Hungry on an excursion

Hungry on an excursion

On a weekend, twenty two South Indian families including mine from an Air Force station in the north boarded a coach and set out on a sightseeing tour to a few historical monuments around Agra. We carried with us a big vessel full of packed meals. The first in our itinerary was Sikandra Fort. The impressive structure with its marvellous minars and lush green meadow in front, was a sight to behold. There was a battalion of langurs that remained innocuous unless peeved. As we had carried no eatables with us we were spared of any attempt by them to snatch them from us.

Weary of going around the fort we sat in a circle near the entrance. I suggested that teenage girls from among us sing songs of their choice. Soon they began singing songs in turns and thus entertaining others. Every song ended with loud claps from us and to our surprise some of the langurs perched afar from us echoed the claps by putting their forelegs together in imitation as if they were trained to do so. When another crowd of visitors entered the fort we traced our steps back to the coach.

Next in our itinerary was another famous monument of the Mogul era called Mariam’s Tomb. Following about an hour of drive we reached the spot. The majestic façade of the tomb seemed to beckon us towards it. After passing through the interior of the tomb and savouring the splendid sight of the flower-garden in front, we sat in an open space flanking one side of the fort. Soon we were having a whale of a time listening to the recorded rib tickling jokes by matchless Tamil film comedians, Thangavelu and Nagesh and our laughter knew no bounds.  

It was past 2 pm when we started ambling towards our coach to have lunch. Spotting monkeys around the vehicle we guessed we were in for some mischief by them. As our coach driver had gone to a tea stall nearby without locking the door, the simians had ransacked our food packets besides leaving the peels of fruits kept on the racks above the seats strewn on the aisle.

Curtailing our trip, we started driving back — hearts filled with joy of having visited majestic-looking monuments and stomachs burning with voracious hunger. At the sight of the very first eatery we halted and ate to the top of our bent. It was about 8 pm when we reached our Air Force station.

Learning that monkeys are more annoying with their mischief than amusing with their antics, we saw to it that the doors and windows of our coach were not left open, in all our future trips.