February 21, 2020
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Monkey Business

Monkey Business
A feature noted by all who drive through the Doon is how the monkey population has increased and been forced by a shrinking jungle to beg at the roadside. Hundreds of them for miles together line up as Sivalik approaches awaiting a handout. Double-roti crusts are tossed out by passing truck drivers or more upmarket fare is shared by stopping Maruti passengers. In Mussoorie the monkeys are more aggressive and children sent to the local ration shop often return in tears, having had their bag of atta or rice snatched by the desperate primates. If you live under a tin roof, in the monsoons the cavorting monkeys loosen the bolts and let in the rain. Occasionally one gets over-curious and is electrocuted. In a heartwarming incident, as a young bander lay rigid on the road outside our house, apparently dead from contact with an overhead wire, a quick-thinking Nepali labourer demanded a nip of brandy from our neighbour and was able to revive the monkey. After a night spent in the labourer's warm blanket and a saucer of milk in the morning, the monkey was welcomed back by its troop who had kept vigil near the scene of its out-patient treatment. The langurs are so aesthetically exquisite in mid-flight that a leaking roof seems a small price to pay for this darshan of Hanuman.
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