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Overcoming the fear of spiders

Overcoming the fear of spiders

Photo for representational purpose only. - File photo



Sripriya Satish

THE other day, I was browsing the Web when a quote about the spider, a small eight-legged creature, caught my attention: ‘A spider is slow, but its web catches the fastest flies.’ This took me down memory lane.

One day, when I was cleaning the kitchen, I was taken aback by a shriek from the living room. It was my daughter, who was about six years old then. She was playing with one of her friends. Her call made me leave what I was doing and rush to her. What I saw baffled me. Her friend, a few years older than her, was giggling, while my daughter was in a state of panic on seeing a spider. Fear was writ large on her face and she came running to me. No amount of cajoling by me or her friend could stop her from crying. She had arachnophobia — a presumably irrational fear of spiders.

I wanted her to somehow get rid of this fear. When she had calmed down, I told her the story of King Bruce, who once ruled Scotland. Failing six times on the battlefield against the King of England, he had lost all hope and hidden himself in a cave. There, a spider became a source of inspiration for him. My daughter listened in awe as to how the insect persistently tried weaving a web even after several unsuccessful attempts. I ended my monologue by saying that if one tried, one could easily overcome the fear of spiders by recalling nice things about them. The following week, I saw her leafing through a book on spiders in a book store. She wanted to know more about them and dispel her phobia.

Well, how many of us know that the National Save a Spider Day is observed every year on March 14 in the US with the twin objectives of reducing arachnophobia and conserving spiders? Spider silk is five times stronger than a strand of steel, which is about the same thickness. According to research studies, spiders are everywhere — within a 10-ft radius around you, there is sure to be a spider hiding in a crevice — and they are great at pest control. The pests they trap and devour include cockroaches and ants, besides disease-spreading insects such as mosquitoes and flies.

There is another quote: ‘The spider is a repairer. If you bash into the web of a spider, she doesn’t get mad. She weaves and repairs it.’ That’s a life lesson learnt from an insect!


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