In Varanasi our house is situated near two famous temples. One is Durga temple, which is described in the age old literature “Puran”. The other temple is Sankat Mochan temple. This is the place where Tulsidas wrote “Ram Charit Manas”. People believe that Shri Hanuman gave him a ‘darshan’ here (rendezvous with Tulsidas).
Beside history and mythology these temples are ruled by macaque monkeys. I never could understand the logic behind the fact that if you feed a monkey, you'll be cleansed of your sins and your bad times will go away. These monkeys are eating puree, halaw, besan ke ladoos made of pure ghee (clarified butter) + chana, gur + fresh seasonal fruits. These well fed monkeys have thus increased their population. They are now an absolute menace for us. We cannot spread our laundry outside for drying. We cannot keep pickles or papad in the sun light. My garden is destroyed and they've even bitten my children. The list is far too long to even bother writing about.
Yesterday I was coming back from an area called Kabirnagar to Durga temple through a narrow lane (called “gully” in Hindi). The lane is barely four feet wide. One side of the lane is an ill maintained public toilet and other side is a personal property with six and half feet high boundary wall. I was walking alone. I saw a young monkey was peeping under the door of one close toilet. Most of the doors have corroded by 5-6 inches from the bottom. I felt pity for the person in the toilet. Suddenly a big male monkey aggressively jumped up the wall. On the other side, 10-12 monkeys were jumping and screaming on the public toilet roof. I was scared. I increased my pace. 2 shopkeepers rushed towards the monkeys with large bamboos. I reached the market. I was breathing fast. The bread shopkeeper offered a plastic stool. I sat down and felt better.
I remember that once Sanju (one of my best friend’s younger brother Dr. Sanjiv Sharma) told us about his experience with these nutty animals. He said -
“When I was doing my MS from Agra medical college I was living in hostel. Our toilets were separate from our residential area. First day morning I was going to toilet with a tin can filled water because most of the time taps were not working. My friends gave me a bamboo stick. I asked them ‘why’ with curiosity. They said that it would be needed to save the water. I did not understand the use of a stick in the loo. At that moment I push the toilet door something jumped over me and ran away. My tin can toppled down and spilled.
Now I got the answer. I spent the next two years with them. They would enter the toilet from anywhere.”
I now got up from the stool and started walking on the roads of Varanasi. The roads full of idiotic traffic, pot holes, filthy garbage and stupid monkeys. They are always ready to snatch your shopping bag.
I returned home safely. Thank you o’ lord almighty.