Reading about a monkey attacking a Tuk-Tuk driver because he helped the forest rangers to capture it, got me worried because I was once dive-bombed by a crow.
The monkey looked upset and scowled into the camera with its hairy eyebrows bristling with anger.
This particular species, called the Bonnet Macaque because of the crown of hair on its head, bit the hand of the driver. The man ran screaming and got into his autorickshaw to hide, but the enraged monkey started tearing the tarpaulin, covering the vehicle, to get at him.
To cut a long story short, the monkey was captured and taken away by the forest rangers and released far away from this quiet village in Chikkamagalur in India’s Karnataka state.
Bengaluru, the capital city of Karnataka, in the south of India, is a very lush place, covered by a canopy of green. It drizzles on and off most of the time, and the weather is pleasant and ideal for growth of flora and fauna.
As the city and the state grew popular with people from other states, more and more green spaces were encroached, and the wild animals were displaced from their homes.
The monkey story does not end there. The agile creature apparently jumped onto a passing lorry, and hitched a ride to the auto driver’s village, 22 kilometres away.
When the monkey appeared in the village again, people panicked. It must have been like a scene from a Bollywood movie, when Amitabh Bachchan, the “angry young man” of earlier days, would arrive at a warehouse, seeking revenge from the villain.
The driver again screamed for help, because the last time the monkey had bit his hand very hard and the doctor told him it would take a month to recover. “I am a poor man, I need to drive the autorickshaw to earn my livelihood, ” he said, or words to the effect, while running.
One day while we were strolling in Lal Bagh, a botanical park in Bengaluru, a monkey came charging at my wife and snatched the soft-drink bottle from her hand. It scampered away, sat on a branch, and believe it or not, unscrewed the cap from the bottle and drank from it like someone who adores Western fast-food and sugary drinks.
As the encroachment of the vegetation by humans gathers pace, and ancient trees are cut down to make way for the expansion of the metro, ugly-looking high-rise buildings sprout everywhere, and other animals are now being found frequently in the human habitats.
The Whatsapp group of the community where we live was abuzz some time back with news of a snake found in the landscaped foliage. An excited tenant circulated pictures of the snake, and for a while I never ventured into the garden.
Incidentally, my wife’s school has a snake catcher, and his job is not in danger as it is one profession that will be needed, even when AI finally takes over the world.
Here’s a scary story. Every year, when it rains, snakes came out and bite people and in Karnataka, the common snakes are Russel’s Vipers, Kraits and Cobras. (Many people do not kill the cobras, but feed it milk, instead).
A wildlife expert says there is more and more “animal-human conflicts” taking place every year.
In Karnataka state, farmers lost crops worth millions of dollars because of monkeys. (There is no government data as to how many monkeys live here as the census has yet to be taken).
Small farmers in Mangalore have given up farming and huge tracts of land now lie fallow.
It was amusing to read about a Black Panther strolling in a medical college, and while it must have been traumatic for the future docs, Netizens made jokes that the animal must have dropped Mowgli off to the school.
While all this may sound bizarre, there is nothing more scarier than being dive-bombed by an angry crow.
I ducked quickly, much, much later, after it had thwacked me with its wing and flew away.
I ran to my car in the parking lot just like the auto-driver, and sought refuge inside the vehicle.
Mahmood Saberi is a storyteller and blogger based in Bengaluru, India. Twitter: @mahmood_saberi