While writing about government quarters I had mentioned about the intelligence of monkeys as I get to see them invading my garden quite often owing to the variety of things they get here. This gives me an opportunity to observe them closely and I must say I’m both amazed and amused. Time and again they have proved that they are our ancestors.
Today as I was enjoying some monkey tricks going on in the garden I got hold of the newspaper and there was some news about monkeys that caught my eye. It said the Chinese Air Force has created a battalion of ……. yes, monkeys!! The Peoples’ Liberation Army, it said, has created a group of monkeys to help protect one of the air bases from a huge flock of birds that cause problems for planes during landing and taking off. Earlier, the army had tried all possible things to get rid of these birds like firecrackers, firearms and scarecrows, all in vain 🙂 That’s when they thought of employing the monkeys. Guess what! It’s working and working very well. The monkeys are said to be responding to their masters’ whistles as obediently as any military cadet would!! They have been successful in chasing away the trouble shooter birds .
This particular news reminded me of the time when my husband was posted at the Army Headquarters,, Sena Bhavan in Delhi in mid nineties. He used to tell me that people working in Sena Bhavan building were a troubled lot because of monkey menace, the small sized and red faced monkeys. Everyday when people came down to the place where their vehicles were parked they would find the scooter seats torn, the side view mirrors of cars meddled with and of course scratches here and there, sometimes attacking people. These monkeys would come and sit on the window sills at lunchtime and keep making noise asking for something to be given. When the monkey menace became too much, bigger monkeys called the langoors (the ones with black face and long tails) were hired to control and drive away the small monkeys that were troubling people. Here also, the languor was successful in doing his job 🙂 In fact all government office buildings many other places had this problem it seems and everywhere the langoors provided the much needed relief. But I heard recently that the New Delhi Urban Development Ministry has issued a notice asking to stop the use of langoors for this purpose, may be under pressure from the animal lovers and activists.
If the above incidents show the intelligence of monkeys and their capability to execute the orders given by their trainers, my friend who lives nearby told me about an incident where she got to see the emotional side of monkeys. This friend of mine also has a nice garden lined with trees. ( in Jabalpur cantt almost all houses are like that) So, one day she saw a group of monkeys sitting unusually quiet. Surprised, she just stood behind the mesh door and watched them. After a while she realised that one of the monkeys, probably the mother, was hugging a baby monkey which was dead. The mother was not ready to leave it’s baby and was cuddling it all the time while the other monkeys in the group looked at it sympathetically as though they were saying ‘ we understand your grief ‘. This went on for almost three four days with the mother clinging to her baby all the time and not putting her down for a moment also. Her friends would go hopping from tree to tree while she sat watching them. After a few days, probably hit by the hard reality that her baby would not come alive again, she let go of it and went away. When Shashi told us all about this we were all speechless and overcome with sympathy for the mother.
So next time you come across monkeys don’t just shoo them away. Treat them with a little more respect. In a country which worships Lord Hanuman isn’t it sad that these monkeys are stoned and tortured?