Monkey business

Everything happens in Delhi. Or at least, we think it does. Delhi is a dangerous place to live. Not so long ago “Monkey Man” was terrorising the population. For those who don’t read The Times of India or keep up with Delhi gossip, Monkey Man was a strange creature – half man half monkey – who was responsible for most of the crime in Delhi for several months, allegedly.

Those Delhi-ites who have been in Scotland around pub-chucking-out-time might have held a slightly less mythological theory. Not, I hasten to add, that Monkey Man’s misbehaviour was necessarily alcohol related; my point there was that Neanderthal Man still exists all over the world. Anyway, Monkey Man was probably just a rogue male monkey who got a little bit too bold and did quite a bit of damage. Even so, whenever anything went wrong, there were knowing looks and whispered consensus: it must’ve been Monkey Man.

Perhaps his reign of terror would have continued but we had other things to occupy our minds and unsettle us. The next thing was the evil spirit who left vermilion footprints. A teenage girl went missing and the headlines were full of the strange phenomenon surrounding this event. The girl’s mother found vermilion footprints on the girl’s bed and no trace of the girl. There was only one logical conclusion, given the evidence – an evil spirit had stolen the girl. The papers reported the story and even showed pictures of these mysterious vermilion footprints. Again we were too afraid to sleep at night.

Several days later, the press reported that the girl had been found. Actually, she hadn’t disappeared at all but had done what teenagers everywhere often do, and had taken off to her friend’s house to escape parental influence. The mother hadn’t liked to admit this and had created the “evidence” and evil spirit story, making the vermilion footprints herself. Not surprisingly, the police had been treating it as a suspicious case. And did not appear surprised when the truth came out.

Ah well, just as we were about to relax, the next melodrama hit us. After the tragic events of 11 September in America, everyone’s minds turned to hijacked planes. Delhi, of course, could not be left out. There was a “hijack” here, convincing enough to result in several emails to me – some people do actually read this column – concerned about my well-being and sending good wishes and hopes that I might be alive and unaffected by this latest awful event. Er, the hijack in Delhi didn’t happen. There was some confusion onboard a plane where someone thought that maybe there was a hijack and so on, and on… It all escalated, and it was only after the plane was boarded by Indian special forces that they realised that there was, in fact, no hijack at all. Perhaps it was Monkey Man up to his tricks again.

And that leads neatly to the point of this column – yeah, you knew I’d get there eventually. Not only can you get bees on the backside (read earlier columns if you’re confused), and suffer from all kinds of unwanted “wildlife” around the place, you can also end up with a monkey problem.

Never fear, there’s always some entrepreneur available to help you. If you are over-run with monkeys – and this is not funny, considering the mess and damage involved if they get inside your house – there is a solution. You hire a monkey to get rid of them. Now, you don’t negotiate with the monkey itself (unless you want to get an infinite number to write Shakespeare’s plays) but with the owner of the monkey. This is what you do.

Hire the man to bring his monkey round, say, once every three months or so. This is a big butch monkey and he’ll come and pee all over your garden, thus marking it as his territory. This then scares off all the not so butch monkeys. Allegedly. So there you have it. No more monkey business.

So how much does one pay such a monkey? Peanuts, of course.

Happy Diwali!

PS Don’t ask where the chased-off monkeys go next – the next-door-neighbour’s garden perhaps? Not my business, mate.

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