By Robin O’Donoghue
Well about a month ago we (my family and I) were visiting an old former British Hill Station called Mahabaleshwar. It’s about three hours out of Pune where we live and it’s in the hills. Surprisingly, it’s known most for strawberries and jams. We were staying there two nights and three days in a five-star resort. We saw forts, strawberry farms, markets, we went paddle boating, Rory and his friend Hannah even had a camel ride.
I, on the other hand, was attacked by a monkey.
The Incident happened on the second day of our visit. We had had a pleasant day, i.e. forts, strawberries, paddle boating and to top it off we went to a lookout point high above a valley.
There were lots of monkeys there! We were so excited; getting close and marveling as they stared up at us uninterested. The coolest was a baby monkey that looked only a few days old. I thought they looked sweet and innocent, adults and babies alike. How wrong could I have been?
The monkeys were conniving little thieves. They would sneak up quietly on unsuspecting humans and then help themselves to bags, purses, water bottles, other item and their contents. After they snatched the bags away from the clueless humans they would scurry fast over to the side of the cliff (where they knew they were safe from pursuers) and proceed to pick through their new possessions.
I personally saw two women have their bags stolen right out of their hands. A monkey took one of the women’s bags to the edge of the cliff where he/she preceded to empty its contents, throwing cell phones, cash and cosmetics over the side looking for a snack, I presume.
I noticed that a monkey seemed to be paying extra attention to me as all of this went down. He stared at me and kept following me with his eyes. He began to stalk me, following at my heels only about a yard’s distance away. Then he made his move.
I was holding a water bottle in my left hand. He bounded to it, grabbed and pulled with surprising strength, trying to free it from my grasp. I didn’t let go. I held on and when he wouldn’t let go I swung the water bottle at him to get him away. He did not accept defeat very well and as I walked away, he came again.
This time he’d forgotten about the water bottle. This time, it was personal. He came again about a yard’s distance from where I was standing and lept at me. He landed on my leg and then crawled up my chest, his feet and hands digging and pinching. He then got all up in my face, hissing and screaming.
Not really even realizing what was happening, I soullessly grabbed him and threw him away from me. This time he didn’t call for a rematch because it was clear who the more sophisticated primate was.
I left the lookout point not hurt, merely shocked. With nothing but monkey paw prints on my clothing to show for it.
Some more scenes from Mahabaleshwar