Monkey business in India…

“Monkeys” we all squealed in unison the first time we saw monkeys in India. “Oh they’re soooo cute” said one son. “Can we play with them?” begged the other. “Let’s just see” smiled a bemused Rahul.

Ah monkeys…they look so cute, cuddly and fun. However they can be quite the opposite as you will see from our “monkey business” in India.

It is hard to avoid monkeys in India. Every trip, no matter the state, we always see monkeys. Over the years we have had some classic encounters with them. On a trip to Thiruvannamalai my son was sitting in the temple watching some monkeys frolic from a safe distance. Suddenly a monkey ran over and tried to pull down his pants. My son leapt up in shock and the monkey ran off. “”Maybe he was thought there was a banana in there” commented my other son innocently. We all had a good chuckle.

On a trip to Puttaparthi we saw a group of monkeys grab an unsuspecting lady’s shopping bag. They all climbed up a tree where they started to investigate its contents. BANG down came the powder, BANG down came the toothpaste, CLANG down came the stainless steel bowl. However when they found the food they began to devour it with glee. The poor lady could do nothing but watch in dismay. This little episode gave us a healthy respect for monkeys and to be on the look out for them.

Years ago Padma and I got held up in our room by an old scab faced monkey looking for food. Luckily Rahul turned up in the nick of time and distracted him by throwing a banana.

Last year as Padma and I were descending from Chamundi Hill in Mysore I spied a group of monkeys. I was carrying a small plastic bag of flowers for our car dashboard shrine. Suddenly the big male monkey made a grab for my bag. I screamed and ran back up the stairs till I was around a corner. I then squashed the flowers into my small shoulder bag and collected myself. Slowly I turned and walked back down the stairs. There was the big monkey again but because I had no plastic bag this time he ignored me as I passed. Phew…the dashboard flowers were a little flattened but still smelt divine.

Yes monkeys are sweet, they are cheeky and we love them. However take my advice and “watch the monkey” as he may be cute but he is also looking to separate you from your lunch!