We used to live in Budge Budge, south 24-paragana district. Apart from us, there were several other monkeys, with real tails. Beer hanumans with black faces and savage grimaces.
The only dissimilarity between them and us was that we couldn’t swing and they didn’t have a taste for pickles. Otherwise, we were in the same boat. From papaya to kachi aam, nothing was safe under our jurisdiction. What we missed, they picked up, what they left we used to cherish. They were master in biting people; we were expert in that art. In addition, we also used to spit when cornered.
It was a love-hate relationship.
We never used to disturb them and were the very first to reach sukli’s aamtala when a band of swinging marauders used to leave the place, dropping a lot of mangoes and gaab (I am not sure how many people know what it is). And believe it or not they also used to accept us as one of their own. Ramanand’s Ramayana was a staple view for us and our families then and we were proud of being a banar sena legion.
The crack in our relationship developed when, sugrib, the second mightiest hanuman from the band, grimaced at khudiram’s mother and threatened to bite her. She was busy putting her clothes in the terrace when sugrib attacked her.
Khudiram was enraged and was quick to side change from ram-front to ravana. He was also impressed by indrajit’s skill no doubt.
He vowed to take revenge.
We got a chance soon. It was winter time and all the banar sena used to bask under the warm winter sun on the same terrace. Khudiram’s house was huge. Ancient jamindari building with a vast football-field like terrace and high concrete railing.
It was fall winter actually, must be around November. All the mattresses, blankets and leps were put under the sun after spending nine months in the womb of the huge tin-trunk that khudi’s father inherited from his father.
The warm clothes were smelling of naphthalene and sugrib was sitting just beside a thick blanket, hanging from the railing, touching the ground.
Meanwhile, khudi’s brother from his aunt side had arrived two-days back from Jaipur. He had appeared then for his class twelve examination. Was a regular body builder, and grabbed the opportunity to oil his flexed body under the warm sun. Right beside Nupurdi’s window. Where she was preparing for her madhyamik.
Seeing sugrib seated unassumingly, we, me and khudiram crawled under the blanket, made it sure to hide ourselves properly. Khudiram had his grandfather’s broken umbrella handle. Specifically broken to his size so that he can play hockey with that.
We took our position side by side, from the slight gap we could see sugrib’s tail hanging, touching the ground.
Since I was just sitting beside his tail, I was given the duty to carefully pull the tail under the blanket. I obliged with the broken curved dadur-chata-handle.
I did it so expertly, sugrib had no inkling what type of conspiracy is going on against him.
Khudi commanded me to hand over the tail end to him. He had marraowed the divider from his elder sister’s geometry box. He’s gonna push it deep into the black-face’s tail, afterall, this monkey insulted khudi’s mother.
Since I was also a part of the conspiracy and won’t let khudiram enjoy all the fun and also take credit, I pulled the tail hard before I hand it over to khudi.
Sugrib’s sudden jump was restricted by the strong joint-grip khudi and I were exercising.
Sugrip thumped hard into the railing again.
Meanwhile, khudi was so enraged by my betrayal that in the heated moment he forgot to prick the divider in to the tail. He grabbed the tail and began to twist it in every possible way. The ordeal went upto nearly 5 secends.
It went on until when sugrib thumped into the terrace hard and started looking for the culprit.
By then khudi had released the tail and we were as silent as dead. Our heart was beating fast under the hot blanket, just realizing what the mess we have done.
Sugrib searched here and there for a while. We were looking him from the little gap. We were also looking that khudi’s brother was massaging himself.
Well, sugrib also saw that.
Yes, the obvious happened. As is Indian law, the innocent got the punishment.
Sugrib slapped that fair-skinned innocent, bite him, bloodied him and would have finished him had not been for his shrieks and help cry, elders come for his rescue.
Sugrib was reluctant to pardon his tormentor and was giving a shit to the bamboo sticks that was falling on him at rapid succession. With each bite, he was tearing away a mouthful of flesh from that poor guy. Soon khudi’s brother collapsed. Sugrib, maybe feeling guilty (and not because of the beating) left him.
The monkey-bite victim spend the next fifteen days in hospital with three days in ICU.
It was not long that our tail raising saga was revealed.
And what happened to us, well, I am not gonna say that.