I didn’t travel actively until I was done with school. However, that doesn’t mean we didn’t visit places nearby. Rishikesh is close enough to Dehradun for it to be counted more of a commute and less of a trip. However, there are a few stories from places nearby that are interesting enough. This is one such story.
Some of my extended family, my mother, my brother and I were in Rishikesh. I don’t remember how that little day out started. We were on the famed Laxman Jhula, making our way with the crowd to slowly trudging to the other side.
Laxman Jhula is where the fun is at, especially for the hundreds of monkeys that basically mob around the area. It’s a hilarious sight. That is until the monkeys bother everyone else. For me, the bridge was proving out to be a challenge because I was still terrified of heights then and I hadn’t tried conquering said phobia hitherto.
My mother was carrying a packed plate of Kulcha Chola. If you aren’t from India, it is nothing but a type of bread and a spicy preparation of dried chickpeas. My father really loves it, so it was natural that we had one plate packed for him.
As we moved on the bridge, my mother felt a tug on one of her hands. Immediately assuming it was some delinquent or perhaps a snatcher, my mother turned back in anger to confront. She realized three things almost immediately upon becoming. One, her purse was in the other hand. Two, monkeys are not easily scared. Three, if a monkey wants food, he doesn’t ask.
A man who was walking alongside gave somewhat valuable advice, “Just leave the packet, ma’am. He’ll take your purse too if you don’t.” My mother took heed of it and let the packet go. The monkey gave one final shriek and ran away with his other monkey pals, swinging at the suspension wires with considerable expertise.
Once we were on the other side, I saw the monkeys balanced under the suspension bridge’s framework. All of them enjoying the meal that they had so quickly acquired. I pointed toward them and asked my mother and everyone else to look that way.
For some inexplicable reason, my mother was okay with them having that one plate. I have always thought of it like this, “if they could eat it with great interest, perhaps they wanted it more than we did.” It’s funny though that they snatched it in the first place.
As I look back on it, this one experience probably taught me more about grey areas than any interaction with human beings afterwards.