Sitting by the classroom gate, with rays falling through window cracks and air filled with joy from the spring season we all were discussing about the collapse of ‘Mughal Empire’ and then suddenly a kid came running from his washroom break breathing heavily and shouting ‘ Bhaiya, Bhaiya , Bhaiya ; you are discussing about collapse of Mughal Empire and there …’ (Breathing Heavily). We all got excited & curious and bombarded him with questions, “what happened?” He took a deep breath and said “The garden has collapsed. The garden got attacked by the monkeys” and later added an innocent remark ‘kaale Muh vale bade bade’ (adult monkeys with a black face). I smiled for a moment and then the idea of destruction overshadowed it. We rushed immediately in haste from the third floor towards the playground corner, Swirling in swift moves with each stair and holding/balancing against the iron supports. I was leading the rush with a small group of human monkeys chasing with excitement to look at the destruction they thought would be amazing. Many of them passed comments or slangs from their experiences playing ‘Pubg’ or ‘free-fire’ with their group of friends. We reached the corner and saw the peon shooing away monkeys and many of them jumping leaps & bounds over walls, trees, branches with leaves stuffed in their mouth, hands grabbing the last fresh branch they plucked and a footprint of destruction. Many of them smartly and beautifully found safe havens over rooftops, tree branches or towers looking down at us mockingly.
I am a sloth looking at incidents, watching the whole incident in peace and satisfaction; maybe joining the pieces, co-relating it to different aspects/consequences. The whole view flashed back in my subconscious head in form of visuals probably from old memories of watching Ramayana where the monkey god Hanuman attacks the Ashok Vatika (Garden in Lanka) and destructs the garden out of joy and pleasure. The Papaya plants which ornate the garden half an hour back, lied uprooted by the side. The mustard and the spinach plants were nowhere to see other than few traces of uprooted roots. The fresh shoots of the drumstick plants were plucked before they bloomed. Kids were furious over this 2-minute destruction attack and at the same time felt helpless, started cursing the monkeys as they got no other way to avenge the destruction.
I was clueless about how to respond to the incident and ended saying “Nature belongs to them too, the garden is their home. The garden, plants, flowers, trees share a bond with the monkeys and their manner to interact with each other; maybe destructive is natural. We should rejoice that the garden attracted them and they felt happy having moments of love. We should be compassionate and empathize with the hard reality they must be facing due to our concrete jungles”. Space looked more sort of a philosophy classroom to children. The children were failing to understand on what tangent I was talking on. This was hard to accept them that we have invaded and expanded so fast that now monkeys strolling around looks like invaders to us. I know I wasn’t that effective to deliver how I felt at that and why I loved it. I saw the children dispersed after that recess ring. I felt how we are devoid of witnessing many of the natural phenomena and appreciated/comprehend them in their true beauty. Will be looking for a beautiful chunk adventurous monkey’s attacking the school back again.