Monkey business

I have seen as many naughty men and women as I have seen monkeys.
Last Updated 23 January 2013, 18:17 IST

Speaking for myself, I am a great admirer of monkeys. I would say that I am fond of them not only because our original genes come from that stock but also they are so self respecting that if we treat them nicely, they will even smile at you in response.

But if you were to be aggressive with them, then be ready to pay the cost. They literally and figuratively ape our responses.

I find that our relationship with monkeys is not based on our personal experiences but on the exaggerated narrations of our friends like this one. A friend of ours was telling us that a naughty monkey got in her room, picked up the TV remote control and she found it broken into bits near her house.

She bought another one and one day when she was meditating, she heard that TV had been put on when no one else was around. She broke her meditation to find a monkey sitting on the sofa with a remote in his hand and watching his favourite programme. A heated discussion followed and each one present there started sharing their horrific experiences of some food being picked up on the sly or a monkey looking at them mockingly.

I was the lone defender of the community because I have seen as many naughty men and women as I have seen monkeys. How many of us can claim that we have not lifted and carried home, pens and writing pads given to us when we go for a meeting. Just because one monkey is known to have stolen a remote control, you can’t paint the whole clan as a bunch of thieves.

I have seen most civil and teamwork amongst the monkeys and to support my case, I narrated my most recent example of how about fifty of them entered our home and gracefully and gently walked on the compound wall, sat down to rest.

Some of them took turns in removing the lice from each other’s skins only to move on to higher level roof of our neigbours. They stopped, evaluated the risk, decided to take a wiser approach of first climbing the water pipe and then doing the last jump. The children amongst them were tucked under their belly and carried with safety. How would you feel as a monkey if your behaviour is compared with the unruly MPs as was done recently?

And they learn from others’ experience. There was this cap seller who would sell caps sitting under a tree. And one day, monkeys sitting on the tree, jumped down and stole the caps and climbed back on the tree.

The cap seller threw his own cap and the monkeys did exactly same. The seller collected the caps and ran away. When his grandson took over his business, the grandfather shared his experience. One day, he was faced with the same problem and followed what his grandfather had done. The monkeys mocked at him and said that they too have grandfathers.

(Published 23 January 2013, 18:17 IST)

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