Rishikesh monkeys are mad. They’re a menace. Utterly mischievous. My sister called one morning and asked what I was doing. I was doing my laundry again because a monkey had just danced on my clothes. I’m sure the little monster did it on purpose. I’d moved to a new hotel just on the banks of the river where, unlike my last hotel, it seemed the monkeys weren’t always casing the joint. I was happy and peaceful placing my white clothes over the balcony ledge, enjoying the view of the Ganges and the feeling of satisfaction [bxA] one gets from hand-washing clothes in a bucket...
But then I spotted him – several doors down on the shared balcony, arrogantly clutching a box he had assuredly stolen from a hotel room, and casually munching on the contents. He was watching me. My heart jumped, I quickly got my camera, snapped a photo and leapt back inside the door.
Just as I fastened the last latch on the door, I turned in time to see the little devil jumping on my clothes en route to his perch – where he could sit and watch me through the window. Grrrr. There I stood, confined by four walls, metal bars on the windows, trapped…while he sat smugly outside, in the free world, observing me in my captivity. Oh how adorable.
Here’s a monkey approaching pedestrians in Laxman Jhula, likely going after the food in their bags. A Lebanese woman studying Kundalini yoga at the Parmarth Ashram across the river told me she was dialing her mobile phone with one hand when a monkey snatched the apple from her other hand.
Crossing the pedestrian bridges over the Ganges is a feat often complicated by Times Square-like crowds cramming into the narrow space while pushcarts, motorbikes, and cows press into the madness going in either direction with absolutely no rhyme or reason as to how everyone should navigate through. The game is to try to move forward without getting squashed between people, run over by a motorbike, or hit with a filthy flapping cow’s tail…all the while not stepping in manure. Invariably I think I’m succeeding until I look up and notice in my oblivion I’ve forgotten to beware of the monkeys. They walk the railings of the bridges and I’m absolutely certain…they’re coming after me.
Here’s a link to more photos on Picasa (click on photo to open album).