While in school, those of us who did not know how to sing decently in the choir made do with this ditty,
" i wish i was in the monkeyland,
the place where i was born.
a monkey came and kissed my cheeks,
and said, "goodbye!" to me!"
And, there are three versions of rendering the same song. Really, it was some song. The only vivid but remote monkey tales of my childhood were going to Lady Hydari Park and teasing our evolutionary ancestors from a safe distance. Yes,my brother got attacked and scratched by a big male for having touched the cage. Our first landlady in Shillong was the monkey-old lady ( word for word in the vernacular, meaning the old lady who had a monkey for a pet).
Of late, Hyderabad is gradually experiencing the summer in the air. The mango blossoms sway in the gentle breeze of the afternoon and the jackfruit just hangs in there in the sun taking its time to ripen. The chickoos, stoic as ever show no signs of friendly banter. And, the yellow and pink blossoms on those graceful trees adorning the boulevard is quite a visual treat.
And yeah, we got back from our jungle safari weeks back but methinks, i have jungle signal-lag. I was so used to the guide and driver telling us to keep our ears alert in the jungle and to differentiate one animal sound from the other. So I know how a monkey hoots.And, yes, i am not imagining - Jubilee Hills these days, our road reverberates with monkey hoots. There are so many fruit trees fencing every house. Of course, V dismissed it with as much disbelief. My maid - ditto.
So that afternoon, post lunch the young man was getting ready for his early evening bath. He was in the living room with the maid crawling all over the house like a cub leaving oily marks here and there.The kitchen door is always left open for the afternoon sunlight.It is quite a pretty picture.I went in to get his clothes and other accouterments ready for his majesty's royal bath. As i walked back i see a bushy-tail on the dining table, yes the dining table. Excuse me? Not the neighbouring Tamil cat, is it? No, that's not a catty-tail. That looks like a monkey.I ran towards the kitchen, and there he was waiting. I scared him from the word go. He gnarled at me. I had nothing around me to throw at him save a basket of oranges on the dining table. No, i am not sparing them for you.I grabbed that half-filled plastic water bottle and hurled at him. In no time, he was gone and i could see him on the roof of our neighbour's servants quarters, plucking a berry here and there. He seemed like a total loafer.I called out my maid and showed her the monkey proof. She was like - wah! We both promised to be careful since we have a delicious crawler in the house.
Called V and reported the appearance of the monkey. The father in him suddenly became protective and we thought we should inform the municipal authorities but have you heard of a monkey catching squad ever in India? Jai Hanuman!
My maid brings home monkey proof stuff. Don't ask me what!