Lingering memories

Out of nowhere memories of my close association with Raja Rameshwar Rao stole back in my mind. He has been gone for many years but reappeared in my mind as if it was only yesterday that he breathed his last. I was reminded of the Urdu couplet:

Raat yoon dil mein teree khoyee hue yaad aayee
Jaisey veeraney mein chupkey sey bahaar aa jaaye
Jaisey sahraaon mein hauley sey chaley baad-e-naseem
Jaisey beemaar ko bevajah qaraar aa jaaye

Last night your memory stole back into my mind
Like spring comes silently into the desert
As the soft morning breeze begins to blow
As one sick beyond hope
Hope begins to glow.

I can’t find any explanation. We had been close friends for many years. After his death, his memory had faded in the desert wastes. Why did he all of a sudden steal back in my mind without any rhyme or reason, as if he was alive. Some people have the power of haunting their friends’ lives for years after they have died. Rameshwar was one of them. His  memory had faded for many years. And all of a sudden he came alive as if he had never died. I am delighted to have him back and have long conversations with him. It reminds me of an Ahmed Faraz’s couplet:

Ahad nibhaaney kee khatir mat aanaa;
Ahad nibhaaney waley aksar majboori mein ahad kartey hain
Majboori ya mehjoori kee thakan say lauta kartey hain
Aur darya, darya pyas buhathey hain
Mayree chahat aur mayree lau itnee oonchi hogai hadi
Jab dil ro dey
To laut aanna

Do not return because of promises earlier made
Promises earlier made are under compulsion
Or under pressure;
You go, and do not return
Till your heart cries out in pain.
Why monkeys have red faces and bottoms

I am indebted to N Krishnamurthy for reminding me why monkeys have red faces and bottoms. I reproduce his letter: “I have always wondered why some monkeys have red behinds. For years I believed it was a feminine phenomenon connected with their menstrual cycles. But I noticed later that some male monkeys also had red posteriors and genitals. Then I made a third observation viz. not one of the performing monkeys, whether male or female, belonging to the bandarwala had a red behind. Why? Where could I find the answer to such questions?

I laid my hands on Social behaviour of monkeys by Thelma Rowell (Penguin). It has very little on the three families of apes most commonly seen in India – rhesus, bonnet and langur. And what I said about the red on the posterior and genitals doesn’t answer all my questions. Redness is certainly connected with maturity and desire: It is “Sexual Skin”. And I was not far wrong in my guess that in the case of female, it marks her first
menstrual period. About the male, all the author says is: “They also have sexual skins which become hairless on maturity, and bright red on the rhesus and some other species under the influence of testosterone. “However, in either case, red is the green signal for sex – almost like a mating call.

Performing monkeys are usually taken in captivity as infants. The Bandarwala becomes the substitute mother but does not give the baby monkey what its real mother can give. More important than food is affection and discipline which teaches the monkey its place in the simian social order so it can, later on, adjust itself, mate and bear offspring. Monkeys reared by humans become misfits, they seldom have normal sexual impulses – and therefore no red on their behinds.

Why Langoors have black faces?

Well, here is how: While battling the giants in Lanka, Hanuman’s tail caught fire. After destroying Lanka, he put his tail in his mouth to extinguish the fire, which turned his face black, thus providing a mythological explanation why Hanuman langoors have black faces.

(Courtesy: Joginder Singh Babbra, New Delhi)

No safety valve

Santa: I have heard that using condom is very safe?

Banta: Not at all, I had used it. But still my girlfriend’s husband beat me up.

(Contributed by Vinay Asawa, Howrah)

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