Among the most alarming news items I’ve come across recently — second only to what I heard through the grapevine about Malaika Arora’s dog, Casper, being somewhat indisposed — is the atrocity perpetrated by a furry resident of Vrindavan.
A few days ago, apparently, an unruly monkey snatched the spectacles of no less than the holy city’s District Magistrate. That, too, while he was attending to an important civic matter on his phone. The magistrate that is, not the monkey.
That’s not all, by the way. The thieving creature then proceeded to climb up a wall and, in a leisurely fashion, do things with the glasses that monkeys are prone to doing.
Meanwhile, the ineffectual local constabulary used all the methods they are known for — from speaking ingratiatingly to it to threatening to show it Liger — to retrieve the personal property of the hardworking Government servant. And the simian finally deigned to return the spectacles to the magistrate only after being bribed with two cartons of chilled mango juice.
Story was that on two earlier occasions, either the same monkey or his cousin, showing utter disregard for the gentleman’s post, had behaved in a most unbecoming manner with the same IAS officer.
Soon, social media was abuzz with people sharing their own eerily similar experiences with the monkeys of Mathura.
While some attributed the urban naxal tendencies of these monkeys to an increase in their biryani intake, which in turn was corrupting their impressionable minds and making them do things that normal, God-fearing Indian monkeys aware of their culture wouldn’t do, I didn’t jump to conclusions.
Munching khakra, as I meditated on the whole affair, my initial alarm turned into unbridled excitement. I could see that this was a blessing disguised as a problem.
Why were they stealing spectacles specifically? It’s because the monkeys of Mathura are all suffering from poor eyesight, that’s why. And why would they have poor eyesight, you ask. Because they are watching too many movies, that’s why. How did I come to this conclusion? Easy. While the monkeys loved to steal glasses, they loved to steal cell phones, too. That’s why. And binge-watching web series!
While some learned folk suggested deep-breathing exercises to reform the monkey burglars — which will help calm them, no doubt — I see this whole thing as a massive opportunity for development.
First, I think the veterinarians of this region should undergo a crash course in optometry. So that eye camps can be set up for the monkeys on a war footing. Simultaneously, factories that can make monkey-friendly spectacle frames and lenses could be planned, too. Once we are ready, men dressed in monkey suits could promote this unique treetop initiative through an awareness campaign that employed sign language, pictorial aids and easy repayment schemes.
The bipeds could then be summoned to these free eye camps — the first of their kind in the world — with a perk of two Frootis per tail. Once their eyes were tested, the monkeys could be fitted with appropriately powered glasses. And once the monkeys were able to see properly, they would return the stolen mobile phones to the rightful owners in disgust saying ‘Chee, what utter garbage we were watching!’
Can’t you see now, friends? This is a truly win-win situation. Employment for so many, development for our country, uptick in our GDP, peace in the holy city, and our land overrun by a brand new species of civilised, knowledgeable, bespectacled monkeys which could be sent to other countries to help reform their monkeys into responsible, productive creatures.
Krishna Shastri Devulapalli is a satirist. He has written four books and edited an anthology.