In the street where my parents live, live a band of monkeys. My parents had a giant pet rat and every summer, when it would rain, a snake or two would jump out of someone’s toilet. I like telling these stories because they seem so dramatic. And not that I need to say this, I like a bit of drama.;)
The thing is when I first moved away from India ( to Oslo, Norway), I would talk about this stuff as a matter of fact. I didn’t know that it was making them go ‘how weird is this girl..’ and eying the nearest exit. Note to self: snakes are not a conversation starter…
Weird or not, some friends remain, and here’s some more from the animal kingdom especially for you.
The Mother monkey ( in honor of all my newly pregnant friends)
We have a pretty large backyard where my mother would sit on sunny winter days and read a newspaper or two. This was one of those days. A baby monkey saw my mother was preoccupied and decided to make a run for the fruits that were lying on the table in front of her. But this baby monkey was a bit greedy. It sat there for a while mulling over how best to carry as much fruit as possible – instead of just running away with one.
My mother looked up from the newspaper, (she is not an animal fan). She tried to shoo the little thing away by waving her hand. This created a turn of events like never before. You see, the MOTHER monkey saw my mother’s hand wave from a distance and figured her baby might be in danger.
With two giant leaps, and one loud screechy grunt, it jumped on the table opposite my mother. The baby monkey was pushed aside and the mother monkey sat there on the table, hunched over on her front two legs, hair standing, teeth bared, eyes wild, neck stretched close to my mother’s face and snarled.
Either because my mother is also a mother, and she understood the monkey’s sentiments. Or because she was just frozen in fear, my mom didn’t make a move. The moment lasted. The mother monkey’s eyes calmed, her body relaxed and with a shrug of its shoulders, it slowly moved away.
As a parting shot, it whacked her baby monkey on its head, for causing the face-off in the first instance.
Moral of the story: Whack your kids 😉
The snake and the frog
Before the snake and the frog story, comes the sister and the snake story.
She was sitting cross legged on a stool intently watching a movie. She was 8 years old. I and my brothers were on the sofa sitting to the side of her stool. My mother was in the doorway through the kitchen. We saw a thick black snake circle around the stool and move upwards towards her in a spiraling motion.
I said ‘SNAKE’. My brothers said ‘AHHH’ and my mother said ‘NOBODY MOVE’.
Even though the TV was blaring, there was more silence in that moment than the entire 10 day silence camp put together. I don’t know how long it lasted, but for whatever reasons, the snake decided it didn’t want to swivel up the stool after all. It started to swivel down, and slithered away.
We all sighed a collective sigh. Except my sister, who was so engrossed in the movie, she still can’t understand what the fuss was about.
What I am wondering is, how did we all sleep that night?
and NOW the snake and the frog story.
My father saw a snake eating a frog in our backyard. This one was bigger than most house snakes and looked poisonous. (Most snakes are not). He decided it was too dangerous to let it go, and got out a bat to kill it. I remember standing looking wide eyed at this giant slimy thing being whacked to death. I could not take my eyes off the scene. There was everything there – blood, action, my dad, to make one great movie.
Once the deed was done. The coolest thing happened. Th frog which the snake had swallowed seconds prior to its death, wiggled forwards in the snake’s body with some effort and jumped out of its mouth into life – once again.
It’s a crazy story, but it just gives me hope. Sometimes its not survival of the fittest. It is survival of the luckiest.
The rat or me
I’ve got a lot of rat stories in me. But here is one that is appropriate for this moment.
We had a lot of rats. My parents called the exterminator, who said the only way to get rid of them is to poison them. Now we are a vegetarian family and unlikely to kill anything that can’t kill you back at least instantly. Killing us slowly with sickness and disease is okay.. (I get what you are thinking, but no time to argue, so let’s move on.)
Anyway, so my parents called a family conference with the kids and explained the situation. It was a unanimous decisions that we were not going to kill them, and the rats could live alongside us. Now there’s something about peer pressure to be said here, because I think I would have wanted them dead. I dislike rats intensely, I just didn’t want to be the only killer in the family.
Moving on, nature took care of the situation. The cats came, ate the rats and life was good. However, there was one large rodent that the cats did not eat. My siblings and I grew up, the cats left. My parents and the loyal rodent remained.
One year, I wanted to bring a boy home to ‘meet the parents’. I was NERVOUS and it was important that they get along. Dinner time came. I knew the rodent would come out of the sewers during meal times. He would sit under my dad’s chair and my dad would give it a piece of bread to chew. But I had blocked this scene out of my mind, for sanity’s sake. You understand right?
Anyway, the rodent came and I think if you pay close attention, you can hear my thoughts and see the expression in the boy’s eyes. Some years after that, I had a ‘conversation’ with my parents. I said ‘Look. Having a rodent is weird. Either it goes, or I go.’
I am going home tonight. My parents picked me. 🙂