6.30 am, October 3, 2018, Anekal. I was sitting on a terrace, listening to the birds, occasionally playing my flute, drinking my coffee and watching the forests around as well as the remnants of a lake nearby. It was a beautiful day to begin with. Suddenly, a battalion of monkeys from the nearby trees joined me. Initially, I thought they liked my old Kishore Kumar tune on the flute. But no. They were looking for food. In the beginning of this morning party, they were a bit suspicious. Soon, some of them discovered our common traits and similar interests between us. The fear disappeared. I was convinced that at least some of them were aware of Darwin’s theory of evolution
. A beautiful young female monkey came towards me and sat next to me to listen to my flute tune. Just 3 feet next to me. I was perplexed that I have an audience even in this forest. As a gesture of my gratitude, I poured out some coffee for her on the cemented bench. She licked everything neatly. Soon a couple of others also joined. I poured some more coffee for them. Now, instead of licking the coffee, our heroine suddenly caught hold my cup unexpectedly. I pulled the cup back as an immediate impulse. The remaining coffee in the cup fell on my shirt. She was too angry. She made a vicious face at me and some nasty sound. I told her: ` I am giving you coffee, but why do you have to grab my entire cup? Let me also drink, man?’ But she was not a socialist.
Her attitude was:`Who the hell are you, intruding into our territory? You can’t even give your coffee?’ I realised that I was giving her coffee as a charity, and she was asking for her rights, since coffee itself is grown in the forests displacing a lot of monkeys. We speak of colonialism of the Britishers in India. But we do not speak of our own colonialism over the Adivasis. We do not speak about our own colonialism over the monkeys. If the civilised India had the minimum notion of rights of these monkeys, perhaps even Narendra Modi would not have come to power.
K.P Sasi is a writer, film maker, cartoonist and an activist.