Monkey Business

Shimla is an old British hill station in the foothills of the Himalayas (in the Himalayas even the foothills are 9,000 feet above sea level.) It looks kind of like a Swiss ski village, and it doesn’t feel much like India, and not just because of the climate. You can get there in an old British railway, and go stay in an old British-built YMCA, where they serve you scrambled eggs and toast for breakfast. It was, in fact, full of Brits when I stayed there, reliving the glory days or just getting out of the Delhi heat. It was also full of rhesus macaques, who followed you everywhere, tugging on your clothes to ask for something to eat.

shimla-monkeys1

There is also a temple up above the town with a statue of Hanuman, the monkey-god hero of the Hindu epic the Ramayana:

jhakoo_temple_hanuman

indischer_maler_von_1780_001

When I went there with a family I met on the train up to Shimla, the temple was also covered in monkeys.

Anyway, when I came back from the walk up to the temple, I was quite tired; the moment I got to the room in the YMCA, I opened the window (the room was very stuffy), lay down and fell asleep.

I woke up to a large, rhesus macaque monkey, drooling multicolored spit onto me.

He had found the pack of Magic Markers in my backpack and was gnawing on them, disappointed at their flavor,and letting me know his feelings

I jumped up, grabbed the closest thing at hand (a pair of socks), yelled loudly and pointed at the window, where I hoped he’d jump back out.

He yelled back. I threw the socks at him. He yelled louder. I picked up the next largest object to hand- my camping water filter- by the tube and whirled it around my head.

He jumped onto the window sill,yelled at me one more time,swung feet over hands onto the roof above the window, which I immediately closed.

That’s when I noticed the “Do Not Sleep With Windows Open” sign next to the window.

 

 

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