD ANYONE WANT TO KISS A FROG?!
Calm down, Izham. Calm down. The croaker’s not moving. He is in between your thumb and your four fingers. You have the evolutionary upperhand. Wait. Is it a he? What if it’s a she? Didn’t I read somewhere that frogs can change their gender?
STOP IT! THINK, IZHAM!
I began to sweat.
Why didn’t life prepare me for this?! I’ve done what you told me! Studied hard, worked hard! I abandoned my days playing in the garden when I could have learnt some frog-safety knowledge!
I looked around. Would anyone else know what to do? Or have we ALL forsaken nature-survival skills in our modern life? Should we have been exploring the outdoors instead of being on our laptops all the time? Have we forgotten that the world is bigger than our cars and offices and air-conditioned houses? Have all our gardens grown smaller, and, unnecessarily, rendering us humans incapable of survival in the wild? My Microsoft Word prowess is NOT gonna get me out of this!
Curse you, urbanisation!
Maybe I should call my son. Wait. He’s upstairs on his computer. He doesn’t even know where the garden is! Just the other day he was shocked to see a live chicken. THEN, WHERE DO YOU THINK THOSE FRIED CHICKENS AT KFC COME FROM, SON?!
I was losing it. I looked at the frog from the side of my eyes, scared to look at it straight in case it could do a reverse urinate thing into my face. The frog looked perturbed. It croaked a little. Maybe it was trying to communicate.
I imagined what it was saying. “I am Zandar, the infamous fly-eater. Why do you have your filthy human hand on me? I shall turn around and whizz on your puny human face, your poor excuse of a God’s creature!”
Stop it, Izham. This is just a normal garden variety frog. Or, is it? What if now he, or she, is transferring some frog germs to me? I could get… I could get… frogatitis.
My hands could get scaly. My tongue could get elongated. I can just imagine my colleagues laughing now, “Hey Boss ... let’s make a movie called Kau Katakdirku instead?” It croaked again.
That’s it. I decided to risk it. I was going to make a run for it.
I turned my body around and, in a sprinter’s position, with one hand still clasped around the frog, I counted. Three. Two. One. Go!
I let go of the frog and ran a few metres. Yes! No spray of urine on me! I did it!
Then, suddenly I heard a sound below. I looked down. My foot was on a long scaly grey tail. It belonged to a greyish big monitor lizard. And, it looked at me with big stony eyes.
AHMAD IZHAM OMAR , who works in the production of TV, film and music content, now avoids his garden like the plague