Never Discount Monkey Business

Published: 27th May 2014 06:00 AM  |   Last Updated: 27th May 2014 12:11 AM   |  A+A-

I thought the people in the colony in Mathura were making a style statement with their walking sticks. I urged my husband to buy me one immediately. It was a few days later that I learnt from Vandana, my neighbour, that the walking sticks were meant for monkeys. She added the monkeys understood the use of the sticks. A lady who had the impunity to go for her morning walk with a particularly thick walking stick was bitten by a big monkey in her ear! Her friend without the weapon remained unscathed. Vandana told me about her own experience.

One afternoon, when she heard the door open, she thought that it was her dear husband. Calling  out her sweetest endearments, she asked him to help himself from the refrigerator. He could not expect otherwise as the afternoon soap was coming to an important conclusion. Naturally, she could only help during the break. As she walked into the kitchen, she realised with horror that her sweet nothings had not been addressed to her darling but to someone slightly less dangerous. An overgrown male monkey on the kitchen platform had helped himself to the plate of cakes and a bunch of bananas from the fridge!

Groups of marauding monkeys follow the devout in Vrindavan, the land of Lord Krishna. As the pilgrims step out of their vehicles their spectacles go into the deep recesses of their pockets.If the monkeys hate sticks in Mathura they love spectacles and sunglasses in Vrindavan. Is it because of a difference in their genetic make-up? The monkeys are certainly of a more intelligent kind. Vandana had heard of the simian preference. She implored her husband to remove the designer sunglasses before stepping out of the car. The husband refused outright. He did not want his glamour lost for an instant. As soon as he stepped out, an observant member jumped downright upon his shoulder from nowhere, gave him a resounding slap and made away with his designer sunglasses. Her husband stood agape rubbing his stinging red cheeks to the amusement of the bystanders.

He had not noticed the puriwalas in their hand-pulled carts earlier. Gas stoves were lit and puris began to be rolled out and fried at astonishing speed. He was soon surrounded by dozens of men who thrust plates full of the fried items to his face. Vandana’s husband understood no reason for their action. To be slapped by a monkey in full public view was insulting enough but to have a plateful of puris after it was simply atrocious. He would have none of it. The reason for their action slowly pierced his foggy brain. The hot puris and accompanying vegetable dish weren’t meant for him. The monkey who by now was perched on a thatched roof would only return his sunglasses after an offering of the six puris. Vandana’s fuming husband offered only two. The monkey looked at the puris with disdain. He gave two more but the monkey scratched his head and looked away. It was only when there were six that the monkey threw down the sunglasses and reached for the plate. The monkeys certainly know how to count. Do you need further proof that we have descended from monkeys?

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